Development of culture in organizations – Interview with Dr. Sandra Jochheim and Jan Mees

Culture development means organizing processes in a way that enables self-efficacy

A company’s culture emerges from experience and the company’s history, as well as from decisions and learning, habits and convictions. Dr. Sandra Jochheim and Jan Mees have just completed a four-year culture development project for a public-sector client.


Is it normal to work on a company’s culture for so long?


Jan Mees: Every organization has its own fundamental rhythm. We faced the challenge of two organizations converging after a merger. And we had the pandemic. But especially when it comes to culture, you need staying power – fortunately, the project members had it and kept at it. With a vision, a common set of values, management principles and a leadership concept, a recruitment concept and a customer survey, we have achieved good results. I am very pleased with that, because if cultural development is lacking in dynamism, there is also a risk that it will lose credibility.


Culture development has a lot to do with shared values, attitudes and positions. Not an easy thing to do at a time when the people involved could not meet for months, or could only meet digitally, was it?


Sandra Jochheim: The initial situation of our assignment was characterized by an organization with low change dynamics and a rather hierarchical understanding of leadership, typical for many public authorities. Since corporate culture is created through cooperation and can only change through cooperation, the pandemic was definitely a challenge for us. However, as culture changes most when people do things differently than before and experiment with new things, we were able to demonstrate alternatives in a wonderful way. The strategy forum we conducted online, for example, was a milestone for the organization’s virtual collaboration and provided proof that meetings are also possible digitally, albeit with limitations.


How would you describe the results of your work?


Sandra Jochheim: In addition to the results already mentioned above, communication has generally improved and hierarchies have become flatter. We have created meeting spaces for colleagues from different locations. Overall, transparency and cooperation at the interfaces between the organizational units have improved.


What current challenges do you see for the culture development of organizations?


Jan Mees: Especially traditionally structured companies have to deal with great pressure to change and increasing complexity. While increasing digitalization often makes our work easier, it creates even more pressure on us in terms of time. The resulting overload shapes the culture of a company and requires a different approach to processes. Organizing these processes to enable the people involved to experience self-efficacy is what creates culture.

Last update Dec. 8, 2023

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The processing of the data specified in this section is not required by law or contract. We cannot process a payment via PayPal without the transmission of your personal data. [You have the option of choosing a different payment method.]

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