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Cowboys and Settlers: Is Your Organizations Big Enough for Both of Them?

Summary: Cowboys and settlers have their place in today's corporate culture. Like cowboys of old, modern entrepreneurs share grit, determination, a can-do attitude, and a willingness to live on the edge of comfort and certainty. An organization established by a cowboy is likely to reflect the founder's attitudes in its corporate culture. While the cowboy's drive has value, it may be dysfunctional in a more complex organizational setting and is best tempered with the civilizing influence of the settlers. Expectations, rewards, and infrastructure systems that promote collaboration are useful to balance the rugged individualist approach. The tension between the cowboys and the settlers may provide the energy for successful organizational change.

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  • Topics: Change Management
  • Keywords: Change,Stability,Entrepreneurship,Corporate culture
  • Author: Hatch, Eric K.
  • Journal: Journal for Quality and Participation