The Culture Table – Request for input

The purpose of this post is to share something I am working on in the hopes of receiving some feedback from people like you.

Back in April I wrote a post entitled “Hold your breath, it’s going to go deep”  about the fact that  I was presenting a paper at the World Social Science Forum in October,  well the deadline is approaching and I am now  trying to write the thing.  The paper is to examine the cultural and governance implications of horizontally enabling tools like GCpedia.  As part of that I would like to have a culture table that compares the two cultures with a focus on the divergent points of potential conflict.

To provide a frame for analysis of the conflicting cultures I have elected to use Schein’s three levels of organizational culture. The draft comparison follows.

Table 1: Points of Conflict

Levels of Culture


Gov 1.0 (2007-2010)


Visible structures and processes

Observed Behaviour

Principle based guidelines

Loosely coupled networks

Communication based on need and interest (not hierarchy)

Collective learning

Constructive debate

Habitual knowledge sharing

Roles and Histories

Respect shown in disagreement

Prescriptive policy and web of rules

Departmental, Westminster system with legislated silos

Vertical communication patterns

Some cooperation amongst the willing


Established methods that have worked for decades

Respect shown by unquestioning agreement

Generic Job Descriptions

Espoused Beliefs and Values

Ideas, Goals, Values Aspirations



Open by default

Trust and respect

Wisdom of the crowd

Experiment and learn

We is stronger than me


Design to “Fail fast”

Values and Ethics Code:

  • Respect for democracy
  • Respect for people
  • Integrity
  • Stewardship
  • Excellence

Share when ready

Non Partisan truth to power

Stay off the front page of the news

Design for “fail safe”

Basic Underlying Assumptions

Unconscious beliefs and values that determine behaviour, perception thought and feeling

Responsible autonomy is best

Deference to the most respected

Shared sense of purpose

Free information is powerful

Mistakes are learning opportunities

Beg forgiveness

Hierarchy is best

Deference to authority of the position

Entitlement to my job and benefits

What the boss wants

Information Is power

Mistakes are career limiting moves (that end up in the news)

Ask permission

Working for Canadians
(it’s a calling not a job)

This is just a draft and it is based on my perceptions.  What do you think, am I being unfair to the Gov 1.0 or too Pollyanna with the Gov 2.0?  Maybe something important is missing?

You can comment here, or you can comment on this Google doc version that I will be using as my working copy.

Thank you in advance, I look forward to your input. 



About Thom Kearney

Change agent, teacher, arts, science, open government, father, mentor, storyteller, husband, dog owner,collaborator, not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Culture, Gov 2.0. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Culture Table – Request for input

  1. john verdon says:

    Hi Thom,

    great table. However, I think that the top espoused beliefs and values of gov 1.0 (democracy, people, integrity, stewartship, etc) are equally applicable to gov 2.0.

    Here you missed ‘need-to-know’ and emphasis on efficiency in gov 1.0 and ‘safe-fail’ (goes with fail-fast) and emphasis on learning (knowledge-flow) in gov 2.0


  2. Pingback: What is Public Service culture? | NuSum

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