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Friday 5 April 2013

The dark side alliance

The dark side alliance (see a previous post for descriptions of the above cultures) 

To stretch the wild animal analogy used in my previous post and venture into the realms of the fantastical, a partnership that includes only political and pragmatic organisations can be likened to the coming together of (political) wolves and (pragmatic) chameleons. The chameleons, however, are magic ones that over time will not only change their colouring to fit in and survive within their environment but also seemingly change wholesale into wolves.

Pragmatic cultures are by their nature outward looking, analysing their environment and then identifying how they need to adapt to it in order to survive and thrive. Here lies the danger in their pairing with political cultures. If the interests of a pragmatic organisation become intimately entangled with and dependent upon those of its politically focused partner it can eventually adapt completely to its partner’s perceptions and ways of working. Over time it will adopt a political mindset and focus increasingly upon developing and exploiting the internal relationships and dynamics of the partnership and gaining additional external allies that will support and strengthen both its own and the partnership's position. Any differences between the initially pragmatic organisation and its political partner will eventually become very hard to discern. 

Reflect upon the way banks and other large businesses are now so intimately connected with national governments; consider the opaque lobbying that goes on between them. It is not surprising that it is becoming increasingly hard to discern where boundaries of interest and responsibility lie.

Also, ask yourself whether the recent proposed raid on small depositors’ savings in Cyprus would have happened if social and community organisations (passionate cultures) and independent advisers (expert cultures) had been more involved in the consultation and decision making process? Only governments, financial institutions and banks were involved and they made a decision that suited their purposes but not those of the majority of people in Cyprus. The fact that these institutions seemed surprised by the strength of public reaction in Cyprus is a sure sign they are gradually becoming an unhealthy dark side alliance that is beginning to lose its external perspective and its ability to understand or appreciate the needs of the world beyond its boundaries.

Once the above transformation is complete the political/pragmatic partnership will have become a mature ‘dark side alliance’. The vast majority of people involved in it will be inwardly focused, seeking to manipulate the projects they are involved in to improve their position and influence within both the alliance and their own organisations. A tightly knit and probably secretive cabal will have formed with its own unique laws and logic based upon the exploitation of internal relationships and external allies. During its transformation it may even have appropriated a darkly exotic or even slightly sinister name, such as 'Troika'.
A dark side alliance requires an urgent transfusion of new thinking from the other cultures of the Cultural Triangle, especially the passionate and the expert, and it will probably have to be administered by force, as those within the partnership turned cabal will not welcome any threats to their carefully established positions.

Click here to read the next post in the series. 

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