Management / Staff Dialogue

The culture of a prison, like other organisations, is anchored in the relationship between Management and basic grade officers reporting to them.  Numerically they make up the largest part of the workforce.  It is not what Managers say as much as what they do and how they do it that defines the culture.  Changing the culture requires changing collective assumptions about how to behave that are reinforced by like-minded work colleagues. Disciplining people to change culture has a part to play, but is unlikely to succeed on its own. This is where dialogue is critical. Dialogue can explore collective patterns of behaviour and more effective alternatives in a blame-free forum where those involved can understand what is needed and why. Dialogue practices are core to achieving this, but once Dialogue is a part of the culture communications flow easily from the top to the bottom of the organisation and back from the bottom to the top.