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Changing the layers of organisational culture – Paradigms

Updated: Mar 29

An article in the 'Onion' series by Niels Kooi

Photo by Burhan Rexhepi on Unsplash

The real reason behind the high rate of unsuccessful culture change programmes? Neglecting the power of paradigms. In this segment, I continue to explore changing the layers of an organisational culture. After focusing on the core (values) in the previous article, I now focus on organisational paradigms.

While changing paradigms can be challenging on an individual level (but at least it's easier than changing one's personal values), organisational paradigms can sometimes be even harder to modify than organisational values.

That's because organisational paradigms are convictions or beliefs that are often not documented and almost never challenged. Values, on the other hand, are. They're on the wall behind the reception desk. They are part of the employee lifecycle, hopefully. Most changes fail - in my opinion at least - because the paradigms get out of it relatively unscathed. And their resilience smothers other good intentions.

However, it's crucial to change them to successfully develop your culture further. Are you wondering how to do that? Read the explainer below as I share some insights on the topic. This article has also been posted on LinkedIn before.

Would you like to read more on the subject? Explore the other articles in this series:

  • An intro in the layers of a company's culture

  • The first layer: values, and how to change them

  • The second layer: paradigms (this post)

  • The third layer: competencies, and how to change them

  • The fourth layer: behaviours, and how to change them (not published yet)


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