Culture About Much More Than Structure
One’s assumptions about what defines culture limits or expands culture itself. One thing is for sure, culture is about much more than organizational structures and systems.
Indeed, culture is such a wicked problem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_problem) that defining culture structurally or systemically creates far more problems than it solves. Organisational structures are a small part of what creates culture.
When one looks at the SIA Body of Knowledge and some contemporary safety views on culture there is so much missing. If one seeks cognitivist, positivist and behaviourist research one will get definitions of culture that are burdened with the limitations of those ideologies. This is where Safety goes, to the comforts of what is known not to a broad transdisciplinary approach to risk and safety. This is what the SIA BoK offers, a very limited understanding of culture. No wonder Safety doesn’t know much about how to effect cultural change.
If one accepts a transdisciplinary view of culture then one would include aspects of: anthropology, theology, religion, phenomenology, dialectical existentialist and social psychology completely missing from the SIA BoK and other contemporary views in safety about what defines culture. Here is a list of some critical factors/ideas missing from current definitions of culture in safety.
· Religion and theologies in culture
· Aesthetics in culture
· Critical factors in education and learning theory
· The Collective Unconscious (Jungian approaches to culture)
· Social psychological dynamics
· Theories of consciousness
· Critical and cultural theory
· Discourse theory
· Political dimensions of culture
· Philosophical and ideological dimensions of culture
· Phenomenological and existentialist approaches to culture
· Anthropological understandings of culture
Indeed, when one looks at the current approaches to safety conversations and incident investigations all of these vital factors in culture are missing.
One therefore gets the closed outcomes one seeks from a closed definition of culture and the simplistic idea that one can affect culture by the modification of systems, behaviours and structures.
Dr Long will be offering his three day program on culture in Canberra on 11,12,13 September 2019 – https://cllr.com.au/product/culture-leadership-program-unit-15/
Rob Long says
Ah Bernard, safety is a choice you make! A language made in the heaven of safety to persecute the non-believers who don’t work safe!
This is the same organisation that is running a symposium on silica in early May 2019 using the slogan…Unmasking those who don’t work safe and the response from our peak safety body and its Pecksniffian acolytes is silence.
Rob Long says
Similarly, recent publications in safety suggesting culture is all about structure and organising. More positivism, behaviourism and cognitivism and then Safety wonders why nothing changes and the bureaucracy gets worse.
Bernard Corden says
The following links provide access to the NSW Government Centre for Work Health and Safety or its Room 101.
Much of the language such as behaviour modification with suprasurveillance has sinister overtones of eugenics:
“O, brave new world that has such people in’t!” – William Shakespeare (The Tempest)