Thursday, July 14, 2011

Leadership & Culture Change in the Bureaucracy

The gains of the (P-Noy) Aquino administration in fighting corruption and reducing poverty cannot be consolidated & sustained without smart efforts at reforming the bureaucracy & changing the culture(s) within public agencies and organizations.
The book, "Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework," 3rd edition, by Kim Cameron & Robert Quinn (San Francisco, 2011) offers a formula for organizational culture change based on research done on many business organizations mostly in North America & Western Europe.

The book describes 4 major culture types: a. Hierarchy (Control) Culture, b. Market (Compete) Culture, c. Clan (Collaborate) Culture, d. Adhocracy (Create) Culture.
Applying the descriptions to the Philippine bureaucracy, it appears that the dominant culture in our public agencies is the clan culture. For the book, the competencies of successful leaders in a clan culture are: leading through teamwork & interpersonal relationships, ensuring the personal growth of followers, & leading through collaboration and caring.
The formal norms of the bureaucracy bequeathed to us by the United States, however, belong more to the hierarchy (control) culture in which the competencies of successful leaders are: leading through rational analysis, information clarity, ensuring accuracy & consistency in quality, & leading through measurement.

In the Philippine context, research can be pursued on the key leadership competencies and strategies (e.g. culture-sensitive communication strategy) which can bring about the reconciliation, consolidation, or reform of these distinct cultures so that every
agency can greatly improve the development and implementation of its public service programs & projects.
What are reliable & innovative ways & means to develop the necessary competencies? Also how does a leader introduce elements of the "adhocracy" culture so that the public agency can be agile and the implementation of programs innovative?
One area of research can be the determination of the applicability & limitations of the "competing values framework" to diagnosing & changing Philippine public organizations.
(Your comments or thoughts on the matter are most welcome.)