Like an iceberg, you cannot fully understand an organization's culture just by looking at its surface. Schein identified three levels of organizational culture.
Artifacts are the visible features of culture. They include things like dress, symbols, logos, architecture, and stories. To a newcomer, these visible features are easily noticed. The problem, however, with artifacts is that they don't tell the whole story and can be easily misinterpreted. So a student of organizations must go deeper.
Values are the beliefs the members of an organization have about where they want to go and how to get there. Values reveal a deeper level of understanding, but are still within the realm of conscious awareness. Often a discrepancy exists between an organizations espoused values and its enacted values, between what it says and what it does.To understand why that discrepancy exists, you have to go deeper.
Basic Assumptions are deeply held beliefs that guide behavior and tell members of an organization how to perceive and think about things. The reason they are called "assumptions" is that they have been developed over years of organizational experience and are, therefore, so deeply embedded that people don't even question them any longer. In fact, to view things differently can be seen as patently absurd. People are often unaware of their basic assumptions.
This is the deepest level of organizational understand. To lead change in an organization, leaders must become aware of their own assumptions and of the assumptions of others. They must create en environment where it is safe to bring those assumptions to the surface where they can be critically analyzed. It begins with the leader.
ASSUMPTIONS(sub-conscious)Beliefs so deeply held they areoften never questionedor consciously referencedVALUES(Invisible) Beliefs, values, attitudesARTIFACTS(visible)Stories, physical facilities,dress, metaphors,language, symbols
This presentation is based on the teachingsof Edgar H. Schein who popularized andmade practicable the concepts oforganizational culture in his book,Organizational Culture and Leadership. Ifully acknowledge that the ideas of thispresentation come from Mr. Schein andencourage you to read the book.Dr. Greg Waddellwww.LeadStrategic.com