Technological Evolution and the Impact on Business Culture
All technologies descend from earlier ones, and those that perform better and more efficiently than others are “selected” for future growth and development. Technology “creates itself” in an evolutionary process that has taken us from the abacus to the Clouds. This evolutionary process provides the impetus for large-scale changes in society and corporate culture.
Cultural variations among businesses can be attributed to the pace at which they keep with technological evolution in the world around them. These variations are largely influenced by the web of connections between leaders in the organization. These “human” factors ultimately determine the Innovation Quotient (IQ) of the business culture.
A simple question to leaders will provide significant insight into an organizations IQ; “How important is technological innovation to the success of your organization?” Because the cultures of workers are developed through the learning processes of enculturation and socialization, the “mind of the organization” (its leadership) sets the social values and attitudes towards technological innovation. Hence, the answer will reveal much about the collective IQ of the organization.
If the pervasive attitude is one of “not invented here” or “resistant to change”, the IQ will be expressed through the organizations lack of technological innovation. Conversely, if the pervasive attitude is one that embraces technological change for the good of “society” with the goal of optimization and efficiency, the IQ will be expressed through a high rate of technological innovation. (Note that the term “society” in this context refers to the organization and its stakeholders).
A business culture with a high IQ is more likely to rapidly embrace new technologies. Organizations such as this are oftentimes referred to as “early adopters.” However, all businesses do not necessarily pass through the same evolutionary stages in the same order. Some business cultures are slow to adopt new technology and tend to lag behind the natural technology cycle of evolution while others will skip entire stages, such as going from mainframe to cloud in one generation.
The Mind of the Organization = Organizational IQ; Leaders are responsible for establishing the social mores that inform the culture of technological innovation of the organization.