Beyond Capability – Flow and Culture

The Concept of Flow

Hungarian professor of Psychology Mihali Csikszentmihalyi initially described the notion of flow in his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, as a ‘state of complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation, a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.’ There have been numerous studies in diverse industries that have demonstrated the power of keeping as many members of the workforce in flow with their work, and this has been unpacked in previous blogs.

Flow and Culture

Usually, when people in the BIOSS global network refer to the concept of flow, we focus on it as being the match between capability and the demands of a role. However, I believe that there is a second area that also contributes to an individual’s experience of flow, and that is the fit between the candidate’s behavioural profile and the organisational culture of the company in which they are employed. This is because organisational culture is very pervasive and often dictate the unwritten rules of “how things are done around here”.

The implications of my position above is that it is not sufficient to only look at matching an individual to the decision making requirements of the roles they are being asked to fill, but that it is equally important to ensure that they ‘fit’ into the culture and environment in which they will be asked to work. This is because of the huge impact that an organisation’s culture can have on the environment in which the individual operates. For example, certain people will be better suited to a fast-paced, creative and entrepreneurial environment (perhaps like an advertising agency), while others with the same decision making capability may prefer highly legislated, bureaucratic environment, which is far more risk averse.

Clearly, matching an individual’s behavioural preferences to the culture in which they are going to be expected to work can have a massive impact on how they experience “flow”, and thus, on how engaged and successful they will be.

Linked Psychometric Assessment (LPA)

Whilst many behavioural and personality tools are available in the market, we at BIOSS believe that the Linked Psychometric Assessment (LPA), with its “big data” analytics, is ideally suited to not only assist companies identify the behavioural preferences and personality of individuals, but to better understand the culture that truly exists in their businesses, departments and operations.

For more information please contact or call 011 450 2434