20 Organizational Culture Change Insights from Edgar Schein

A thorough interview with an organizational culture pioneer

Shared Learning Quote

We’re going to accelerate your organizational culture change education with this post. Every leader will benefit from understanding the following critical insights about culture and problem solving, change, engagement, strategy, hiring, and consulting shared by Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus with MIT Sloan School of Management and the most influential authority in the culture field.

I first interviewed Ed when this site was launched in 2014 and we held a very thorough follow-up interview last year. Ed is continuing to make an impact in the culture field and beyond. He recently formed the Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership Institute. The Institute is dedicated to advancing organizational development through a deeper understanding of organizational and occupational cultures—how they arise, develop, and evolve.

We started this interview with a brief review of culture fundamentals and then probed the connection of culture and important culture-related workplace topics like engagement, hiring for cultural fit and strategy. Culture clearly impacts these areas but the connection is not widely understood and it’s often oversimplified.

Workplace Culture vs. Climate – why most focus on climate and may suffer for it

Businesses Forget about Culture

Culture is a hot topic. It was the Merriam-Webster “word of the year” for 2014. Leaders and experts across the world are talking about how to develop an agile culture, implement a lean culture, overcome the culture clash in acquisitions, and many other areas of culture change. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of these leaders and experts are actually focusing their efforts on climate and not dealing with the deeper, more powerful subject of culture. I didn’t understand the difference until the past few years.

How to change your organization’s culture

Gerstner Quote

Editor’s Note: This post was a very popular post on Switch & Shift and was adapted to include Edgar Schein’s personal meeting room video.

It’s like being lost in the wilderness if you initiate any major change effort in your organization without specifically knowing how cultures effectively evolve or change. It’s one of the greatest leadership challenges, but few truly understand how cultures evolve.

Why don’t most people know how cultures evolve or change?

Culture is a hot topic and it’s all over the popular press whether it’s guidance on “creating” a great culture or coverage of the latest culture crisis.

The Value of Values

The Fun Boy Three & Bananarama

Core values are traits or qualities that represent deeply held beliefs. They reflect what is important to us, and what motivates us. In an organization, values define what it stands for and how it is seen and experienced by all stakeholders (customers, employees, service partners, suppliers and communities). In this organizational context, values are moving from a PR exercise to become the guiding compass, not only for progressive, enlightened organizations but for more well established corporates too.

Culture Fundamentals – 9 Important Insights from Edgar Schein

Edgar Schein

An Interview with Edgar Schein

Editor’s Note: This is the inaugural post of CultureUniversity.com – our purpose is to positively impact society on a global scale through culture awareness, education, and action.

Culture is a hot topic but remains a tremendous opportunity for most organizations to further support their purpose, solve problems, and improve performance. One of the foremost authorities on the subject of culture is Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus with MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of many best sellers including The Corporate Culture Survival Guide and, his most recent book, Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling.  He was recently interviewed for the launch of CultureUniversity.com and a number of important culture insights were captured to help bring clarity to this deep and important topic.