Why you need to identify the genuine personality of your organization.

The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or creative consciousness. — Emile Durkheim

Our definition of Collective and Organizational personality is the synthesis of four main principles: the Collective consciousness, the Collective intelligence, the Group dynamics, the organizational culture. It drives our R & D works and it nourishes our reflexion.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” what could be a better definition of what is an organization?

Auklet_flock_Shumagins_1986Understanding your organisations personality

It’s amazing how few employees have a clear grasp of what their company does, let alone the personality that best represents them. One of the first questions we ask our clients is to summarise what their organisation does in one or two sentences. Many people simply cannot do that.

The second question we ask is “if your company was a person, who would that person be?” Think about it for a minute. Which famous person best represents your company? It’s a hard question to answer. Basically, the personality of the organization is comprised of the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization members and their behaviors. Members of an organization soon come to sense the particular indentity and culture of an organization wich compose its personality. Personality is one of those terms that’s difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when they sense it. For example, the personality of a large, for-profit corporation is quite different than that of a hospital which is quite different than that of a university. You can tell the personality of an organization by looking at the arrangement of furniture, what they brag about, what members wear, etc. — similar to what you can use to get a feeling about someone’s personality.

Organization personality (or Corporate culture) can be looked at as a system. Inputs include feedback from, e.g., society, professions, laws, stories, heroes, values on competition or service, etc. The process is based on our assumptions, values and norms, e.g., our values on money, time, facilities, space and people. Outputs or effects of our culture are, e.g., organizational behaviors, technologies, strategies, image, products, services, appearance, etc.

The concept of culture is particularly important when attempting to manage organization-wide change. Practitioners are coming to realize that, despite the best-laid plans, organizational change must include not only changing structures and processes, but also changing the corporate culture as well and its personality.

Quite often, a leader has a very good sense of the culture of their organization. They just haven’t made that sense conscious to the extent that they can effectively learn from, and lead within, the culture.

Different people in the same organization can have different perceptions of the culture of the organization thus its personality. This is especially true regarding the different perceptions between the top and bottom levels of the organization. For example, the Chief Executive may view the organization as being highly focused, well organized and even rather formal. On the other hand, the receptionist might view the organization as being confused, disorganized and, sometimes, even rude.

Here are some basic guidelines to help a leader assess the culture of their organization.

Understand some of the major types of cultures. There are a number of research efforts that have produced lists of different types of culture. You can start by reviewing the very short list in the previous subsection, Major Types of Cultures.

Describe the culture of your organization. Consider what you see and hear, not what you feel and think. Answer the following questions.

a. Who seems to be accepted and who doesn’t? What is it about those who are accepted as compared to those who aren’t?
b. What kinds of behaviors get rewarded? For example, getting along? Getting things done? Other behaviors?
c. What does management pay the most attention to? For example, problems? Successes? Crises? Other behaviors?
d. How are decisions made? For example, by one person? Discussion and consensus? Are decisions made at all?

Note that there may not be close alignment between what the organization says it values (for example, creativity, innovation, team-building) as compared to what you’re actually seeing (for example, conformity, individualism). This disparity is rather common in organizations. You might explain this disparity to other leaders in the organization. An ideal time to address this disparity is when developing a values statement during the strategic planning process.1280px-Venice_Masks

Don’t pretend to be somebody you are not

However the problem does not end with simply identifying who you are. It is also a matter of being confident enough to honestly project that personality. I often encounter organisations who dislike their corporate culture and would prefer to be somebody else. There is nothing wrong with being aspirational in the way you wish to project yourself. However it is important to recognise that if you intend to be aspirational online this also needs to be represented off-line as well. This requires nothing short of a cultural shift.

How to identify your organization personality

We decide to focus on the mathematical techniques and the Social Médias.

The mathematical techniques
One measure sometimes applied, especially by more artificial intelligence focused theorists, is a “collective intelligence quotient” (or “cooperation quotient”)—which presumably can be measured like the “individual” intelligence quotient (IQ)—thus making it possible to determine the marginal extra intelligence added by each new individual participating in the collective, thus using metrics to avoid the hazards of group think and stupidity.

In 2001, Tadeusz (Ted) Szuba from the AGH University in Poland proposed a formal model for the phenomenon of collective intelligence. It is assumed to be an unconscious, random, parallel, and distributed computational process, run in mathematical logic by the social structure.

In this model, beings and information are modeled as abstract information molecules carrying expressions of mathematical logic. They are quasi-randomly displacing due to their interaction with their environments with their intended displacements. Their interaction in abstract computational space creates multi-thread inference process which we perceive as collective intelligence. Thus, a non-Turing model of computation is used. This theory allows simple formal definition of collective intelligence as the property of social structure and seems to be working well for a wide spectrum of beings, from bacterial colonies up to human social structures. Collective intelligence considered as a specific computational process is providing a straightforward explanation of several social phenomena. For this model of collective intelligence, the formal definition of IQS (IQ Social) was proposed and was defined as “the probability function over the time and domain of N-element inferences which are reflecting inference activity of the social structure.” While IQS seems to be computationally hard, modeling of social structure in terms of a computational process as described above gives a chance for approximation. Prospective applications are optimization of companies through the maximization of their IQS, and the analysis of drug resistance against collective intelligence of bacterial colonies.

