Book Notes: Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: Tight and Loose Cultures and the Secret Signals That Direct Our Lives by Michele Gelfand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book presents the view that there is a spectrum between tight and loose cultures – the level of tightness is driven by the history – places which have been at war or regularly experience natural disaster tend to be tighter. Those which are more stable tend to be looser. Neither tight nor loose is “right” but this can explain some of the challenges different groups have working together. It is also possible to move a culture tighter or looser e.g. by increasing rhetoric about threats to tighten a culture with fear, or to have messier/chaotic environments which result in looser cultures.

TightLoose
AdvantagesConscientious
Social Order
Self-Control
Tolerant
Creative
Adaptable
DisadvantagesClosed-Minded
Conventional
Cultural Inertia
Social Disorder
Uncoordinated
Impulsive
Tight Organisational CulturesLoose Organisational Cultures
PeopleConscientious
Careful
Open
Risk-Taker
PracticesStandardised
Efficient
Formal
Strong socialisation
Flexible
Experimental
Informal
Weak socialisation
LeadershipAutonomous
Confident
Collaborative
Visionary

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