Startups in India – What makes your culture click?

We work and live in an interconnected, interdependent world – even us loners and introverts, who retreat into our comfortable shells behind our black mirrors, hiding behind clever Twitter or Instagram handles, use ‘social’ media to remain in touch with the ‘real’ world. In other words – we cannot escape society and other people, and for most individuals in the business/corporate world, this takes on a much more intense, unescapable shape: daily interactions for up to 8-9 hours a day, with coworkers and customers, in meetings and reports, cubicles and hallways, conference calls and video conferences, conference rooms and board rooms, working lunches and project parties – it goes on and on. These interactions are rife with possibilities – of collaboration as well as confusions, of creative sparks as well as shouting matches, of insights as well as insults. A study published in Harvard Business Review found that over time, collaborative activities have expanded and more than 75% of an employee’s day is spent communicating with colleagues. Think about this - most employees spend most of their days communicating with colleagues!

So what is it that makes some companies and teams click and collaborate with greater success than others? Why is it that individuals who are perfectly easy to get along with one-on-one, behave differently in a group context? What makes some organizations more fun and engaging to work in, whereas others are drudging and tedious?

Studies that have looked into these questions have provided some answers – answers that lie in shared group norms, in psychologically safe climates, in communication patterns that avoid groupthink or exclusion, in leadership behaviours that signal collaboration and so on.

Yet, there is a specific context in which some of these questions remain unanswered – the world of startups in India. Some of the research points to team climate being specifically important where collaboration and creativity are prized – is there anything that describes ‘startups in India’ more than a context dependent on collaboration and creativity? A lot of research on leadership defines the role of founders, especially in early stages of organizations – again, so relevant for startups in India.

A small team of us is looking to answer some of these questions – and more – by studying startups and young organizations in India. So if you know of an Indian organization that is less than 15 years old, has at least 50 employees and would be interested in participating in such research (in return for free custom reports and recommendations from experts!), send them our way! We are launching this study early next month, so please spread the word and help us answer some of these questions!

aarti@psymantics.com, ishani@serein.in or chryslynn@serein.in