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The Culture Cycle: How to Shape the Unseen Force that Transforms Performance by James Heskett

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9. Culture and Adversity

Do organizations with effective cultures deal more successfully with adversity? Does it matter what kind of adversity we’re talking about—a single event affecting one competitor or a difficult environment affecting all? Do they perform better than competitors during times of stress? Do they come out of such times in a stronger competitive position? As with all complex phenomena, anecdotal evidence suggests that “it all depends.” The question is: On what does it depend? Unfortunately, we have had an opportunity to explore these questions too many times in recent years.

Consider three organizations with cultures that have served them well over the years: Intuit, the maker of personal financial software; Southwest Airlines; ...

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