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I think therefore I am (Descart) or am I?. So what is culture? ? (How) Can culture be managed?

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Presentation on theme: "I think therefore I am (Descart) or am I?. So what is culture? ? (How) Can culture be managed?"— Presentation transcript:

1 I think therefore I am (Descart) or am I?

2 So what is culture? ? (How) Can culture be managed?

3 There can be a number of views about culture. Culture has no physical presence, it is not hands on and cannot be seen, touched or smelt. Culture is a phenomenon, existing only in the mind of those individuals who believe in it – But when believed the framework of behavioural rules that is known as culture has power A common form of behaviour amongst employees Values that employees have in common (a sense of being, of identity, of purpose) Values that one cohort of employees pass down to the next

4 Forming a culture Functionalists believe in a society formed by social structures Made up by norms, values and rules that formed patterns of behaviour Structures that in turn become real in their consequences (W I Thomas) Durkheim uses the term social solidarity to describe how people achieve social order Social solidarity was achieved by collective standards and rules of behaviour that make thesocial glue that holds society together Social solidarity/order flows from consensus The existence of shared norms, values and rules A collective conscience A culture Once established cultures appear to take on a life of their own Develop to provide understanding for members Each generation passes on these norms, values and rules to the next (tradition)

5 Culture A collective way of living/being can be termed a culture Cultures can be macro – gender, ethnicity, class Cultures can be micro – family, work, teenagers Each generation has the ability to change their culture People have a choice if they comply or not Choice is not always made under circumstances that they control (Marx) -need to belong (Maslow)

6 Durkheim Individuals who believe they have no place in society or its structures – do not share the same norms and values – are said to be alienated - a situation that Durkheim saw as anomie Mayos study at Hawthorn argued that anomie might be a useful concept for analysing workers who were being de-skilled by factory work Workers did not think they belonged – The Hawthorne experiment made them think they were important They belonged and therefore they were happier and worked harder.

7 Schein Artifacts: these "artifacts" are at the surface, those aspects (such as dress) which can be easily discerned, yet are hard to understand; Espoused Values: beneath artifacts are "espoused values" which are conscious strategies, goals and philosophies Basic Assumptions and Values: the core, or essence, of culture is represented by the basic underlying assumptions and values, which are difficult to discern because they exist at a largely unconscious level. Yet they provide the key to understanding why things happen the way they do. "A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems The basic tacit assumptions about how the world is and ought to be that a group of people share and that determines their perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and, their overt behaviour" (Schein, 2004 : 36). (Baigent 2009) Incredibly difficult to change a culture once it has been established and has a tradition Because it is the agreed patterns of behaviour in a group/organisation

8 People are not cultural dopes Culture mediates all human behaviour, sociology is the study of how this works (Bourdieu 1992:10) Objective in that there are rules. Subjective, because rules can be changed and interpreted. For example a bureaucracy appears to have a propensity to reproduce, a life of its own but it is no more than the sum total of actors routines - their habitus which allows them to operate in the field that is bureaucracy. People who are not aware of the culture are lost – they watch for clues of how to act (Goffman). We construct our actions based on our knowledge and experience Practicing/practising culture is exactly that More than following the rules it is understanding and interpreting the rules To gain skills

9 Conscious action? One difficulty is that people do not enjoy being told that they operate under such restrictions –People believe they are individuals who act as they wish, –This can render culture invisible –Managers can fail to recognise cultural power –Despite this people will act according to their experience off the world around them by either fitting in or resisting. –Do they know they are doing this

10 Conscious Decisions? Result of a collaboration on a large or small scale – a collective conscience (Durkheim). It is there, it the result of history and tradition and yet because it is the result of struggle it can be changed People rarely think consciously about culture – it can be accepted Yet we are thinking individuals who make choices But rarely do we make these choices under conditions of our own choosing (Marx) We might have called this book doing culture instead of practicing culture but it would have made culture seem much easier to do than it really is. It takes practice (Calhourn and Sennett 2007: 7). My thoughts are that we know we should fit-in and we probably do this most of the time – this is our conscious action The joining of structure and action – structuration (Giddens)

11 Public services operate in a complicated dynamic Key stake holders – with potentially competing interests –Government –Citizen –Chief Officers/Senior Managers –Local Politicians –Operational Managers –The workforce –Representative bodies –Audit Commission

12 Formal Public Service Culture Weberian Bureaucracy –Resilient to attack (Military model) –Written rules (orders) for everything –A clear chain of command – everyone knows the job above/below –No room for entrepreneurs –An iron cage of rationality Chief Officers and the workforce a similar view –Public service ethos –To provide an efficient service to help the public Espoused Values: conscious strategies, goals and philosophies Basic Assumptions and Values: the core, or essence, of culture is represented by the basic underlying assumptions and values, which are difficult to discern because they exist at a largely unconscious level. Yet they provide the key to understanding why things happen the way they do.

