Blackhall & Pearl

Culture is a Local Construct

Problems with Current Approaches to Culture

Culture also comes from the middle – not just from the top. It is also a local construct because conduct is sensitive to context. It is driven by social factors.

Boards, leadership teams and line managers are not necessarily the biggest influencers of conduct. The main influencers on a day-to-day basis are local colleagues who are highly liked and trusted by their peers – they are known as Culture Carriers.

This process is called “Social Learning” and it is how knowledge becomes habit and how behaviour becomes ingrained. Culture Carriers exert an immense level of positive or negative impact on conduct at the local business unit level. However, due to the fact they are not usually management, internal experts or designated champions, they are hidden and unknown for their influence.

Most culture assessment approaches rely on surveys, interviews and workshops. These do provide a level of insight, but they are static because they are an assessment at a point in time whilst culture is fluid and constantly changing. Surveys are also susceptible to gaming and the dreaded “survey fatigue”.

Most AI or “RegTech” tools focused on risk, governance and compliance use either key word searching (basic approach) or algorithmic analysis (advanced approach). They don’t incorporate the social dynamics and human interactions of the workplace. This means they ignore up to 66% of critical information.

  • Most information sharing within an organisation (up to 70%) is undertaken through informal channels and the Culture Carriers control the flow of that information and knowledge. These hidden Culture Carriers can be revealed through Social Network Analysis (SNA). Their influence is not based on their seniority or expertise, but on the fact they are liked and trusted by their peers (which emanates from their high Emotional Intelligence [EQ]).
  • Whilst surveys, interviews and workshops have static limitations, Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables the dynamic and up-to-date analysis of existing culture and conduct data and negates the need to rely solely on surveys. In advanced applications, this analysis is based on how email communication is used and how the email content is written (using the science of psycholinguistics – the psychology of language). It can also include other internal data such as electronic meeting logs and telephone logs.
  • In addition to internal data, AI can also analyse external publicly available data involving Expert Analysis (websites and blogs), Swarm Analysis (Wikipedia, Facebook and online forums) and Crowd Analysis (Twitter, etc.). The external data analysis is not necessarily about tracking the behaviour of your employees on social media, but on analysing what your customers and prospects really think about your culture and brand.
  • The combination of algorithmic analysis with social network structure and social network dynamics is far more effective than the sole application of complex Natural Language Processing (NLP) to large collections of text. This enhances the value of the data by 66% and provides for a far more accurate assessment and prediction of behaviour. It is also far cheaper to run as it significantly reduces the amount of computer processing required to conduct the analysis on a continual basis.
  • Identifying the hidden Culture Carriers through Social Network Analysis and formally engaging them to drive cultural transformation increases the speed of behavioural change by up to 8 times. The desired change spreads like a virus within the whole organisation through the Culture Carriers. Just as importantly, that change is permanent because the social fabric of the organisation is being shaped all the way down to the local business unit level.
  • Using AI analysis of conduct data to complement existing culture surveys minimises survey fatigue, automatically captures ongoing changes in the workplace and makes culture monitoring and reporting live and always current.
  • Combining AI with Social Network Analysis significantly enhances the accuracy of the AI tool and substantially reduces the cost of running these resource-hungry programs.
  • Culture/Conduct/Compliance related training and development programs can be targeted to specific areas of the organisation, thereby significantly reducing the cost of these programs whilst enhancing their efficacy.
  • Individuals have a personal and live benchmark for their conduct related performance.
  • The Board & C-Suite have a live dashboard on the cultural pulse of the organisation based on up-to-date and proactive quantitative indicators.