Project Management

Are We Talking the Same Language? Some Scary Cultural Warnings

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

PricewaterhouseCoopers produces an annual culture-focused survey (this year’s results can be found here). On the face of it, there are some really healthy numbers in there. Culture has clearly become a mainstream element of how business gets done, and the reasons why are clear in the statistics reported there—it drives performance.

But the story isn’t all rosy, and I think it will make a more meaningful article here if I focus on some of the elements that aren’t so positive.

Take a look at the section PwC calls “Cultural incoherence – the authenticity gap.” It shows a considerable difference in the views of C-suite and board-level executives and those of non-managerial staff in every single culture related area that was looked at.

The closest results were for “I can be my authentic self at work,” where non-managerial staff were only 8% lower than C-suite/board level (74% to 66%). Every other factor had double-digit percentage differences, going as high as a massive 29% difference for “I feel a personal connection to our organization’s purpose” (83% to 54%).

The implications
I’m not surprised to see that people at the top of organizations feel more aligned with the organization than those at the operating levels. It’s inevitable that, at least collectively, those with a more …

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