TALK: Organisational Cultural Advantage in the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry

For a capital-intensive, high uncertainty and organisationally complex industry such as Upstream Oil & Gas, the imperative of seeking substantive and continuous improvement in organisational effectiveness is strong. One such route is by deploying Cultural Advantage, the basis of which and its importance to the industry we will discuss in this paper.

The literature on the culture of organisations is extensive and consists of myriad models attempting to describe their fabric and explain the collective behaviour which drives them. For the purposes of this paper, we will try to simplify the cultural complexity of every organisation by identifying three main constituent or sub-cultures: NETWORK, NATIONAL and TECHNICAL.  All of them influence the organisation and its behaviour and have the potential to pull an organisation away from its strategic goals. However, if they are sufficiently embraced, they may provide a powerful engine for success.

To counter the costly mistakes that may result from poor management of these cultural influences, we outline a number of inter-linked and, in several cases, novel techniques that may be employed at both the organisational scale and within these three sub-cultural domains.

These techniques, we believe, together form a new methodology for Management to address these cross-cultural issues which permeate across our business. Such an approach aims to accentuate the positive potential of the cultural spectrum that exists within every organisation and points the way to illuminating cross-cultural benchmarks that could be applied to any Upstream Oil & Gas entity and provide an engine for greater organisational effectiveness and performance.

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