Why Corporates Can’t Change

Why Corporates Can’t Change

Why do Analytic-minded organisations (e.g. the typical Corporate) keep trying to change yet repeatedly fail?

∵ belief in the utility of violence
∴ belief in the utility of command (and control)
∴ belief that change can be commanded (1)

∵ belief in the utility of extrinsic motivators
∴ belief that change can be effected through extrinsic motivation (2)

∵ extrinsic motivators reduce performance – longer term, and in knowledge work
∴ use of extrinsic motivation to effect change longer term, and in knowledge work, fails (3)

∵ people’s behaviours are a product of their beliefs about how to get their needs met
∴ people’s behaviours change when their beliefs about how to get their needs met, change

∵ people will not change their beliefs just because they are commanded to do so
∴ people cannot change their behaviours just because they are commanded to do so
∴ commanding people to change fails (4)

∵ belief in change through command (1) and/or extrinsic motivation (2)
∵ change through extrinsic motivation fails (3), commanding people to change fails (4)
∵ no knowledge of other means to effect change
∴ corporates can’t change

Simply put, collective belief in ineffective strategies stymies corporate change initiatives, every time.

– Bob

Further Reading

What’s A Manager to Do? ~ Think Different blog post

4 comments
  1. Martin Burns said:

    Absolutely right that these are factors that make it very difficult for corporates to change, particularly if you’re expecting evolutionary change.

    It’s far easier with new organisations (or sufficiently independent new parts of existing organisations), and with organisations/parts that have had a shock – a particularly visible/painful failure is a good example.

    But even with evolutionary change, organisations can and do change, but maybe not on a timescale that most humans (and certainly most Agile Coaches) have the patience to work with. It’s never a quick fix, no matter what the special unicorns may hope for. There is always a journey. The journey is long and hard, otherwise we’d already be there. It’s tough to start, otherwise we’d already be underway.

    What, you only want to do the EASY stuff?

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