Organizational Culture

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How to Survive Digital Disruption

Too many companies mistakenly view digital disruption as a technology threat, so they undertake digital transformation by focusing primarily on the need to upgrade their systems. That is a costly error — one that could even be fatal if taken to the extreme. Above all else, digital transformation is about people: the right people inspired by the right culture prepared to adapt to a very new landscape. Driving that culture is a leader’s most important responsibility today.

It’s Time to Tackle Your Team’s Undiscussables

When leadership teams struggle with undiscussables, symptoms range from unresolved conflicts and uneven participation in meetings to destructive groupthink and employee disengagement. The more undiscussables there are, the more difficult it is for the team to function. Ignoring them results in strained relationships and bad decisions. Here’s how leaders can bring the four types of undiscussables to light, improving team learning, problem-solving, and performance.

The 2019 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded to the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development. The 2019 award goes to “Building an Ethically Strong Organization,” by Catherine Bailey and Amanda Shantz.

Measuring Culture in Leading Companies

To survive and thrive in today’s market, a healthy corporate culture is more important than ever. The MIT SMR/Glassdoor Culture 500 uses machine learning and human expertise to analyze culture using a data set of 1.2 million employee reviews on Glassdoor. This interactive tool offers previously untapped insights about the organizational culture of over 500 of the world’s leading companies and provides leaders with new tools for benchmarking culture in their own organizations.

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A New Era for Culture, Change, and Leadership

Renowned social psychologist Edgar Schein and his colleagues defined how we thought about organizations and leadership in the 1950s. But in the digital era, Schein — working with his son, Silicon Valley executive Peter Schein — has developed a new perspective, one that advocates combining culture, change, and leadership into an integrated process, rather than viewing them as three separate topics of importance.

Building Digital-Ready Culture in Traditional Organizations

For legacy companies, culture change is often the biggest challenge of digital transformation. How can they become more agile and innovative without alienating their best employees or wrecking their best existing practices? This article provides a framework for leaders in any industry. The process begins with understanding four key values of digital culture: impact, speed, openness, and autonomy. It then involves adopting or refining a set of digital-ready practices, grounded in these values.

The False Choice Between Business and Ethics

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Should there be an imperative — moral or otherwise — to consider what’s fair when making a business transaction? Many say that it’s perfectly ethical to profit from an asymmetry of information, where, for instance, one party is paying much more for an item or service than others would say it’s worth. But other people are working to integrate the business case with the ethics case. They reject a narrow, transactional view of business in favor of a more relationship-oriented approach.

How to Create Belonging for Remote Workers

  • Read Time: 3 min 

Feeling a sense of belonging, which is when we feel safe and valued for embracing what makes us different, makes us happier and more productive. Not belonging, on the other hand, is among the strongest predictors of turnover. This issue can be exacerbated for remote employees, who don’t benefit from the same in-person, day-to-day interactions their colleagues have.

Ethics as Conversation: A Process for Progress

  • Read Time: 5 min 

Most organizations can agree on what questions to consider before making a decision about marketing, finance, or operations. But many stumble when the issue has ethical consequences. Leaders need to define what set of questions they want to consider when confronted with an issue that has ethical implications. Seven basic questions can get them started.

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What Digital Transformation Means in 2018 and Beyond

  • Video | Runtime: 01:03:59

  • Read Time: 1 min 

New research shows that large organizations are still struggling to implement their digital transformations. Relentless, fast-paced technological progress and massive competency shifts present cultural/organizational challenges that make digital transformation a complex yet necessary exercise. In this webinar, Dr. Didier Bonnet discusses these findings and shares his thoughts on the barriers to digital transformation and what leaders can do to overcome them.

Building an Ethically Strong Organization

Unethical behavior and misconduct has been a persistent problem in the business world. A company’s ethical norms are a cumulative outcome of how daily ethical dilemmas are addressed in the workplace. Over time, these micro-level issues can evolve into a corporate ethics scandal — unless organizations work to help employees make ethical choices day to day.

When Communication Should Be Formal

Formal communication channels, such as protocol-guided meetings, are often eschewed by today’s managers and employees, who prefer the ease of email and apps. But informal avenues can lead to oversights and inefficiencies that hurt performance. That’s the central finding of research from IE Business School on manufacturers of high-tech machinery. Fortunately, formal communication protocols can be designed to both maximize performance and overcome people’s resistance to adopting them.

The Need for ‘Techno-Supporting Skeptics’

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Digital technologies will increase the high levels of ambiguity that executives must navigate. Aspiring leaders may respond by ignoring the challenge, which isn’t sustainable. A better response is to harbor healthy skepticism of the digital technologies they champion, develop values that will lead to better decisions, and work to institutionalize those values at the organizational level.

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Maximizing the Impact of Enterprise Social Media

Companies adopt enterprise social media (ESM) platforms in the hope that employees will reap the benefits of knowledge sharing, collaboration, and efficiency. But the technical and cultural disconnect between ESM and the rest of the internal IT systems and digital platforms that employees use daily means that less than 50% of ESM platforms are actually used by employees on a regular basis.

Improving Your Digital Intelligence

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 15 min 

A study of 250 global companies found that a company’s digital intelligence is informed by four dimensions: strategy, culture, organization, and capabilities. Within these dimensions, the research identified 18 management practices that contribute the most to digital leaders’ financial and market success — and offer a road map for companies seeking to expand their digital know-how.

‘Digital Transformation’ Is a Misnomer

  • Read Time: 5 min 

We’re nowhere near the end of the disruption digital technologies will have on business. Claiming that “we’re not a digital company” is no longer an option; failing to pay attention and develop a working knowledge of the present state of digital technologies all but guarantees obsolescence.

Inspiring Employee Creativity

Digital technologies are making work increasingly thought-driven, not muscle-powered. In this environment, planning and execution are merely table stakes for leadership. Real leaders must inspire and reward employee ingenuity, and must be bold enough to move creativity from the organization’s periphery to its center. To do that, leaders need to adopt five personal behavior changes, including resisting the temptation to tell people what to do and embracing distributed leadership.

How to Catalyze Innovation in Your Organization

The authors’ research suggests that, rather than leaving the development of innovation to serendipity, executives should create collaborative contexts where innovation is likely to emerge from unpredictable pockets of creativity within an organization. By understanding and tapping the power of employee networks, executives can stimulate the creation of these kinds of collaborative environments.

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