This week’s discussion in my fellowship program is about organizational culture and climate. We are assigned to read an article by Gioia et. al, which discusses an ethnographic approach to studying a university undergoing a strategic plan revision. Coincidentally, LMU is involved in strategic planning right now, so the article is very timely. An engaging part of the article is the analysis of the university task force assigned the development of the plan, how they come to grips with what “strategic planning” actually means, and what influences their decision process.
If I had to pick a ‘take-home’ sentence out the article, it would be the following, which I feel is often missed in the change processes that I’ve been involved with:
When people are called upon to enact some change in their existing patterns of thinking and acting, the proposed change must make sense in a way that relates to previous understanding and experience.
Gioia, Dennis A., James B. Thomas, Shawn M. Clark, and Kumar Chittipeddi. 1994. “Symbolism and Strategic Change in Academia: The Dynamics of Sensemaking and Influence.” Organization Science 5(3):363-383.