Cultural resilience

The resilience of a culture (corporate or national) is reflected in its ability to encompass disturbances and incorporate new input.

Resilience to change includes:

  • The ability to more easily cope with and integrate cultural, economic, or environmental change./li>
  • The ability to generate change in the form of new ideas, and to engage with them.
  • The openness to embrace the expressions of individuality.

Conformist cultures are relatively easier to manage, control and direct. They have a strong hierarchical structure – in formal governance/management as well as social classes (usually by arbitrary factors). When something needs doing, action can be mandated and executed rapidly. On the surface they appear calm and orderliness. But they are fragile when faced with rapid change as the component individuals are used to be told what to think and do. When fundamental rules are challenged and core, never-questioned beliefs are questioned, (destructive) chaos can ensue.

A more individual-centric, “flat” culture can appear more chaotic and disorganised. Things happen without much centralised control, management or direction. Such an organic structure is more able to respond quickly to change. The biggest challenge for management is to envisage and maintain a cohesive vision, and to enable this vision to be individually adapted and appropriated by each member of the group. Everyone can then just get on with doing what they need to do, while still having a fairly consistent understanding of the grand vision.

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