Book Review – Creating Constructive Cultures
Creating a company culture is one thing.
Identifying the right culture and making it a constructive one is another.
In their book “Creating Constructive Cultures”, authors Janet L. Szumal and Robert A. Cooke from Human Synergistics International outline what over 30 years of study have revealed in the various types of culture in the workplace.
They describe 12 “Cultural Norms” that exist in modern companies and within that dozen further define three styles that these norms fall into:
Constructive Styles – consisting of cultures of achievement, self-actualization, humanistic-encouraging and affiliative traits. These culture all contribute to improvement and development of individuals as well as the whole.
Passive/Defensive Styles – comprised of approval, conventional, dependent and avoidant cultures, these merely maintain and protect the organization and/or individual(s).
Aggressive/Defensive Styles – made up of oppositional, power, competitive and perfectionistic personas. Cultures of these characteristics make for a company that while hostile and/or forceful also finds a need to protect and maintain at it’s core.
What the authors portray is not just the explanation of each culture and style, but how these styles are met through varying global demographics.
Their studies show how different societal cultures can pervade an organization and work towards a default culture within that company. And that’s where the brillaince of the authors’ work comes to fruition.
Through a dozen case studies across the world, they show the cultural transformation from passive/defensive and/or aggressive/defensive company and demographic cultures and how each company found out their unique path to becoming a constructive culture.
Szumal and Cooke take the reader through each company’s journey of challenge, self-awareness, and barrier identification to the realization and actualization of a new improvement culture and the results in achieving a constructive model.
The book is well stocked with charts, case study notes and metrics that show the positive financial impact once the transformation was in place.
Creating Constructive Cultures is a great read and one that will make leaders think more on how to apply the right brand of culture that is productive, effective and sustainable.
(book image: humansynergistics.com; quote images: twitter @HSInternational)