ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
IN THE GIG ECONOMY

Takeaways for the fluid organization

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Developing Culture in the New ‘Gig Economy’.

By Levi Nieminen, Ph.D. Director of Research & Senior Consultant

What can the University of Michigan’s Cardiology Fellowship training program teach companies like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb? A lot, as it turns out!

Like Uber and its counterparts, the Cardiology program is part of a fluid “gig economy,” centered on a workforce that is “here today, gone tomorrow.” The Cardiology program is three years long, so a third of its participants leave each year and are replaced by a new cohort of student-employees.

And just as Uber and its counterparts are creating a new approach that runs counter to the way business has “always” worked, Michigan’s medical school decided to create a program that runs counter to the entrenched cultural norms which have defined medical training across the country for decades.

How do you create—not to mention sustain—a healthy, coherent, culture in such an ever-changing environment, in the face of entrenched modes, without a road map from previous pioneers? What does culture really mean and how does it get defined in a fluid organizational setting?

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