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?

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About hdjackson

Graduate Student at Virginia Commonwealth University studying the theoretical world of Adult Learning along with its relation to Human Resources Developement. View all posts by hdjackson

2 responses to “Culture and Size, is There a Relationship?

  • Irene Lubker

    Holly,
    Interesting question about the relationship between culture and size. All organizations change with the times and that includes cultural changes. Even though Leaders continue to try to impose their own views of how things should be, and, if they are powerful enough, they continue to have a dominant effect on the emerging culture, if the old culture is not relevant to the way things have changed, the organizations will not continue. We saw in our last class before the holidays how all those different leaders affected the culture in their organizations. As time went on, those cultures that were more suited to expansions or those organizations that modified themselves were able to continue.

    • hdjackson

      So true Irene! And I loved that Schein spoke more about the evolution of a culture and company in our final readings. It brought the opinion I shared here back into view with a different perspective.

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