Today I talked to David G. White, Jr. about his book Disrupting Corporate Culture: How Cognitive Science Alters Accepted Beliefs About Culture and Culture Change and Its Impact on Leaders and Change Agents (Routledge, 2021).
David G. White, Jr. is a cognitive anthropologist working with organizations on culture, change, and leadership issues. He’s the co-founder of Ontos Global, a boutique consulting firm. David previously held leadership roles at Microsoft, Mercer, and IBM, and he is also a professional jazz musician with 7 CDs to his credit.
This episode challenges myths that hinder true culture change at companies, such as "Culture Starts at the Top" and "Culture Is What We Say We Care About." Instead, David argues that new neural pathways form in the brain based on tangible, physical practices that change. So leaders spouting off about “shared values” (talking the talk) won’t be nearly as productive as investigating a company’s dominant logic and how that may serve or hinter the company’s prospects. In other words, David argues that culture is shaped by tasks and the basic operating assumptions that underlie them.