Where does Data Culture fit into an Organisation?

Data Culture fits into Organisational Culture via its Decision Culture.

Every organisation has a Decision Culture which influences how decisions are made. This will be determined by stated values, beliefs and behaviours – statements that appear in an organisational strategy, governance documents and written policies and processes. The Decision Culture will also be influenced by unstated norms of behaviour – people’s real incentives and how decisions actually get made everyday.

Decision Culture is made up of: decision awareness (the awareness that you are making a decision and have choices about how decisions are made), accountability (somebody somewhere owns every decision and its follow-through), and the mix of emotionality and rationality that goes into the decision-making process (we all use our heads, our hearts and our guts when making decisions).

Working on Data Culture is the work of seeking to improve the use of data for the rational part of the decision-making mix. It involves sparking curiosity, building data literacy (knowledge about data, analysis and insight) and confidence. Together, curiosity, literacy and confidence enable evaluation thinking (how good is this?) and critical thinking (is that right?). More evaluation and critical thinking sharpens the rational part of the decision-making process.

Those working on Data Culture can easily get pulled into other aspects of Decision Culture and the overall Organisational Culture because elements of culture overlap and dynamically influences each other constantly. Whilst working on Data Culture can easily balloon into broader Organisational Culture change, it can help you retain your sanity if you remember where it fits into the bigger picture.

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