13 Public Service Formal Culture Government set the rules/targets Policing committee Councillors Lay People Chief Constable Make a Policing Plan to fit with Governments wishes Set the Mission Statement Establish the Core Values Expect managers to implement these structures Expect workforce to follow these structures

14 NPM - Modernisation Change in formal culture to make experts more accountable to make public services more efficient by involving the community/citizen –Smoking, obesity fitness –Speeding, drinking, drugs –Prevention of crime and fire First managers reluctant to change Formal culture changes Increasing gap between managers & workers Informal culture keeps the original culture

15 At least two cultures The official culture laid down by Chief Officers (organisational culture) The unofficial culture(s) operated by those who do the job (occupational cultures) Often confused as one culture – a single title But in practise the result is that people make choices about how to behave People want to belong (Durkheim) Groups look to leaders (Adair) People respond to concern (Mayo) People have needs (Maslow) Change can be transformational or transactional (Burke) People want to prove themselves right (Weber)

16 Power of the workforce Workers united can never be defeated Formally organised through their trade union Informally organised through their group/culture Managers hold a collective line? Group think by managers?

17 There can be a number of views about public service culture. its just out there values that one cohort of public servants pass down to the next a common form of behaviour amongst public servants a public service ethos to serve and protect values that officers, managers, constables, firefighters, soldiers etc. have in common something people sign up to because it provides for your needs, a sense of belonging, identity, purpose

18 These arguments almost make as if culture has a life of its own As a result, it is often the culture rather than individuals that is seen as responsible for how cultural values get put into practice Formal police culture may appear to have strength, power and authority, but this is due to a combination of group ownership, tradition and history, not because it actually exists. Police culture is a structure – accepted/constructed by the individuals who operate within it Because the culture has to be put into action by individuals, there is space for those individuals to act differently

19 Government requirements As a public service the fire and police service is supposed to treat people equally The government have set targets for how this may be achieved – putting particular emphasis on community action and equality An institutionally conservative fire and police service has been slow to take the government seriously. Despite being disciplined services there are competing interest for how they operates

20 It is sometimes possible to forget that: People in the fire and police services have minds of their own Frequently group behaviour acts like a snowball – almost forcing people to put their own values on hold as they to give up some free will to join in with the group People in the fire or police services make a choice when they join in on cultural practices However choice is not always made under circumstances that the individual would choose (Marx)

21 Is there a choice about unofficial (conservative) fire or police service culture Christian:Well its the tradition. They need to be able to fit-in.. without being lairy and start telling you.. how to do it. Ian:Just keep your head down and keep your gob shut for a little while and see what happens.

22 Macpherson, W. (1999) The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, London: HMSO. We heed this warning, but upon all the facts we assert that the conclusion that racism played its part in this case is fully justified. Mere incompetence cannot of itself account for the whole catalogue of failures, mistakes, misjudgements, and lack of direction and control which bedevilled the Stephen Lawrence investigation. The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture and ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people

23 Macpherson,1999, para 6.34

24 Informal culture of the public servants who provide the service Want to deliver their service to the public – some ways of doing this parallel the formal plan – some do not Take ownership of service delivery - think they know best how to deliver their service Resistance to change They have a concept of what makes a good firefighter/police officer/soldier Fit newcomers in Work life balance difficult - work is pleasure – isolation from public The construction of identity through their work (masculinity) The union

25 At least two cultures The official culture set by the chief officer: –Transformational/transactional mission statement official rules core values The unofficial culture –conservative – the view of people who believe they know best –operating on the watch –operated by managers

26 Thank you How does the informal culture reproduce itself? Why does the informal culture have so much power/authority?

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