Cultural Web - A big challenge

22 June 2008 |

A big challenge in most organizations is whether they know what their culture is - and whether it is the right culture to support their strategy!! Organizational analysis aims to generate an understanding of the organizational structure and culture of the system the project is looking at. This can help in understanding the ease or difficulty with which new strategies can be adopted.

Check these for your own organisation:

  • How would you describe your organisational culture?

  • How would the workforce describe it?


  •  Would this be the same as the directors and top management think?

  • How would your clients, customers, users and suppliers describe it?


  • What is the does this mean about the way the organisation operates?

  • Does this culture support or sabotage your strategy?


  • What are the clues which tell people about your strategy?





Source: Flickr
The Cultural Web, developed by Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes in 1992, provides one such approach for looking at and changing your organization’s culture. Using it, you can expose cultural assumptions and practices, and set to work aligning organizational elements with one another, and with your strategy.

Elements of the Cultural Web

The Cultural Web identifies six interrelated elements that help to make up what Johnson and Scholes call the “paradigm” – the pattern or model – of the work environment. By analyzing the factors in each, you can begin to see the bigger picture of your culture: what is working, what isn’t working, and what needs to be changed. The six elements are:

  1. Stories – The past events and people talked about inside and outside the company. Who and what the company chooses to immortalize says a great deal about what it values, and perceives as great behavior.

  2. Rituals and Routines – The daily behavior and actions of people that signal acceptable behavior. This determines what is expected to happen in given situations, and what is valued by management.

  3. Symbols – The visual representations of the company including logos, how plush the offices are, and the formal or informal dress codes.

  4. Organizational Structure – This includes both the structure defined by the organization chart, and the unwritten lines of power and influence that indicate whose contributions are most valued.

  5. Control Systems – The ways that the organization is controlled. These include financial systems, quality systems, and rewards (including the way they are measured and distributed within the organization.)

  6. Power Structures – The pockets of real power in the company. This may involve one or two key senior executives, a whole group of executives, or even a department. The key is that these people have the greatest amount of influence on decisions, operations, and strategic direction.




These elements are represented graphically as six semi-overlapping circles (see Figure 1 below), which together influence the cultural paradigm.

Source: Mind Tools. Click here to read more



Source: Click here to read Johnson and Scholes

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Regards,


Santosh Puthran



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