The matrix above is a hybrid that follows Kennon, Howdon and Hartley’s (2009) stakeholder analysis matrix, but is adapted with a coding overlay modified from Mendelow‘s (1981) stakeholder mapping model, which was useful to crystallise my own thinking.
The four quadrant codes represent stakeholder types and the strategy these types need are as follows:
Also referred to in various matrices as ‘meeting needs’ or ‘keep satisfied’, these stakeholders will likely have barriers to engagement of some kind.
A tongue in cheek but notably alliterative term to capture the need to maintain good relationships and high engagement levels with these stakeholders.
Lower priority but maintaining communication and monitoring engagement is still useful for these stakeholders.
These stakeholders need an intentional and ongoing engagement strategy and are the primary target zone for initial implementation.
I should also note that while ‘detractor’ – or as Rogers (2010, p 414) refers to them, “anti-innovation champions” – may not be a typical stakeholder term, the climate of both UNE and academia in general is such that resistance is frequently encountered by new initiatives and innovative approaches (eg Battin, 2018) and should be taken into account. I have made a distinction between those who may be detractors on the basis of expertise and those who may be detractors on the basis of power and authority.
The decisions surrounding the Cultural Design Framework (CDF) are likely to span the three different decision types over the life of the project. The nature of universities as complex systems and a duality of individual autonomy and organisational bureaucracy means that no one decision process will exist. The degree of autonomy afforded to individuals means that there is a high degree of scope for optional innovation-decisions. Disciplines and directorates often exist with identity-based factionalised behaviour and this may lend itself to collective decisions at a local level. Finally, the literature’s assertion that cultural development is essential to strategic success and my own positioning of the framework as a key facilitator of the UNE2025 vision means that an authority decision is logical to pursue as an ideal final outcome. It is possible that all three of these innovation-decision types could exist simultaneously. An example of this, and potentially a reasonable analogue for the decision-making around the CDF, is UNE’s Core Capability Framework. This is theoretically an authority decision to implement the framework at an institutional level, but it tends to be treated as an individual optional decision (many staff would likely not be aware of the framework or be able to articulate its contents), and localised areas can make collective decisions to adopt the framework (eg a directorate choosing to focus on core capability development). This example also shows that a hybrid decision-making model does not preclude success and that conceptual innovations such as frameworks can be effective when relying primarily on individual optional decisions in an organisational context.
Initially, engagement with the framework will be wholly optional – individuals will choose for themselves whether or not they want to implement the framework in their own setting. This is likely to remain the primary decision-making process throughout the life of the framework.
It is possible that a localised group – a team, school, directorate or other area – will make a collective decision to adopt the framework. Collective innovation-decisions will also apply to the ‘cultural islands’ participating in the development and prototyping of the framework, which may represent informal groupings rather than a formalised structure.
An ideal outcome of the framework would be an authority decision by senior executive to mandate the use of the framework across the university, with the intention that it eventually becomes routinised (Rogers, 2010) and intentional culture-making is hardwired into how we do things at UNE. However, the likelihood of this outcome cannot be predicted at this stage of the project, and depends on the priorities of the incoming VC and the success of my stakeholder engagement strategy. An authority decision is not an essential condition for success, however, and the nature of universities (high individual autonomy and low penalties for non-compliance) is such that an authority decision will still likely be perceived as individual optional decisions.
variable 1/5 – 5/5
This is a difficult attribute to quantify, because the perception of what the relative advantage is in relation to depends on a number of factors. On one hand, there has been no prior institutional strategic effort to intentionally craft organisational culture, and in this light the relative advantage is theoretically 5/5 if we take the view that the existence of something is superior to the existence of nothing (which is supported by the literature). However, it can’t be universally said that all stakeholders will perceive this to be the case. Rogers states that “…an individual will behave towards a new idea in a similar manner to the way the individual behaves towards other ideas that are perceived as similar to the new idea.” (2010, p 251). If stakeholders perceive the CDF to be similar to past initiatives at UNE, such as the Core Capability Framework, the relative advantage may well be perceived as extremely low. Careful communication is essential in this regard, and in particular attention to what Rogers (2010) refers to as ‘word symbols’ – it may be worth investigating alternative naming strategies to deliberately untangle the CDF from the institutional baggage of ‘framework’ and other conceptual innovations and change strategies.
variable 1/5 – 5/5
Another attribute that depends significantly on individual factors. Once again, the literature supports strong compatibility with organisational needs and strategic values, so at an institutional level the compatibility is high. However, the individuals that make up the organisation will have wildly varying perceptions of compatibility. Two groups – those who have strong negative experiences of organisational culture, and those who are driven by interpersonal connection and collective good – will likely perceive high levels of compatibility with their needs and experiences. Additionally, there may already be people engaging in organic and informal cultural development work, and these people may also perceive high compatibility with what they are already doing – although as Bessant and Tidd note, “…compatibility with existing practices may be less important than the fit with existing values and norms.” (2007, p. 347). In contrast, though, those people who place little value on interpersonal interaction, who are driven by individual success or intellectual achievement, who are critical of strategic initiatives or who do not believe organisational culture is a key factor in strategic success will likely perceive a very low level of compatibility. An explicit articulation of values and norms compatibility should thus be incorporated into the communication and engagement strategy, which can be shaped by the inquiry work.
I’ve given this attribute a moderate ranking on the scale, as the goal of the framework is specifically to implement simple and practical cultural design strategies. The transdisciplinary nature of the overall research project may lead to an increased perception of complexity, so careful thought should be given to how much and which aspects of the overall research should be communicated to stakeholders. Additionally, stakeholders may have different perceptions of the concept of ‘design’ – many people perceive this as a fixed trait of creativity and have no experience with learned design processes, which may also lead to increased perception of complexity. There is also the potential for reduced perception of complexity through a lens of ‘soft skills’, when ‘soft’ is taken to mean ‘easy’ and other similar interpretations. A similar phenomenon could be invoked by the perception of qualitative research as less rigorous than quantitative. Overall, however, the perception of complexity of the CDF should only be moderate.
The highest-ranking attribute of the 5 – the proposed framework design is such that it can be trialed by a single individual in a very short period of time. For instance, an individual could choose to apply the design process to a single artefact, language element or ritual that they engage in, implement this design in their own work immediately following design, and then observe the effects of this without any intentional input from other individuals. This can be done at any time by any staff member, as tacitly or explicitly as an individual wishes. The ability to trial scales up to any number of people and any length or breadth of design process, with few, if any, negative consequences to trialing.
The lowest-ranking attribute of the 5. Given the conceptual nature of the CDF, any effects will be obscure, localised and likely not felt until some time in the future. While observable changes may occur in the short term in the visible cultural dimensions, the long-term changes in the invisible layer of culture (Schein, 2004) will, as the name suggests, be invisible and as such any benefits of adoption are not observable. Beneficial change over time may only be perceived in vague emotive and experiential terms and is not easily quantified.
Battin, T. (2018). Of UNE managerialism and ‘blank slate’ bargaining. National Tertiary Education Union. https://www.nteu.org.au/library/download/id/8963
Bessant, J., & Tidd, J. (2007). Innovation and entrepreneurship. John Wiley & Sons.
Kennon, N., Howden, P., & Hartley, M. (2009). Who really matters?: A stakeholder analysis tool. Extension Farming Systems Journal, 5(2), 9.
Mendelow, A. L. (1981). Environmental Scanning-The Impact of the Stakeholder Concept. In ICIS (p. 20).
Rogers, E. M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations. Simon and Schuster.
Schein, E. H. (2004). Organizational culture and leadership (3rd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.