The Social Médias
In social Medias, users assign tags to resources shared with other users, which gives rise to a type of information organisation that emerges from this crowdsourcing process. The resulting information structure can be seen as reflecting the collective knowledge (or collective intelligence) of a community of users and is commonly called a “Folksonomy”, and the process can be captured by models of collaborative tagging.

Recent research using data from the social bookmarking website Delicious, has shown that collaborative tagging systems exhibit a form of complex systems (or self-organizing) dynamics. Although there is no central controlled vocabulary to constrain the actions of individual users, the distributions of tags that describe different resources has been shown to converge over time to a stable power law distributions.[36] Once such stable distributions form, examining the correlations between different tags can be used to construct simple folksonomy graphs, which can be efficiently partitioned to obtained a form of community or shared vocabularies.[39] Such vocabularies can be seen as a form of collective intelligence, emerging from the decentralised actions of a community of users. The Wall-it Project is also an example of social bookmarking.

How do organizational personality rise?

According to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, organizational personality is a consequence of mass collaboration. In order for this concept to happen, four principles need to exist;

Openness: Sharing ideas and intellectual property: though these resources provide the edge over competitors more benefits accrue from allowing others to share ideas and gain significant improvement and scrutiny through collaboration.

Peering: Horizontal organization as with the ‘opening up’ of the Linux program where users are free to modify and develop it provided that they make it available for others. Peering succeeds because it encourages self-organization – a style of production that works more effectively than hierarchical management for certain tasks.

Sharing: Companies have started to share some ideas while maintaining some degree of control over others, like potential and critical patent rights. Limiting all intellectual property shuts out opportunities, while sharing some expands markets and brings out products faster.

Acting Globally: The advancement in communication technology has prompted the rise of global companies at low overhead costs. The internet is widespread, therefore a globally integrated company has no geographical boundaries and may access new markets, ideas and technology.[21]

Organization’s personality is a tough question, especially if you’ve never considered that an organization could even have a personality in the first place. But the personality concept is important to the idea of organizational branding, and it’s really essential when you start to consider your talent acquisition strategy, where organization personality goes a long way.

Here’s another way to think about this: How do you want your organization to be perceived? Whether or not you think your organization embodies a certain kind of personality now, what would you like it to be?

Here are positive personality traits. Do you see your organization in these words?

Ambitious, Caring, Cheerful, Confident, Consensual, Cooperative, Courageous, Creative, Decisive, Determined, Disruptive, Emotional, Enthusiastic, Engaging, Flexible, Focused, Friendly, Fun, Game-Changer, Grateful, Hard-working, Helpful, Humble, Honest, Imaginative, Intrepid, Involved, Loving, Loyal, Meticulous, Mindful, Mysterious, Observant, Opinionated, Optimistic, Positive, Punctual, Practical, Pro-Active, Rational, Respectful, Responsible, Responsive, Serious, Soulful, Tactful, Tenacious, Thoughtful, Tolerant, Trustworthy, Useful, Warm, Witty

Source and key references:
Collective consciousness
Collective conscious or collective conscience (French: conscience collective) is the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society.[1] The term was introduced by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his Division of Labour in Society in 1893.

The French word conscience can be translated into English as “conscious” or “conscience” (conscience morale), or even “perception”[2] or “awareness”, and commentators and translators of Durkheim disagree on which is most appropriate, or whether the translation should depend on the context. Some prefer to treat the word ‘conscience’ as an untranslatable foreign word or technical term, without its normal English meaning.[3] In general, it does not refer to the specifically moral conscience, but to a shared understanding of social norms.[4]

As for “collective”, Durkheim makes clear that he is not reifying or hypostasizing this concept; for him, it is “collective” simply in the sense that it is common to many individuals;[5] cf. social fact. More on Wikipedia.

Collective intelligence
Collective intelligence is shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, collective efforts, and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making. The term appears in sociobiology, political science and in context of mass peer review and crowdsourcing applications. It may involve consensus, social capital and formalisms such as voting systems, social media and other means of quantifying mass activity. Collective IQ is a measure of collective intelligence, although it is often used interchangeably with the term collective intelligence. Collective intelligence has also been attributed to bacteria[1] and animals.[2]

It can be understood as an emergent property from the synergies among: 1) data-information-knowledge; 2) software-hardware; and 3) experts (those with new insights as well as recognized authorities) that continually learns from feedback to produce just-in-time knowledge for better decisions than these three elements acting alone.[3] Or more narrowly as an emergent property between people and ways of processing information.[4] This notion of collective intelligence is referred to as Symbiotic intelligence by Norman Lee Johnson.[5] The concept is used in sociology, business, computer science and mass communications: it also appears in science fiction. Pierre Lévy defines collective intelligence as, “It is a form of universally distributed intelligence, constantly enhanced, coordinated in real time, and resulting in the effective mobilization of skills. More on Wikipedia.

Group dynamics
Group dynamics is a system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group (intragroup dynamics), or between social groups (intergroup dynamics). The study of group dynamics can be useful in understanding decision-making behavior, tracking the spread of diseases in society, creating effective therapy techniques, and following the emergence and popularity of new ideas and technologies.[1] Group dynamics are at the core of understanding racism, sexism, and other forms of social prejudice and discrimination. These applications of the field are studied in psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, education, social work, business, and communication studies. More on Wikipedia.

Paul Boag see related article here.
Kivi Leroux Miller see related article here.
Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD. Published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC, 2000. see related article here.

If you want to discover how understanding your Organisation Personality can help you improve your recrutiment process and your productivity, contact us and lets meet up.