Organizational understanding

Management behavioural competency (PDF, 271 KB)

Definition: This is the ability to understand the workings, structure and culture of the organization as well as the political, social and economic climate in which the organization operates. It includes an understanding of others' roles, perspectives and agendas, as well as the relationship dynamics that play out and impact the broader objectives. It involves managing the environmental context in which one operates (e.g., clients, partners, geographical location and culture). It also includes the ability to identify the real decision‐makers as well as the individuals who influence them. It requires the ability to predict how new opportunities, events or situations will affect individuals and groups within the organization and to be comfortable and versatile in different political, social and business contexts.

Scale progression: Thoroughness of understanding of one's own or another's organization.

Level 1

Understands formal structure

  • Recognizes and/or uses the formal structure or hierarchy of an organization, (i.e., the "org chart" to accomplish objectives).
  • Understands chain of command, positional power, rules and regulations, policies and procedures, Standard Operating Procedure, etc.
  • Demonstrates understanding of the general environment within with the portfolio, branch or IRAP operates.
  • Understands how one's own area relates to NRC's broader goals, policy issues, etc.

Level 2

Understands and uses informal structure

  • Demonstrates a good understanding of the unwritten and informal structure, culture and rules.
  • Uses the informal structures of an organization, including networking, to advance his or her work and acquire information and assistance.
  • Recognizes key actors, decision-influencers, etc. and draws on them to advance his or her work.
  • Applies this knowledge when formal structure does not work as well as desired.

Level 3

Uses the organization's climate and culture

  • Recognizes unspoken organizational limitations, what is and is not possible at certain times or in certain situations.
  • Recognizes and uses elements of the corporate culture (language, etc.) that will produce the best response.
  • Quickly adapts to varying cultures and circumstances within the organization.
  • Is aware of events external to NRC that impact on the organization.

Level 4

Understands organizational politics, issues and external influences

  • Recognizes, describes and effectively uses ongoing power and political relationships within the organization (i.e., alliances, rivalries) with a clear sense of organizational impact.
  • Uses this understanding when implementing new initiatives, proposing new ways of doing things, etc.
  • Anticipates issues, challenges and outcomes; effectively operates to best position the portfolio/branch/IRAP.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of NRC's vision when providing advice on portfolio/program direction.
  • Uses relationships, partnerships and alliances within the organization to create a broad impact.

Level 5

Understands and operates effectively in a broad spectrum of political, cultural and social milieu

  • Demonstrates broad understanding of political, social and economic context within which NRC operates.
  • Operates with ease in a variety of social, political and cultural contexts.
  • Recognizes and addresses the reasons for ongoing organizational behaviour; uses broad understanding of context to provide advice on NRC future directions.
  • Recognizes underlying problems, opportunities or external political forces affecting the organization (i.e., strategic change initiatives, current market trends, demographic changes, union policies, national or historical issues that affect organization, etc.).
  • Seeks to change organizational culture and practices to improve the success of the organization.