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Two Social Infrastructure Attributes: Systemic Knowledge and Cultural Ambidexterity

6 October, 2015 - 12:25

Organizations also require adequate social infrastructure in order to be change capable. Social infrastructure is the means by which organizational members come to understand and deal with the life of the overall organizational system. One key attribute that is part of the social infrastructure is the level of systemic knowledge within the organization. Systemic knowledge is the degree to which members of an organization understand and are focused on the overall organizational system. Too often, members focus on just their careers or just their organizational subunit. When a critical mass of the organization becomes focused on the overall life of the organizational system, the organization becomes much more open to the environment. This openness translates into more agility and flexibility within the system.  1

The fourth and final organizational attribute that is fundamental to change capability

is cultural ambidexterity. Many observers note the powerful role that organizational culture plays in facilitating or thwarting organizational change. What is often missed, however, is that change-capable organizations balance accountability with innovation. If the organization overemphasizes accountability, innovation suffers. And if innovation is the sole focus, accountability is ignored. Change-capable organizations optimize on both of these seemingly contradictory cultural virtues. 2Hence, the organization needs to become ambidextrous culturally, using the right-handed accountability norms in balance with the left-handed innovation norms. 3