Edgar Schein: “Humble Leadership” | Talks at Google



Author and organizational culture expert Ed Schein joined Google VP of People Development Karen May in a fireside chat at Google’s Mountain View office. Schein talked about his latest project on Humble Leadership.

Edgar Schein investigates organizational culture, process consultation, research process, career dynamics, and organization learning and change. He analyzes how consultants work on problems in human systems and the dynamics of the helping process, and defines Humble Inquiry as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” In this seminal work, Schein contrasts Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, shows the benefits Humble Inquiry provides in many different settings, and offers advice on overcoming the cultural, organizational, and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it.

Schein has written two cultural case studies —“Strategic Pragmatism: The Culture of Singapore’s Economic Development Board” and “DEC is Dead; Long Live DEC.” and his Corporate Culture Survival Guide tells managers how to deal with culture issues in their organizations. He shows how individuals can diagnose their own career needs and how managers can diagnose the future of jobs. His research on culture shows how national, organizational, and occupational cultures influence organizational performance.

Schein holds a BPhil from the University of Chicago, a BA and an MA in social psychology from Stanford University, and a PhD in social psychology from Harvard University.

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5 thoughts on “Edgar Schein: “Humble Leadership” | Talks at Google

  1. This is great talk on culture, espoused values, and mindfulness, and how it can help to move leadership from transactional to more personal interaction, from content to process, and from individual performance (I win, you lose) to team work (we all win).

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