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Vijay Govindarajan, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and General Electric’s soon-to-be chief innovation consultant and first “professor in residence,” has an interesting new paper out called “The Emotionally Bonded Organization: Why Emotional Infrastructure Matters and How Leaders Can Build On it.”
I like the concept of “emotional infrastructure.” Squishy, maybe, and “emotionally bonded” at first blush doesn’t sound like something I want to be to my company. But it’s less over-used and less of a cliche than “culture” or “engagement,” and that’s why I like it. Govindarajan, with co-author Subroto Bagchi, a co-founder of Indian IT services company MindTree, define “emotional infrastructure” as “what engenders a healthy emotional climate within an organization; it consists of many emotional assets that lead to aggregated positive feelings employees have for the organization and for each other.”
But what really makes the word a nice metaphor for a positive, healthy culture is the word “infrastructure.” Organizations that are “emotionally bonded,” as Govindarajan calls them, have a better chance of withstanding the blows of a bad quarter, a disruptive competitor, or a product failure. The emotional infrastructure (just as physical or technological structures would) helps to keep them together.
After the jump, the 8 factors the authors say will help build emotional infrastructure:
>>their leaders are accessible in times of need
>>their leaders are transparent, trustworthy, and communicative
>>they believe the institution is truly one of a kind
>>their leaders demonstrate that they genuinely care about their people in times of adversity
>>they understand how to let rich and supportive social networks grow within the institution
>>they feel they have a real opportunity to attain the unattainable as they contribute to a higher mission
>>they think they are special just for being a part of the institution
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