Article written by our contributor: Cristina Elena Penciuc.
Cristina Elena Penciuc, MSc and MBA
Innovative Cultures and Societies
Diversity and Inclusion
Everyone is brilliant at something. It takes the right soil to make it blossom. This soil is the mindset, both personal and of the environment. It is the birthplace of beliefs and behaviours. For people and organizations thriving on innovation, releasing that inner genius is the deal breaker. So, what makes this soil produce to its potential?
It is the result of the multiplier effect. A multiplier is that someone who would create a safe and fertile space for superior thinking where work can flourish. Shortly, they liberate the inner genius of people. They create space for initiative to happen, demand people’s best contribution and enable rapid learning cycles. 
Multipliers don’t tell people what to think; they tell them what to think about.
Multipliers create multiplying cultures and are essential in inspiring collective intelligence and capability at scale. Their organizations build resilience in turbulent times. The beauty of being a multiplier is that when you bring up the best in others, you bring the best in yourself. Cultures which (accidently or not) diminish this, essentially “violate the truth about how people work and thrive.” 
Just like the DNA, the mindset can perpetuate an unconscious bias. The meeting between an individual and the organization is the meeting between two cultures and the choice of a partnership. One’s culture is considered here as one entity, that may (or not) be the synergetic result of multiculturalism. The individual should reflect on several ethical and personal choices.
How much am I willing to compromise my identity in order to reap the rewards of my company? What are you prepared to do in the name of the organization?
How you define the term stakeholder? What value do you place on justice (personal perception of what is fair)? How much are you willing to fit in (conformity to the organizational norms and values)? 
Different by Design
In her book, Let Your Workers Be Rebel (2018), Francesca Gino — a Harvard Business School professor — argues the value of employees’ engagement at work and relates it to the organization’s permission to allow the manifestation of employees’ authentic selves at work. The researcher argues that the employees will only do that if the behaviour is role-modelled and she argues the risk of employees’ becoming homogenous in thinking and acting in the same way, given the safe reward of complacency and social acceptance. 
“Freedom is not the opposite of accountability, as I’d previously considered. Instead, it is a path toward it.”
Netflix co-founder and CEO
Erin Meyer, Professor at INSEAD Business School, takes this level of freedom further, in her book No Rules Rules, written together with Netflix co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings. The argument made is that “giving employees more freedom led them to take more ownership and behave more responsibly”. 
This is enabled by intentionally building a culture of freedom and responsibility, nurtured by candour and transparency, in a high talent density organization, where people are highly motivated and high-performing: “we are a team, not a family”.  As the high performers want to naturally succeed, they would focus all their resources, regardless of bonus packages or control measures. An environment that encourages dissent, testing while preventing pleasing behaviours is a healthy soil for innovation.
“All reality is personal and infused with affect.”
All reality is personal and infused with affect. The cognitive scientist, George Lakoff observes that our behaviour is framed by “mental structures that shape the way we see the world”. But mental frames also predispose us to reflexively accept as fact something that agrees with what we believe”.
Belief follows need. “We need to preserve our mental frames or worldviews because we need to maintain mental equilibrium. Thus, we select and organize incoming information to preserve the integrity of those worldviews. This is a manifestation of the confirmation bias. This is why protection of our belief system often overrides a pragmatic need to change what we believe.” 
Human by Design
Building on the aspect of conformism that naturally develops in communities and it is perpetuated in family type of cultures, another phenomenon that happens within organizations and is an effect of human behaviour is described in psychology by the psycho-social theory of norms: this claims that “social norms are not simply coordinating devices, but also motivating devices, inducing individuals to sacrifice on behalf of compliance with norms because they are intrinsically valued.
This introduces the human psychological characteristic of reward from conformity to social norms: the rewards consist in the acceptance by the members of the social system. This theory links the social norms with the individual behaviour, and it confirms the power and pressure released by the organizational culture, through its expected norms and behaviours.
People have a genetic predisposition to treat conformism to legitimate social norms as personally valuable and are therefore preferred.
In sociology, the psycho-social theory of norms is referred as the role theory. Its way of explaining human behaviour of conformity is that “upon encountering a social interaction, individuals first infer from social cues the nature of the interaction and deduce the social norms appropriate to this interaction. Individuals then use this information to constitute this information to form their beliefs concerning the predictable behaviours of others, the payoffs of the alternative behaviours (non-conformism) and the behaviour appropriate to role-performance. “People have a genetic predisposition to treat conformism to legitimate social norms as personally valuable and are therefore preferred.” 
“According to the neoclassical model, rational actors (people) are self-regarding unless expressing their social preferences allows them to build reputations for cooperation in the future.” The behavioural game-theory attributes this to the cognitive deficit: “life in modern society would be intolerable but for the kindness of strangers, and most of us go to great lengths in public to avoid incurring even a disapproving glance.”
Life in modern society would be intolerable but for the kindness of strangers, and most of us go to great lengths in public to avoid incurring even a disapproving glance.
Another two arguments to support the neoclassical model refer to: 1st) that people are often inclined to do what they do because they believe is the right things to do (they being their own personal values when reputational considerations are absent, so they are inclined to behave in socially acceptable and morally approved ways, even if there is no material gain by doing so; 2nd) strong reciprocity , according to which individuals are predisposed to cooperate in a social dilemma even at a net personal cost; a related example to this is respect for character virtues such as honesty and trustworthiness to which individuals conform not out of consideration for others but because virtuous behaviour is its own reward.
Inclusion and Diversity
So how does this impact inclusion and diversity, the bedrock of collaboration and innovation? As Peter Senge would say, “People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” It is therefore important to feel safe and confident that your identity – your wholeness- will not be defined by what is different or new to you. In that state, do you feel you can create the space to accommodate a new view, perhaps more views? Then, can you think of that space as one of freedom of choice, where no label nor judgement is necessary? How does that make you feel?
  Wiseman, Liz, Multipliers (2017:77–94; 284). Harper Collins Publishers.
 Laloux, Frederic, Reinventing Organizations (2014: 102–103). Laoux.
 Gino, Francesca. Rebel Talent. Why it pays to break rules at work and in life. HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.
 Gino, Francesca (2016). Rebel Talent. If you want engaged employees, let them break rules and be themselves. We’ll show you how. Harvard Business Review, Oct.-Nov. 2016.
  Meyer, Erin and Hastings, Reed (2020). No Rules Rules. Netflix and The Culture of Reinvention. WH Allen, 2020. Copyright Netflix.
 Sisodia et al., Firms of Endearment. How World-Class Companies Profit From Passion And Purpose (2014:40). Pearson Education.
  Gintis, Herbert (2010). Towards a renaissance of the economic theory. Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization 73:34–40. Elsevier.
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