Culture Myths and a New Science of Culture Dr. David White - burst 04

A New Direction


At the top. Okay david. Help me out here wool. You mean culture doesn't are you saying culture doesn't start at the top so the prevailing wisdom is that the leader says the culture right. This has been true. And it's the most complicated mantha one eyed about the most inc to Because it's the one that's most pervasive is most entrenched in our in our society and for good reason right. I go into a lot of his historical lot of it. Is this country. America founded on this sort of faith of the individual of pia rugged individualist myth right Quaker cavernous Protestant settlers from europe in england. Who came over in the seventeenth century. You know believed firmly in the in the power of the individual leader to make change happen. All that carried forward into our society today The problem is that there is almost zero evidence in anthropology and other related social sciences. That supports the idea. The leaders somehow set culture create culture cultures. Form perfectly well without leaders. Any group tasked with any any task though cultural form generally speaking of the former around the task. The the the thing that you're doing now i as i get into in the book. The this myth about leadership came became super prominent in the late seventies early eighties. Because corollary to that. I mean along What was going on that time. Is that Folks in the business schools were discovering researching that this idea that basically humans in organizations are unmotivated people. Basically don't need you know need to be directed and manipulated in cajole to work to get work. Done that idea which had been around. Since you started the twentieth century was debunked in the late late sixties early seventies mid seventy s by researchers at mit and other universities in the idea the new idea of management. Was that essentially. If you could unlock the human potential of the individual you know and let them flourish in organization. Great things will come. You don't need to sort of manipulating coercing control and direct people to do work because people actually need their creativity unleashed so that was the famous so-called theory of motivation of organizations talk. The douglas mcgregor stuff like three x three x theory. Why right was the was the whole idea. So theory why. When theory y became the de facto new way of thinking about management in organizations culture became the convenient vehicle to enable theory y so in other words if you just let if you just create the right culture in the organization good things will happen and that's the simplest way of saying the most most predominant Myth that has lived with us to this day. That if you just make make the right. Climate make the right environment. Good things will happen in the organization. A very compelling myth. It's very well intended and got a lot of. There's a lot of good to there's no question there is. it doesn't support it right so huge you list five problems with why this myth that culture starts at the top is an issue problem. You leaders of overestimate thrown influence problem. Too complex change is not happy through individual influence problem. Three for leaders beliefs take hold in the organization. They have to be there to begin with and four cultures not the summer personalities and problem five language alone does not change culture and your research the research that well not just your research with research. That's been done here in cognitive anthropology has kind of blown open this idea that you know as leaders. We probably don't have nearly as much influence as we think we do. When it comes to culture because culture is going to exist with the leader. That i am i in that well said Because i think i think i consult businesses to and every because we need to change your culture. You change you your culture your culture you. You didn't create it. It happened right. It's kind of an organic thing. Isn't it in reality. Well as i as. I write about the book. It culture is as we'd like to say culture follows task right. The common way of thinking about it is that castles culture might just set. The culture in the task will actually goes the other way around what you do. This is the cognitive science of culture in on the brain. What you do shape how you think and to some extent you know. We talked about this cognitive science and culture being kind of academic kind of newfangled but in some ways. It's incredibly intuitive. You know this is culture shapes how you think so.

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