Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Excellent guide to culture for the cerebral manager
on 12 February 2013
The book is certainly not something of the one minute variety and is much more an overview of the main scientific theories on the subjects of culture and leadership and their applications, than a specific recommendation on how things are to be done.
In this way it requires a sufficiently cerebral reader, who will actually actively choose the approach most suited to their specific organization, to get the most out of it. But if you are blessed with patience and perseverance the book is a real tour de force.
The author provides a pretty comprehensive overview of theories and aspects of culture and leadership and equips the reader with arguments for / against a specific approach in a given setting, or put differently, a map of settings where the approaches would work best.
While the examples largely come from the author's own prolific consulting experience and include a multitude of organizations, the majority still stems from the two companies where Schein worked most thoroughly - the DEC and Ciba Geigy. As these two are in many ways polar opposites, they work well for illustrating the points made.
As everything is derived from practically first principles, you really get lots of insights into how to identify, explore, understand and finally shape various aspects of culture. This makes the book a useful guide for someone new to an organization (and creating a picture for oneself of it), for someone leading an organization and wanting to change aspects of it, in an M&A context, where companies get merged and acquired (and where the cultural compatibility and the minefields associated therewith are often neglected prior to the deals being struck), etc.
As long as you are not expecting answers to fall at your feet within the first handful of pages, and understand yourself as an active participant in discovering the route and then carrying out the journey, the book makes excellent sense. If you are changing into a different organizational (or national) culture with your next job assignment, it is a blessing to at least be prepared with the right mindset / questions, before embarking on the journey.