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The achievability of an organisational culture change project

By Nick Jarrett-Kerr, Visiting Professor, Nottingham Law School

27 August 2014

This month, I consider two linked but quite difficult questions: Do law firms have any sort of organisational culture and, if so, how easy, possible or desirable is it to change it?

Culture is a notoriously difficult area for any professional service firm and is a tricky area to write about. For a start, culture is intangible and somewhat hard to define; there are apparently more than 150 definitions of it today, and many of these lean on a confusing array of frameworks, matrices, overlapping circles and pyramids, accompanied by vocabulary and phrases that at times appear either downright weird or largely irrelevant to law firms.

The majority agree, however, that the concept of culture refers to the taken-for-granted values, underlying assumptions, expectations, norm and behaviours that
are perceived to characterise the firm
and its members.

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