RT Vol XVII Ch. 9: The Hidden DNA that Impacts Culture
From the Book: The Refractive Thinker® Vol XVII: Managing a Cultural Workforce: The Impact of Global Employees


Innovation, technology, and talent; These are three words that permeate discussions at the C-Suite level. How do we get better faster? How do we innovate above our competitors? How can we get first to market? And who is the talent that will get us there? Organizations face the same challenges that they faced decades ago: finding and retaining top talent and keeping their current employees engaged. The problem has not changed, but our approach has changed. According to Gallup (2018), 70% of all employees in the United States remain actively disengaged. That leaves only 1/3 of all employees who are actually engaged and contributing, with the heart for the organization. A disengagement figure of 70% is problematic. The problem seems to increase with the managers and senior leaders who find it difficult to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Current literature and studies since 1990 detail reasons why employees fail to assimilate within a given culture (McLaren, 2011). Day-to-day operations, decisions, and operating practices influence the employee’s basic assumptions and reflections of the culture (Porter, 2013). Actualization of values occurs during the intentional use of values to drive alignment between what is said and what is done (Ledbetter, 2005). From HBR to Forbes, articles cite the role that senior leaders play in shaping and environment, and the role the senior leader should play when living out the culture (Giberson et al., 2009).

This research sought to understand the conditions that exist when senior leaders make decisions or exhibit behaviors that are contrary to the culture and values that they state. The researcher postulated that the results of this study are four-fold. Organizations can use the results to develop a framework whereby more emerging leaders can learn to lead mismatches between the stated culture and espoused values, and the culture experienced. Second, organizations can use the results of this study to benchmark their culture or identify inconsistencies as they relate to its practices. Third, this study can help the conditions that exist when senior leaders’ actions are incongruent with the stated culture. Finally, four, this study can influence an organization to implement learning in its efforts to reduce turnover, increase retention, and become an employer of choice (Kier, 2019).
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