Thursday, June 25, 2015

Old Boys Club Culture in Organizations

Many small organizations stay small forever and eventually disappear. There are several reasons that may arise due to factors external to the organization however the stronger reasons have to do more with internal factors.

One big reason for the above to happen is the prevalence of old boys club culture in such organizations.  Such a culture is characterized by the following:
  • There is a king bee who is the owner, founder and the ultimate boss
  • The king bee is surrounded by a close-knit group of stooges who have one answer for anything and everything from the king "yes sir, what sir"
  • Stooges due to their proximity to the king act like kinglets (similar to piglets when one talks of a pig, interestingly these two situations may not be that different, really speaking)
  • The stooges have big egos and humiliate, demean and put down others. For them it is as if others don't exist and don't matter.
  • When a cake is being cut, the king will get the biggest piece, the stooges will also have big pieces and others are simply told to get lost. The sub-stooges (stooges of stooges) ensure they get good pieces of the leftovers of the cake.
  • Professionalism and positive element in such a culture is pretty low and to sustain the dominance of the old boys club the stooges are put on the heads of professionals hired from outside by creating strange reporting structures. 
  • When any senior professional hired from outside brings up valid issues with one of the stooges the other stooges jump on to the poor professional's head and show him down.
  • The stooge the senior professional is forced to report into defends the other stooges and advises "improving relations with the other stooges" conveniently ignoring the non-professional and negative behaviors and acts of the other stooges.
  • Since the king and the stooges will never get fired in such an organization they maintain a hands-off approach to management and create funny rituals to perpetuate it.
Any senior professional hired from outside in such organizations should move on without wasting any time. She would realize in no time how difficult it is to survive with nuts around.

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