Tribal Quest

Abstract:Many quality initiatives fail because organizations do not embrace quality culture. Instead, they are tribal, characterized by hoarding of information and resources and informal rule enforcement. The most noted quality professionals of the 1980s simultaneously identified the need to address cultural issues. Each organization’s culture is unique, and a force field analysis can identify the existing cultural balance. Quality managers should remember that they themselves exist within the organizational culture and account for their own effects on that culture. They also should be prepared for resistance as they attempt to change the cultural status …

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Great article. It is an incredible challenge for quality professionals to work in tribal cultures and thrive. Leadership is the key to overcoming a tribal culture.
--Jim Nelson, 12-27-2011

I love the gardener/garden metaphor. I often deal with companies that are just beginning a quality journey, and metaphors such as this take the quality movement to a humanistic, not technical, level. I also use systems thinking tools such as current reality trees and causal loop diagrams to complement a force field analysis.
--Peter Bartell, 12-22-2011

I think John has put into words what many of us know and have experienced. Well done!
--Gary G, 12-20-2011

Great article that articulates the daily challenges and unspoken realities of many organizations.
--Patricia Lotich, 12-07-2011

Very good article. I would appreciate a focus on what inspectors are to do when the quality manager buys in to the tribal culture too (other than get while the getting iss good).
--Marc G, 12-07-2011

Outstanding article. Apparently, John has walked in my shoes.
--T. M. Kubiak, 12-06-2011

I have seen this many times before, very good insight on what is required for change.
--John Burden, 12-05-2011

I can really relate, this is happening in my company.
--Creed Fleenor, 12-05-2011

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