The Neuroscience of Organizational Culture

The Neuroscience of Organizational Culture

* For a group, there is a fourth step – to discuss and debate if the practicing is actually working in the medium to long term, and to review step 2 above if members feel they are not making progress.

For intact work teams, in the same way that sports team practice drills, overtly practicing stimulus- response behavior “drills” is necessary to develop new neural pathways. Sapolski describes an important aspect of stress reduction that can be related to this process – that of personal control. When individuals in a team feel that they some control over how people behave and interact, stress and anxiety levels are significantly reduced.

Summary

It is remarkable to me how common negative behaviors and toxic coworkers derail effective workplaces and create cultures that are deeply embedded and ineffective to meet new challenges and opportunities. The techniques described in this essay are relatively simple methods that, if applied rigorously and widely, can have a significant impact on changing behavior and forging a more deeply embedded corporate culture.
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References

Aikens, K. et al (2014). Mindfulness Goes to Work: Impact of an Online Workplace Intervention. http://journals.lww.com/joem/Fulltext/2014/07000/Mindfulness_Goes_to_Work__Impact_of_an_Online.7.aspx#

Aronson, E. (2008). The Social Animal. Tenth Edition. Worth Publishers.

Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. Penguin Books.

Muesse, M. (2014). Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation. The Great Courses, Course no. 1933.

Smith C. (2014). Lifehack Presents: The Mindfulness Meditation Mini Guide. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/lifehack-presents-the-mindfulness-meditation-mini-guide.html.

Sapolski, R. (2004). Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Third Edition. Henry Holt & Company.

Siegel, D. (2010). Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. Bantam Books.

Wexler, B. (2006). Brain and Culture: Neurobiology, Ideology and Social Change. A Bradford Book. The MIT Press.

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About the Author

Kevin Weitz

Kevin WeitzKevin is Principle Organizational Consultant with Intel Corporation working with their leadership team to optimize Intel’s culture to support its business strategy into new markets. For over 25 years Kevin has consulted with organizations like Chevron, Levi Strauss & Co, Wells Fargo Bank, Pacific Gas & Electric, British Columbia Hydro and Standard Bank of South Africa on large scale organizational transformational projects. These transformational initiatives are almost always extremely challenging for these organizations, especially for employees and other stakeholders. Kevin’s transformation work focuses on engaging leaders, employees and stakeholders on becoming more adaptable and resilient to constant and disruptive change. Kevin has a master’s degree in business administration and is currently pursuing his doctorate in organizational psychology at the Professional School of Psychology in Sacramento California.

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