We use the Organisational Culture Assessment Instrument to find out how four different kinds of charities can embrace digital transformation.
With the increased prevalence of digital methods of operations, fundraising and service delivery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, digital strategy is fast becoming one of the hottest topics in the UK charity sector.
One of the core components of a sound digital strategy is a strong digital culture. But how do you measure and assess an organisation’s digital culture?
The Organisational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) is a tool developed by University of Michigan business professors Kim S. Cameron and Robert E. Quinn to help define and codify corporate cultures.
This framework focuses on four different types of company culture: Clan, Adhocracy, Market and Hierarchy.
These four cultures provide a blueprint for organisations to follow. Reading through the descriptions of each, I’m sure that you will be able to identify characteristics you recognise from the organisations you’ve worked in. Perhaps you’ll be able to identify one of these cultures at work in your current organisation.
These four archetypes are of immense help to leaders looking to guide their organisation’s corporate culture. But can this framework also be applied to an organisation’s digital culture? There are lessons for digital transformation and change management in this framework that can benefit charity leaders. Understanding the kind of digital culture you want to implement can help guide you towards the right tools and partners you will need to start the process.
By identifying which of these archetypes best describes your organisation’s culture, you can work out how best to approach digital transformation within your charity. This guide can also help you to identify potential organisational obstacles and build processes to overcome them.
Let’s dive into the four kinds of company culture, and find out how they can help charities to #BeMoreDigital:
What is Clan Culture?
This kind of culture centres around a tight-knit team. Most common in small organisations, in a Clan Culture the team is like a family: with loyalty, mentorship and mutual support amongst the most valued traits.
How can Clan Cultures implement digital transformation?
One of the greatest strengths of a Clan Culture is an ‘all in this together’ mentality. Among smaller teams, role-sharing and pitching-in to help with tasks beyond your immediate remit are common. Employees gain new skills as a result of having to learn on the job. This leads to a versatile workforce with a range of soft skills.
All of this means that securing buy-in is imperative. If you can explain to your team why a digital culture is important, then your close bonds will be your greatest asset as you manage change. If your team works together and takes shared ownership of digital transformation, you will be able to implement change throughout all levels of your organisation.
With this in mind, it is best to introduce a digital culture not as a separate entity, but instead as part of a wider digital strategy - as a way of doing things. Focus your energy on outlining how digital can make day-to-day operations and individual tasks more efficient and help your charity to achieve its mission. Help employees to identify how they can transform their own roles and build from there.
Your team has already bought into your mission. By explaining how digital transformation can help you achieve this mission you can get them to buy-into a new digital culture.
What is Adhocracy Culture?
A dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking environment in which people are prepared to take risks in order to discover something new.
Prevalent within the tech start-up community, this kind of company culture is often touted as a progressive meritocracy, free from many of the constraints of more traditional company cultures.
How can Adhocracy Cultures implement digital transformation?
Organisations with this kind of culture will try anything once. And if it doesn’t work, they’ll be open to trying it again - with some tweaks.
Unsurprisingly, given that this culture is a product of the digital age, Adhocracy Cultures are well-suited to embracing digital transformation. And they’re not afraid of failure. Which is good, as failure is an important part of the process.
An Adhocracy will focus on the lessons learned from this - and won’t look at it as a failure at all.
It won’t be too difficult to sell an Adhocracy on digital transformation. Focus on it as an exciting opportunity to try new things and spread your wings. Your team will most likely want to contribute their own ideas - let them!
This is one of the most important parts of change management: shared ownership of digital transformation. The surest way to make sure that everyone buys-in is to allow them to build a set of principles to buy-into. These principles will work for your charity because they’ll have been created by your charity. This is incredibly valuable. Rather than an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to digital, you’ll have a strategy and culture geared towards your needs and built by your people.
What is Market Culture?
The term Market Culture might conjure up an image of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko - decked out in all his 80s finery.
While this corporate culture has some of its roots in another era, tech moguls like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos have repurposed it for a new era.
A Market Culture is a culture built around results. It is a competitive environment geared toward individual achievement.
How can Market Cultures implement digital transformation?
Emphasise the potential gain!
A Market Culture’s results-oriented outlook means that leaders will be receptive to hearing about the increased efficiency and productivity that digital strategy can bring. Incentivising individual digital achievements could also help, as this culture is all about individual performance.
However, be careful not to oversell. Any successful digital strategy will be a result of failure. You’ll need to manage expectations, and make it clear that this process of transformation will not be an instant success. Things will get messy.
One of the challenges you might face is that of demonstrating the value of an investment.
You may initially have trouble demonstrating the value of an investment. The key is to start small: run small tests, gather data and use it to demonstrate ROI. You can scale up operations once you’ve proved your strategy works. Poor foundations lead to poor results. Good underlying systems take time to build and are the result of small, successful actions.
What is Hierarchy Culture?
The most traditional of corporate cultures. Process and procedure are the keywords here, as a top-down management structure ensures that everything is done by the book and to the letter.
Efficiency is prized in a Hierarchy Culture: costs are kept low by adhering to rules and guidelines. These guidelines are a result of what has worked in the past, and are not easily challenged!
How can Hierarchy Cultures implement digital transformation?
You will face difficulty in implementing change with any organisation that has a Hierarchy Culture. You’ll need to secure buy-in from those at the top.
Prove to them the potential value of the project. Highlight potential savings and opportunities to maximise efficiency, Present your case, clearly, simply and as objectively as possible.
These organisations work by minimising risk. So present digital transformation as the safest option. Highlight the risks of not implementing this process of change. Accept that there will be challenges, but point to the success enjoyed by other organisations who are further along their journey to digital maturity. Establish that, whilst this transition will have a relatively high upfront cost, everything is geared towards making the most of resources in the long run.