From Cultural Attributes to Personas and Stories

The topic of defining the cultural attributes of a company culture came up in a recent Anthropology of Product Management (#aopm) discussion on Twitter. There was also an earlier discussion about this on Linked In AOPM discussion group. The ideas that Art Petty and Pattie Vargas contributed to this discussion served as a starting point for my post. Thanks Art and Pattie for jump starting my thinking on this.

Cultural attributes are characteristics that define a culture. The idea is that you can use cultural attributes to help solve cultural problems. These problems, which are really people problems, can be anything from understanding a audience for a product to understanding how different groups interact in an organization. Many product and organizational problems are actually cultural problems, although they are often disguised as tool or business practice problems. Continue reading “From Cultural Attributes to Personas and Stories”


The Role of Taboos in Understanding Culture

The topic of taboos in the workplace came up during the Thursday, April 9th #aopm discussion, more specifically, how to prepare new product managers  for dealing with taboos in the workplace.   Here are my thoughts:

Typically,  taboos are the result of  a value or belief system, and they are usually a sign of a broader cultural issue that goes beyond the taboos themselves.  If you understand the value or belief system that is behind the taboo, you  understand why the taboo exists and, more importantly, the broader cultural context.  Continue reading “The Role of Taboos in Understanding Culture”