Culture of openness would unify sectors

I was interested in your news story on the debate about private and public organisations (Personnel Today, 27 September).

The first thing that struck me was the difference in the language. The quotes from Rod Aldridge are about the effects on the organisation of performance management, delivering services and the consequences of not satisfying the customer – very solid, visible, dealing with corporate brand identity.

The public defence quote by Jan Parkinson refers to a lot of people coming into work with a real sense of purpose and being engaged in what they do – very esoteric, unmeasurable, individual and aspirational.

I have worked across all sectors at senior and junior levels, and the difference identified above captures the cultural divide which runs through the whole of the organisation – the individuals, structures, objectives, policies and its approach to business.

In terms of HR, I find the attitudes of many public administration authorities to be narrow and insular, and there is a mistrust of private sector practices. Equally, there is a ‘divide’ between private companies from different sectors.

All organisations can learn from others, but there needs to be a willingness to be open and honest and engage with everyone contributing – employers, managers, unions and individuals – and to challenge existing belief structures.

The sooner this happens, the better for everyone.

Jeff Mitchell
Job evaluation adviser
Somerset County Council

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