Art Libraries Society of
WORKSHOP 2: Collaboration and the Role of Organizational Culture
Kathryn Deiss facilitated the
third workshop in a series organized for mid-career professionals by the
ARLIS/NA Management Issues Roundtable.
Deiss is Director of the
Twenty-four librarians and visual resources professionals gained clearer understanding of the source and dimension of organizational culture which advance or hinder collaboration. Edgar Schein’s definition of organizational culture was cited as a starting point for an exploration of its elements:
“Organizational culture is the pattern of basic assumptions that a given group has invented, discovered or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, and that have worked well enough to be considered valid, and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.”
Schein, Edgar. “Coming to a New Awareness of Organizational Culture.” Sloan Management Review, Winter 1984, 3-16.
The sources of organizational culture come from a broad array of values—both espoused and enacted--and assumptions, often unspoken. Climate, the pulse of the organization, is often confused with culture, the more encompassing of the two. Climate determines the degree of openness and risk taking within the organization’s systems such as the communication, decision-making, reward, and information systems. Assumptions fall within predictable arenas: human relationship to nature, nature of time and space, nature of human nature, nature of human relationships, nature of reality and truth.
An understanding of one’s organizational culture is fundamental to undertaking and succeeding in collaborative efforts. Workshop participants learned about the bases of collaboration and strategies in Deiss’s “Blueprint for Collaboration” and followed with an activity in which half the group organized as Planners and half as Implementers to complete a project.
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