Cultural architecture

Sometimes referred to as “corporate culture”. Hard-nosed business people take culture very seriously. “In all of my business career, I would have always said that culture is one of the five or six things you worry about if you're a leader. You worry about markets, and competitors, and financial assets and strategy. And somewhere on the list is culture. What I learned at IBM is that culture isn’t part of the game. It is the game.” (Gerstner, 2002)

Elements:

  • norms
  • guidelines
  • styles
  • founding stories (myths)
  • personality of the founders
  • internal branding
  • ceremonies
  • manner of working
Purpose: 
 
The purpose of viewing the enterprise from a cultural point of view is to help assure the effectiveness of interventions (solutions, applications, consulting, etc.).  It is much easier to implement changes that are in keeping with the culture that those that are not.
  • Descriptive - A good descriptive representation of the cultures of an enterprise can shed light on various important issues and how they can be addressed
  • Prescriptive - Cultural practices can be designed, and there is a significant consulting industry to do just that.  An example is Sara Moulton Reger's technique -- patented, practiced and written up in her book Can Two Rights Make a Wrong: Insights from IBM's Tangible Culture Approach.
  • Predictive - The ability to perceive and understand cultural factors can lead to predictions of how various interventions and stimuli will be received by organizations.