In 1988, he developed a typology of organizational cultures (Westrum 2014): Pathological (power-oriented) organizations are characterized by large amounts of fear and threat. People often hoard information or withhold it for political reasons, or distort it to make themselves look better. Bureaucratic (rule-oriented) organizations protect departments. Those in the department want to maintain their “turf,” insist on their own rules, and generally do things by the book—their book. Generative (performance-oriented) organizations focus on the mission. How do we accomplish our goal? Everything is subordinated to good performance, to doing what we are supposed to do. Westrum’s further insight was that the organizational culture predicts the way information flows through an organization. Westrum provides three characteristics of good information: It provides answers to the questions that the receiver needs answered. It is timely. It is presented in such a way that it can be effectively used by the receiver.
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