9-11 May 2018

thestudio, Manchester

Working with culture

Session type:

Session duration:
90 minutes

Presented by:

John Young


About this Workshop

The objectives of this workshop are for participants to walk away with:

- actions for working with culture, derived by the participants, that they can put into practice in their work environment
- a working definition of culture that will offer a means for tangibly working with and observing culture
- a rough theoretical understanding of Edgar Schein’s perspective on organisational culture and the clinical approach to facilitating organisational change

Even though organisational culture is often talked about in the agile and DevOps communities, many find the concept to be too elusive and abstract to offer a tangible means for facilitating organisational change. In this session we will work specifically with a definition of culture proposed by Edgar Schein, along with an approach for observing organisational culture, which Schein labelled the clinical approach.

We will start with a brief check-in of why people are attending this workshop. We then go into a high-level overview of Schein’s definition of culture and the clinical approach. Schein's definition of culture is as follows: (a) a pattern of basic assumptions; (b) invented, discovered or developed by a given group; (c) as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration; (d) that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore (e) is to be taught to new members as the (f) correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems.

Material on the clinical approach will be taken from Schein's book, The Clinical Perspective in Fieldwork. The clinical approach is a practitioner-oriented model, which draws heavily from action research. To articulate the clinical approach, Schein compares it to that of the ethnographic study of organisations.

Schein's material on culture and the clinical approach will be done as a presentation and facilitated group discussion.

We will then will break into smaller groups to look for ways to turn this material into actions that can be taken back into the day-to-day work environment. We will close by sharing some of the thought and findings from the small group exercise.

About the Speaker

John Young is an executive and team coach. He helps leaders and organisations transition into the effective use of agile and lean start-up practices. His clients are primarily in the financial sector, but now include VCs and early-stage entrepreneurs.

John has conducted research and led workshops on the relationship between strategy, organisational change and agile initiatives. Most recently he was facilitating an agile transition at Deutsche Bank.

He is an alumnus of INSEAD’s Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change (EMCCC). He is developing a programme for early and mid-stage entrepreneurs that integrates agile and lean start-up practices with material from the EMCCC programme. His writings on leadership and strategy can be found in INSEAD Knowledge. His work has also been published through INCOSE's agile systems working group.


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