Many conferences and conversations are focused on ‘digital transformation’ with the question ‘is digital a strategy or a culture’ often posed. The response to this question is usually that digital transformation is both a strategy and a culture.
This presentation discusses some current thinking on organisational culture and its applicability to a ‘digitalised’ organisation and the constancy of change. It also explores whether the intersection of a digital economy and a growing disquiet with the ‘status quo’ of the world may lead to a different type of organisation in the future.
Organisations are usually structured in a way that facilitates the most efficient way of developing and delivering the product or service that is the core of the organisation’s business. The question to be posed is whether the traditional systems and structures are suitable to the digital era where change is not only constant but where fast paced change is a pre-requisite for success.
The digital era has also led to individuals having a greater voice in social change. Examples of harnessing the individual’s voice through social action can be seen by looking at platforms such as Change.org. At the same time, a Harvard Business Review report identified that 72% of respondents found that employee engagement was critical to an organisation’s performance yet only 24% responded that employees were engaged.
The intersection of changes in organisational culture in response to the digital era, changing expectations of the individual in the workplace, and the need for employees to be engaged with their organisations to optimise innovation may mean considerable changes are required to the structures and processes of existing organisations.
Frederic Laloux, in his book ‘Reinventing Organisations: A Guide to Creating Organisations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness’ (Nelson Parker, 2014) discusses the ‘Teal’ paradigm. The Teal paradigm refers to the next stage of human consciousness and is closely aligned to self-actualisation in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The self-managed, self-organised construct of the Teal organisation seems to be closely aligned to Dion Hinchliffe’s ‘Network of Excellence’ that is the proposed model emerging to drive strategic digital change.
If one accepts that ‘Teal’ and the ‘Network of Excellence’ represent the fundamental culture needed in a successful organisation that operates in the digital era, what are the implications for our organisations?