vii) Impact Of Outsiders

Understand the impact of outsiders, eg role of consultants, in changing organisations, needs to be understood. Based on his experience, Edgar Schein (2004) describes the 3 main lessons he learned as an outsider coming into an organisation to facilitate change:

"...outsider should never lecture insiders on their own culture because one cannot know where the sensitivities lie and one cannot overcome one's own subtle biases......second, I learned that my analysis plunged the group members into an internal debate that they were not prepared for and that had multiple, unanticipated consequences. The people who objected......revealed some of their own ways they might not have intended, and comments made later suggested that some people were shocked because so-and-so had revealed himself to be a such-in-such kind of person......many people in the group were made very uncomfortable......because they had either forgotten this aspect or had illusions about it. My comments stripped away these illusions. feedback to an individual is different from giving feedback to the group because the group very likely is not homogenous in its reactions..."

Edgar Schein, 2004

Furthermore, he claims that the reactions of individuals in the organisation varied from complete agreement to disagreement; creating enough of a threat to unleash defensiveness and loss of his credibility by some of the group

The outsider needs to establish a healthy relationship with the organisation he/she is working with so that members of the organisation feel that they have something to gain by revealing what they really think and feel. Remember: cultures are continually evolving.

On the other hand,

"...when we see the essence, culture - the paradigms by which people operate - we are struck by how powerful our insight into realisation now is, and we see instantly why things work the way they do, why certain proposals are never bought, why change is so difficult, why certain people leave, and so on..."

Edgar Schein, 2004


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