Feb 5, 2003

My response to a query on the IHRC list on why senior management don't follow dress code !

The dichotomy that is being exhibited is the manifestation between
the 'espoused' values of the organization and the 'practiced' values.

Unfortunately when values are not co-evolved or co-owned, management
interventions only tinker with espoused values which get enshrined
in fat policy books or get framed on the walls, which nobody bothers
to internalise.

As a HR person, my suggestion to you would be to take it as a
feedback to the system. Obviously this is a symptom of a deeper
malaise or value system that is in operation even at the senior
levels. And these behaviors are setting patterns for behaviors down
the line...

So examine,
1. What mindset do senior managers have towards a dress code?
2. Dress is often a symbolism of a person's professional identity,
where 'suits' are equated with 'conventional' jobs like banks. Do
your management people see themselves as 'cutting edge' people? Is
that why they dress the way they do?
3. Whose belief is that partners and vendors would take a very
formally dressed person seriously? Is it the mindset of a few people
who make policies? Has anybody ever bothered to find out from
vendors and partners as to whether it makes a difference to them?
4. Finally, what should change? Should your policy change or should
the people in your organization change? Which change is more self-
defeating in the long run?