Communications: Working the Cultural Network
Everyone in a strong culture has a job--but he also has another job. This "other job" won't get stamped on a business card, but that doesn't matter. In many ways this work is far more important than budgets, memos, policies, and five-year plans. Spies, storytellers, priests, whisperers, cabals--these people form the hidden hierarchy which looks considerably different from the organization chart. In the hidden hierarchy, a lowly junior employee doubles as a highly influential spy. Or an "unproductive" senior manager gets the best office in the building, precisely because he does little but tell good stories--an ability that makes him tremendously valuable to the corporation as an interpreter of events. As consultants, we've found that these "other jobs" are critical to the effective management of any successful organization. They make up what we call the cultural network.
This network is actually the primary means of communication within the organization; it ties together all parts of the company without respect to positions or titles. The network is important because it not only transmits information but also interprets the significance of the information for employees. The official announcement from the CEO may be that the vice-president resigned to pursue other interests. But half a day after the announcement goes out, the network has circulated the unofficial "truth": the vice-president missed his sales budget for the third year in a row--performance that is not tolerated in this company.
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Publication information: Book title: Corporate Cultures:The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life. Contributors: Terrence E. Deal - Author, Allan A. Kennedy - Author. Publisher: Perseus Books. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 85.
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