The title of this short article comes indigenous a poem by teacher Walter Scott written in 1808. The complete phrase is “Oh, what a tangled internet we weave when an initial we exercise to deceive”. It method that as soon as you act dishonestly you room initiating problems, and also a domino structure of complications, i beg your pardon will eventually run the end of control.

You are watching: What a tangled web we weave meaning

While the poem talks around acting dishonestly, in mine scenario ns don’t typical to suggest that the company is corrupt or lying every se. At least not on purpose. But organizations have a de-facto “culture” made up of plenty of elements.

Consider currently your organization’s strategy. Is it aligned with the actual strategic intent and values the the organization? Is it being enforced as expected? If not, what is hindering the company from important executing its strategy.

In their book Exploring Strategy, writer Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes present the cultural Web (see figure 1). In this web they determine six interrelated aspects that help define the “paradigm” or the design of the occupational environment.

The six aspects are:


Figure 1: The cultural Web

StoriesRituals and also RoutinesSymbolsOrganizational StructureControl SystemsPower Structures

The paradigm is in ~ the facility of these six elements, and it refers to the “taken-for-granted” assumptions and beliefs we have around an organization. According to Johnson and also Scholes, the cultural Web “shows the behavioral, physical, and also symbolic manifestations the a culture.” carry out we important know and also understand the 6 elements, or space we “deceiving” ourselves?

You may have actually heard the expression “Culture eats strategy because that breakfast.” This renowned quotation is often attributed to service management guru Peter Drucker. What go this in reality mean? In essence it method that culture can dominate strategy. In a fight between an organization strategy and also the organization culture, culture usually wins. In fact, society determines and also limits strategy. Therefore, if the society is no aligned v the strategy, the strategy is at risk.

Culture becomes progressively important throughout organizational change, digital transformation, or business growth. There have actually been countless times once engaging through a customer on strategy advancement or implementation, whereby the client has told me “this is the means we execute things approximately here” or “that is our culture.” What does that mean? Is the ok to expropriate the standing quo since that’s the method it has always been done?

We deserve to use the cultural Web to analyze the culture of an organization. The details ~ above each element are together follows:

The social Web – Stories

“Stories” describes what civilization talk about both inside and also outside the company. The stories have the right to be optimistic or negative. This stories stand for the actual or viewed idea about the organization. Because that instance, when applying for a brand-new position, nothing we want to recognize what world are saying about a agency or a department? internally someone might say “you don’t want to work below – they occupational you to exhaustion,” or “this is one amazing ar to work.” Let’s put this in regards to strategy implementation. What if the story is “they have actually tried an altering the strategy before and also it failure miserably.” If this is the story going around the company, what would certainly the success be because that the implementation of yet another brand-new strategy?

The cultural Web – Rituals and also Routines

“Rituals and also Routines” describes the daily activities and behaviors. Are the rituals acceptable? perform they reinforce or contradict the desired culture? because that instance, a firm is wanting to embrace the Scrum framework. Scrum consists of many “rituals” together as everyday stand-ups and also retrospectives. If the company does not do these rituals, they space most likely not embracing the true spirit of Scrum.

The cultural Web – Symbols

“Symbols” refers to the visual representation of the organization including logos, titles, dress codes, or office layout. Say you want to carry out a culture where everyone’s condition is valued equally. Is the what you’re yes, really saying if you have private workplaces for some (the proverbial edge office).

The cultural Web – organizational Structures

“Organizational Structures” mirrors the structure identified by the organization chart and the unwritten present of power and influence. Does your business structure promote high collaboration between everyone, or walk it encourage a more formal power structure with a couple of people in ~ the top and the remainder of the workers taking orders? Or probably the business structure disclosure a siloed vs. Collaborative working environment?

The social Web – manage Systems

“Control Systems” describes the ways the organization is controlled. This shows what is vital to the organization. Is it profits above everything rather (at the expense of top quality for instance)? walk the firm control employee performance making use of bonuses that have the right to promote interior competition rather than teamwork?

The cultural Web – power Structures

“Power Structures” highlights the real power within the organization. Walk one person, group, or department have the greatest amount of affect on how decisions space made? How about the strategic direction? I’ve knowledgeable this quite a little where the service side the the company makes the strategy decisions without involving, for instance, the the department. This also means the business makes decisions around IT solutions. The IT department is climate relegated come an “order taker” role and does not take part in the setup of strategy direction.

As v most revolution efforts, us can begin using the social Web. We deserve to use that to change the success of strategy, through assessing the existing state that culture, identify the desired state, and identifying the differences in between the two. When these distinctions have been identified, us can develop a plan for the changes needed to produce the culture we want.

Bottom Line

You deserve to use Johnson and Scholes’ social Web to analyze your existing culture. That can help you to ask an effective questions to determine what the future culture should be, and identify what requirements to stay, go or be included to. Through these answers, you rise your chances to accomplish your strategy goals.

Implementing social changes is no going to be easy. It involves reframing values, beliefs and behaviors. Johnson and Scholes’ cultural Web provides a good foundation for the difficult business of changing organizational culture. Making use of it, girlfriend can create a social environment that motivates success, and also supports the organization’s objectives and also values.

About the author

Mark Edmead is an IT transformation consultant and trainer. Over the previous 28 years, that has provided IT transformation and business development services the align information technology with service goals to drive bottom-line performance and growth.

See more: How Many Seats Does Ford Edge Have 3Rd Row Seating ? 2021 Ford Edge Interior, Cargo Space & Seating

Mark’s focus is on readjust management, procedure improvement, companies architecture, modern technology road mapping, strategy IT planning, IT company analysis, IT investment portfolio management and also IT governance. Note is TOGAF 9.2 certified and also he is a skinny IT accredited trainer, a DevOps trainer, a certified COBIT 5 assessor, a certified Baldrige interior assessor, a company Relationship Management professional (BRMP) accredited trainer, accredited Certified information Systems Auditor (CISA) trainer, accredited COBIT 2019 foundation and Design/Implementation trainer, and also a member the the Malcolm Baldrige nationwide Quality Award board of Examiners.