Monthly Archives: November 2013

Culture and Size, is There a Relationship?

I do not dispute that there is learning within my organization or that there may very well be processes or systems in place that encourage knowledge transfer and/or organizational learning more than I may realize.  What I do wonder however is if  healthcare facilities and business were once better at knowledge sharing because of their size or the value that organizations placed on relationships in the past.  This is not to imply that relationships are no longer important, but the emphasis is perhaps just…different.  Consider first that many years prior to now companies (hospitals included) were smaller, more intimate, family run, etc.; promoting perhaps an organic environment for relationships among all employees.  Further still employees often socialized outside of work, took lunch breaks together, worked together…. we were perhaps a less individualistic culture as a society?  And, if true, I ponder if this may have helped to encourage or naturally result in sharing of knowledge; because we needed each other and it was expected that we did.   But thinking now of current societal expectations, current cultures of some organizations, our current focus on the importance of relationships, I cannot help but wonder if we are recognizing disparities or possibilities because of what has been and our understanding now.

To consider a more current example, think back to our Dixon readings early on in class.  Many of her positive examples included smaller facilities that were purposefully kept on the smaller scale.  But in many cases now, you will find overarching organizations and the words “globalization” in just about every field you see.  So…is there a relationship between culture and size?  And if so does that culture grow diverse and more inclusive with this growth, or does it instead loose focus and foundation?  We are often astounded at how far back the studies go regarding the significance of culture in any and all organizations, but I can’t help but wonder-when did we discover the need to start paying attention?


Considering Vella; the Influence Educational Awareness May Have on a Culture

While some of this post is a copy from the post for my other class, I wanted to change the tone only slightly and share the content/thoughts with my Organizational Learning associates as well.  As I read the text for my Design and Delivery class, How Do They Know They Know by Jane Vella, Paula Berardinelli and Jim Burrow, I couldn’t help but pause on a statement found on page 32, “additional improvements can be made by paying attention to the daily work environment of the learners and the personal characteristics and motivation of the leaders.”

I considered this quote from the perspective of my chosen topic for the project in the class.  The topic is an offering that I have already created and conducted several times in my workplace. It’s a popular topic and one that many continue to request, but I can’t always guarantee that the empowerment or motivation that I sense as they leave the classroom continues once they return to an environment that has not had the enlightenment or feeling of inspiration to change as they have. Without any real way to evaluate whether that motivation continues or whether the learning opportunity has really created a change in behavior, it leaves me to assume that the session has made a difference.

But instead of assuming, I’d like to really know. I’d like to create an opportunity to discover just how much of an impact the session really made and, if any, obstacles they may have encountered when they went back to ‘the real world’. I’d like to really consider the impact that their daily work environment has or may have had on their learning. While the topic that I facilitate is not necessarily life changing, nor is it rocket science; I’d like to think that creating awareness in a few people about how they can establish and maintain better relationships in the workplace can impact more than just that person. I’d like to think that it can begin to also build a better culture, create a better environment to work in and, ultimately, create a better organization for employees and the patients that we serve. For a smile can certainly brighten someones day, a caring heart can create the feeling of warmth that is so desperately needed in our darkest hour, and a helping hand can be the strength that we need on our toughest day. From a higher level, these things can also create the culture that empowers us to do well in our workplace, motivates us to go the extra mile and inspires us to be the team player that contributes to the team’s (departmental and organizational) overall success.

So while I paused to consider whether or not what I have decided on is reminiscent of what Vella described in the referenced quote, I’d like to also ask my classmates from Organizational Learning if they agree that such a creation of awareness has the potential to impact something as tremendous as an entire organizational culture?  Considering what we’ve discussed thus far and tapping into our recent readings from Schein, can education truly impact or influence culture?  Can organizational learning really begin with the awareness of a few if it creates a movement of many?


Sometimes You Must Take a Step Back to Take a Step Forward

As I read our text, How Do They Know They Know, I couldn’t help but pause on a statement on page 32, “additional improvements can be made by paying attention to the daily work environment of the learners and the personal characteristics and motivation of the leaders.” As many may know, I have chosen the topic for my course work this semester based on an offering that has already been created and conducted several times. It’s a popular topic and one that many continue to request, but I can’t always guarantee that the empowerment or motivation that I sense as they leave the classroom continues once they return to an environment that has not had the enlightenment or feeling of inspiration to change as they have. Without any real way to evaluate whether that motivation continues or whether the learning opportunity has really created a change in behavior, it leaves me to assume that the session has made a difference.

But instead of assuming, I’d like to really know. I’d like to create an opportunity to discover just how much of an impact the session really made and, if any, obstacles they may have encountered when they went back to ‘the real world’. I’d like to really consider the impact that their daily work environment has or may have had on their learning. While the topic that I facilitate is not necessarily life changing, nor is it rocket science; I’d like to think that creating awareness in a few people about how they can establish and maintain better relationships in the workplace can impact more than just that person. I’d like to think that it can begin to also build a better culture, create a better environment to work in and, ultimately, create a better organization for employees and the patients that we serve. For a smile can certainly brighten someones day, a caring heart can create the feeling of warmth that is so desperately needed in our darkest hour, and a helping hand can be the strength that we need on our toughest day. From a higher level, these things can also create the culture that empowers us to do well in our workplace, motivates us to go the extra mile and inspires us to be the team player that contributes to the team’s (departmental and organizational) overall success.

So often we fail to realize just how much our actions can impact others, and I’d like to not only help to create awareness of that fact, but to also inspire employees to change those actions. So have I been doing as Vella described and really looking at our environment for the possibility of change to my own program? I’d like to think that without that step back, I would not have had the inclination that there may be a need for this step forward.