Visualization: Organizational Culture

There is a Latin term, ceteris paribus, which can be roughly translated as “all other things being equal.” It is often used in economics, and other sciences, when attempting to structure a problem into something that can be observable, and thereby, potentially solvable.

While I am applying a rather broad brush on the usage, and there are nuances that I am deliberately avoiding so as not to go down that rabbit hole, just accept it as a way of doing the following:

Ceteris Paribus

[My deepest apologies for such a drastic generalization, but it suffices as a foundational definition]

When it comes to the topic of organisational culture, there are so many rabbit holes to go down.

  • Bottoms-up analysis of a company could yield yards and fathoms of data, but sometimes you can stop seeing the forest because you are buried not just in the trees, but the branches, the leaves, the roots, and the crawling critters
  • Top-down analysis is equally fraught with danger because then all that you see is the forest and it is hard to get from the canopy to the floor where there may be a single patch of poison ivy that has started to spread and is now tormenting all hikers that enter within

Therefore, sometimes it helps to pick a few key factors and chart them against each other. It is not necessarily to establish causation, but potentially correlation, or if the case I am about to present, the results of the conjunction of these factors or traits.

My super-simple visualization for today about organizational culture is analyzing Politics Versus Paranoia (Managerial) into a 4-quadrants model:

Politics v Paranoia

I’ll allow this to speak for itself and submit these questions:

  1. Where do you think your organisation sits along these axes?
  2. What impact do you think the resultant culture has on your personal happiness and engagement?
  3. What impact do you think it has on productivity?
  4. What impact do you think it has on clients and customers?
  5. And, most importantly, what impact do you think it has on the bottom line?

I look forward to your feedback and comments. I am keenly interested on how various folks have dealt with this.


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Also, let’s start a conversation! Please comment below or send me an email at cassandra@cassandrajohn.com.

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