Organisational Culture Remote Leadership

Remote Leadership Fact Sheet #5: Organisational Culture

In addition to leadership effectiveness, work organisation and communication, organisational culture is an important factor in the success of virtual collaboration. Features of organisational culture can be classified into three different levels: a visible level with cultural features such as rituals, dress codes or letterheads, a level that is more difficult to access, consisting of norms and standards, and a level that is only indirectly accessible, such as thought patterns.

Both tools, the GLOBE classification and the LIFO method provide insights into how organisations and individual employees “tick”.

1. GLOBE Study

It is obvious that cultural influences strongly influence virtual collaboration. The cultural dimensions of the GLOBE study have proven to be particularly important for the economic sector. At the beginning of the 1990s, the GLOBE study was based on a survey of around 17,000 middle managers in various companies and three different industries in 62 countries. The approximately 300 questions on the questionnaire included topics such as organisational and national culture or leadership, whereby a distinction was made between the values and actual practices in the respective society. The following cultural dimensions have emerged:

1.1. Uncertainty avoidance:

Describes the extent to which ambiguous situations can be avoided by complying with norms, standards and rules.

1.2. Power distance:

Describes to what extent an unequal distribution of power is accepted.

1.3. Institutional collectivism:

Describes the community orientation or loyalty related to an entire society.

1.4. Group / family-based collectivism:

Describes the community orientation or loyalty to a specific group such as family or company.

1.5. Gender equality:

Describes the extent to which a collective strives for gender equality.

1.6. Certainty:

Describes how prevalent are enforcement-orientedness, dominance and aggressiveness within a collective.

1.7. Future orientation:

Describes the extent to which planning and investments in the future are practiced and valued.

1.8. Performance orientation:

Describes the extent to which performance is promoted and rewarded. This dimension also includes the extent to which innovative problem-solving approaches are socially rewarded.

1.9. Human orientation:

Describes the importance of principles such as friendliness, fairness and altruism.

In addition to cultural dimensions, the GLOBE study also looked for the characteristics of successful leadership. The dimensions were identified

For the manager, the complex task derives from knowing the individual pattern of cultural dimensions for himself and each employee and making the derived expectations of behaviour transparent.

2. LIFO method

Typologies of behavioural styles, such as the LIFO method, can reduce complexity to a manageable level. The LIFO method distinguishes four basic styles with different needs, strengths and weaknesses. In the case of the pairs of terms, the first term describes the productive pattern, the second term the counterproductive exaggeration.

2.1. „Idealists“ with a focus on performance and values

Needs:

Be an accessible and valuable person, valued, understood, accepted and knowing that ideals are not lost.

Strengths:

Admires, supports the performance of others; places high demands on himself and others; trusts and believes in others; helps others and protects them.

Weaknesses:

Gives unnecessary help and advice; is slightly disappointed and critical; if he sees no value, he doesn’t tackle; is too involved with others.

2.2. “Doers” with a focus on activity and results

Needs:

Be an active and capable person; Overcome obstacles; see other options.

Strengths:

Takes leadership, determining influence; gives a feeling of urgent importance; looks forward to challenges; seeks hidden resistance.

Weaknesses:

Dominates and interrupts others, interrogates; creates an atmosphere of uncertainty; accepts risky, unnecessary challenges; pursues new things at the expense of the current.

2.3. “Analyst” with the aim of reason and order

Needs:

Be objective and reasonable; Avoid and eliminate risks; don’t let damage happen.

Strengths:

Analyses, interprets and emphasises facts; substantiates his opinion, considers alternatives; methodical, clean, careful, weighing up; maximizes what’s already there.

Weaknesses:

In love with facts, loses interest of others; confused by too many choices; control through systems, structures; reluctant to accept new things.

2.4. “Diplomats” aiming at cooperation and harmony

Needs:

Lovable, popular person; everyone should be satisfied with the result in; seize opportunities to please others.

Strengths:

Fine sensitivity for feelings and needs; makes relationships even more positive; responds flexibly, no stuck patterns; mediates with opposing opinions.

Weaknesses:

Likes to joke, even if it is inappropriate; holds back one’s own views, adapts; likes to spend time in meetings and cosy gatherings.

 

Know at least the preferred style of each employee, and have a list with names and pictures of all employees. Knowing the different styles in the team reduces misunderstandings and unnecessary loss of friction, which can otherwise threaten especially in virtual communication.


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In proven collaboration, the Institute for Leadership Dynamics (ILD) and Psychologie Halensee have developed a joint online program to strengthen resilience and leadership effectiveness in crises: the Remote Leadership & Collaboration program.

The fact sheets are part of the info package for internal employee communication with curated and quality-assured expert content on organisation, communication and health under the conditions of remote leadership & collaboration

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