Making Invisible Bureaucracy Visible: The Preface

This month we decided to share the Preface from Mark Bodnarczuk’s new book, Making Invisible Bureaucracy Visible as the lead article. You can download a free copy of the entire e-book from the Update section below.

Most managers struggle against the flow of overly complex systems and are often frustrated by an invisible force that undermines their attempts to effect positive change. Their instincts tell them that the organization’s structures, systems, and culture are preventing them from getting the results they want, but “culture” has remained one of the least understood aspects of organizational life. This book describes how organizational culture often acts like an Invisible Bureaucracy™ that frustrates and undermines the performance of organizations and work-groups. Because over 85% of the root causes of organizational performance problems are in the structures, systems, and culture within which managers and staff members are embedded, putting good people in bad systems can decrease their level of performance and increase the level of destructive conflict in day-to-day operations. Therefore, focusing on improving the performance of an individual manager or work-group without understanding the context within which they are embedded almost guarantees that change will not be sustainable, because individual managers and staff members are only about 15% of the real problem.

But despite the fact that most individual managers and work-groups have little or no control over the larger organization within which they are embedded, they are still held accountable for their performance and delivering on commitments. The day-to-day reality of Invisible Bureaucracy manifests itself in a number of recurring and troubling questions:

  • Why is it so difficult for some organizations to make decisions, and why (once made) do so many decisions go unimplemented?
  • Why do most organizations have a gap between the formal rules for how things get done, and the informal rules for how things really get done?
  • Why does vital business information get filtered, altered, or stopped as it moves up and down through the organizational structure?
  • Why do projects that seem to have the full support of top managers and key personnel die a slow death and no one knows what happened to them?
  • Why are some organizations able to change in the face of forces and threats from the external environment while others seem to have “Blind Spots” about these issues and fall prey to them over and over again?
  • Why do the universal principles of organization development seem to work in some organizations, but not in others?
  • Why do change initiatives so often show failed or marginal results?
  • Why do so many people find their work to be a substantial part of life’s problems, rather than one of the solutions to life’s problems?


HBR Editor’s Blog

Every month, the senior editors of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) invite internationally recognized organizational theorists and practitioners to raise issues and answer questions about leadership and management issues on the HBR Editor’s Blog. This month, we provide Pinnacle readers with links to two important and interesting discussions (see below).

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, To Master Change, First Dread It
Vineet Nayar, The Employability Crisis is a Global Crisis

We encourage you to join the conversation on the HBR Editor’s Blog and voice your opinions, commentary, and insights on these and other important topics.


Mark Bodnarczuk has just published a new book entitled, Making Invisible Bureaucracy Visible: A Guide to Assessing and Changing Organizational Culture. It is available in book stores and on websites like world-wide.
One of our key Partners,, will begin offering an on-line, web-based certification program for the Breckenridge Culture Indicator (BCI™) Level I which will allow you to administer the BCI™ in organizations. The program will be offered beginning November 1, 2009. For more information contact Roger Pearman at or
Mark Bodnarczuk has been invited to speak about his new book, The Breckenridge Enneagram at the upcoming European Type Conference in Berlin in May 2010. For details on attending this exciting international conference go to
The Breckenridge Institute® is looking for a select group of organization development consultants who are interested in becoming instructors for the BCI™ Level I Certification Program. Download the Basic Requirements here to see what’s required, and then contact Mark Bodnarczuk at if you are interested.
For a more complete listing of recently published on-line articles, white papers, and books from the Breckenridge Institute® go to
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Underwater Photo: © Annie Crawley, 2009,


Culture Corner

“Members of any organization learn from their own experience with promotions, performance appraisals, and discussions with the boss what the organization values and what the organization punishes.”

Edgar Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership


Majors OEM™ Career Exploration Profile

The Breckenridge Institute® is proud to announce the publication of the Majors OEM™ Career Exploration Profile (CEP) - an online occupational assessment tool developed by Dr. Mark Majors. The Majors OEM™ CEP report provides your clients with valuable information to help them make career decisions that are satisfying and a good fit for their personality. It is equally effective for those who are starting out or changing careers; anytime making the right career choice is important. The Majors OEM™ CEP report makes the process of choosing the “right” career or occupation understandable by putting structure onto your client’s decision-making process. Clients learn how to identify the possible satisfying occupations, and reduce the chance that they will be surprised later by unexpected disappointments. The report reveals the individual’s patterns for Avoiding or Preferring 11 Occupational Activity Groupings (groups of tasks, activities and environments in which they are performed). Clients will be able to see their preference and avoidance patterns across these 11 areas. The report contains brief descriptions of the 11 occupational areas to help clients understand their individual pattern of results. Suggestions for using the information in the report to improve occupational satisfaction and further reading are included. This report gives specific process information to help your clients make an informed career decision leading to occupational satisfaction. The Majors OEM™ is now available to qualified users 24X7 anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.


Contact Elin Larson at or
1-800-303-2554 for details about how you can begin using this exciting tool in your organization or with your clients.

What We’re Reading

Gerald Driskell and Angela Brenton, Organizational Culture in Action

Designed for use in college and graduate-level seminars on organizational culture, Organizational Culture in Action is a practical (workbook) approach to cultural assessment that uses a five-step process to guide readers through the data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, and corrective action phases of cultural assessment. In terms of the quantitative and qualitative approaches to organizational culture, this book falls squarely on the qualitative side and reflects the tools and methodologies used in more traditional cultural anthropology. Each chapter presents a section on theory, application, and valuable checklists that can be used to shape how cultural assessments are conducted. Driskell and Brenton provide a much needed balance to more quantitative bottom-line oriented approaches to organizational culture used by authors like Kotter and Heskett in, Corporate Culture and Performance, and David Hanna’s in, Designing Organizations for High-Performance. This book is a must read for those who want to connect key elements of bottom-line, organizational effectiveness and change management with the more symbolic dimensions of organizational culture and leadership.