Octapace Organizational Culture

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OPENNESS. Openness can be defined as a spontaneous expression of feelings and thoughts, and the sharing of these without defensiveness. Openness is in both directions, receiving and giving. Both these may relate to ideas (including suggestions), feedback (including criticism), and feelings. For example, openness means receiving without reservation, and taking steps to encourage more feedback and suggestions from customers, colleagues and others. Similarly, it means giving, without hesitation, ideas, information, feedback, feelings, etc. Openness may also mean spatial openness, in terms of accessibility. Installing internal E-mailing may be a step in this direction: everyone having a computer terminal has access to information which he may retrieve at any time. Offices without walls are another symbolic arrangement promoting openness. In some organisations, even the chief executive does not have a separate exclusive cabin; floor space is shared by other colleagues at different levels in the organisation. This willingness to share and this openness results in greater clarity of objectives and free interaction among people. As a result of openness, there should be more unbiased performance feedback. Indicators of openness in an organisation will be productive meetings and improved implementation of systems and innovations.

CONFRONTATION Confrontation can be defined as facing rather than shying away from problems. It also implies deeper analysis of interpersonal problems. All this involves taking up challenges. The term confrontation is being used with some reservation and means putting up a front as contrasted with putting one's back (escaping) to the problem. A better term would be confrontation and exploration (CE). Let us use the term confrontation in this sense of confrontation and exploration, i.e. facing a problem and working jointly with others to find a solution to the problem. The outcome of confrontation will be better role clarity, improved problem solving, and willingness to deal with problems and with 'difficult' employees and customers. There will be willingness of teams to discuss and resolve sensitive issues. The indicators, which are also outcomes, can be improved by periodical discussions with clients, bold action, and not postponing sticky matters.

TRUST. Trust is not used in the moral sense. It is reflected in maintaining the confidentiality of information shared by others, and in not misusing it. It is also reflected in a sense of assurance that others will help, when such help is needed and will honour mutual commitments and obligations. Trust is also reflected in accepting what another person says at face value, and not searching for ulterior motives. Trust is an extremely important ingredient in the institution building processes. The outcome of trust includes higher empathy, timely support, reduced stress, and -reduction and simplification of forms and procedures. Such simplification is an indicator of trust and of reduced paper work, effective delegation and higher productivity. AUTHENTICITY. Authenticity is the congruence between what one feels, says and does. It is reflected in owning up one's mistakes, and in unreserved sharing of feelings. Authenticity is closer to openness. The outcome of authenticity in an organisation is reduced distortion in communication. This can be seen in the correspondence between members in an organisation.

PROACTION. Proaction means taking the initiative, preplanning and taking preventive action, and calculating the payoffs of an alternative course before taking action. The proact can be contrasted with the term react. In the latter, action is in response to (and in the pattern of) an act from some source, while in the former the action is taken independent of the source. For example, if a person shouts back at his friend's accusation he shows reactive behaviour. However, if he does not use this pattern (of shouting) but responds calmly and suggests that they...
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