Home Organizational Psychology Leadership Organizational Consultation XXX: Leadership and the Appreciative Perspective

Organizational Consultation XXX: Leadership and the Appreciative Perspective

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The Three Organizational Cultures

Given this brief introduction to the nature and dynamics of organizational culture, I turn specifically to the relationship between organizational culture and preferences of leaders for one or more of the specific domains and one or more of the appreciative strategies described in this book. There are three kinds of organizational culture that relate directly to the three domains I have identified. These are the culture of information, the culture of intentions, and the culture of ideas. The first of these three organizational cultures encourages the generation and sharing of information. This information-rich culture helps keep leaders in touch with constantly shifting realities. The second organizational culture is filled with conversations about and expressions of the intentions that serve as a foundation for the organization. This intention-rich culture encourages clarity of mission and values, and ongoing dialogue regarding organizational vision and purposes. The third organizational culture encourages and sustains the generation of ideas. This idea-rich culture promotes risk-taking and learning from experience. Emphasis is placed on movement in the organization from reflection to action.

Twenty First Century leaders will be successful in creating an appreciative organization to the extent that they fully understand and embrace all three of these cultures. Successful and appreciative leaders will support the production and use of information, the clarification and monitoring of intentions, and the generation and enactment of ideas. The challenge for many leaders is to find a way to feel comfortable in and recognize the important role played by each of these three cultures. I will briefly describe each culture and suggest ways in which leaders working within each can most effectively engage the six strategies of the Appreciative Triangle. I then turn to a fourth culture that incorporates all three domains.

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