Leadership Coaching Tip: Leadership and Organizational Culture

Russ Volckmann

Theorists from Ed Schein to Fred Kofman have been talking about the importance of organizational culture for organizational success. Culture has am important role to play for leadership. It shapes the meaning of the actions of leaders, as well as provides them with the context of their own meaning making. Much of integral theory, so far, seems to treat culture as that which is shared in a society or an organization. When you are exploring culture it is vital to explore both what is shared and what is not.

When exploring culture, social scientists make the distinction between composition and compilation. Composition is about those things that are shared, the shared properties of values and meaning. Compilation recognizes discontinuities in the culture; the culture is the product of diversity.

When planning a leader’s interventions or efforts at building leadership in an organization, consider both composition and compilation. Find the commonalities and the differences. Ask the questions that will surface both: What is shared? What is not? Where are the agreements? Where are the differences? What are the implications of those?