Thursday, 11 April 2013

Culture Transplant?

"There have been a lot of stories written over the last few days analyzing the departure of former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson from the top post at J.C. Penney Co... The New York Times cast Johnson’s stint as a clash between fast Silicon Valley ways and the stodgy culture of a 111-year-old retailer."

In researching high performers in different industries for the past 12 years, we have always found that high performance is not solely down to the person, it comes from a combination of a person within a culture. Put a person in Apple and they get results because their attitudes and behaviours are aligned with the culture. Put them in JC Penney and you see the opposite; the culture becomes a barrier.

I agree with someone who commented on the above story; that the problem is related to attribution error. When people perform badly, it was the culture's fault. When they perform well, it was all down to their personal excellence and, surely, they can apply that anywhere, right?

Wrong.



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