Client: A consulting company applying Six Sigma and other quality process methodologies to the field of information systems.

Brief description: Intervention in a complex organization where internal collaboration had given way to toxic competition.


Sector: IT

Context: Changing workplace dynamics caused by a change in organizational structure.

Challenge: The Client had changed from a hierarchical to a matrix organization, where all four new verticals were responsible for selling. In the process, the horizontal and vertical units, instead of collaborating, had become competitive (not uncommon). The dynamics between the units were having a negative impact on employee utilization, communication, morale, and retention.

As the verticals were geographically based - in Europe, Switzerland, Australia, the US, and the Middle East - much of their staff was "onshore," at the location of their target geographies. Practice personnel were based "offshore" in India, except when put on projects. The geographic divisions led to tensions between groups, exacerbated by poor channels of communication beyond India. The worst impacted units also failed to meet revenue targets. The Client had mapped out ambitious revenue targets for the next several years and, to reach them, needed to build a stronger culture of collaboration.

Action and Solutions: Using a combination of quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews, Meta‑Culture conducted a comprehensive organizational communication and relationship audit to study the existing organizational structure and identify the pain points within the organization.

Results: Meta‑Culture consultants presented the Client with an audit report, in which the key challenges were generally identified as a lack of collaboration within and across units, a lack of incentives for teamwork, and extreme and damaging internal competition for resources and rewards. Meta‑Culture consultants identified a range of solutions, including changes in the organizational reward system to enable greater collaboration between and within teams and verticals.


Everyone loves metrics: managers, clients, funding agencies. Nothing destroys an opposing argument as well as masterfully-deployed empirical data. But metrics haven't been so helpful when it comes to measuring subtle shifts in human relationships. Metrics can't calculate compassion, empathy, wit or love. When a relationship is working, everything else works. When it isn't, you know it.