Organisations are made of people

Does Google value your privacy? How about Facebook? Your bank cares about you we are told.

We often forget that organisations are not entities in themselves but are a contingent of people acting in broadly the same way.

When I worked for GDS I was often asked what “GDS thought” about a specific topic. What is GDS’s position on serverless? How about single page applications?

GDS as an organisation produced a service manual, which was the result of much internal discussion, but was also in many sentences, the result of a single person expressing their views and waiting for challenge.

An organisation cannot really hold a view, and cannot have a position. It’s leaders might consider that the organisation stands for something, but in reality, organisations are made up of highly varying people all with different views.

When you next talk to someone claiming to express their organisations view, or know what an organisation would say, you need to ask yourself whether they are simply expressing their own views, reinforced through their perception of the organisation.