CORRESPONDENCE

Define working culture, don’t leave it to chance

Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
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Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Over the past ten years, a research group at a Swedish university has operated under a set of standard core values that are founded on mutual cooperation, communication and respect. These are free of bias based on gender, ethnicity or hierarchy. This working culture has produced several ‘generations’ of principal investigators.

Leadership strategy can affect the well-being of laboratory members and group productivity. Newcomers joining the group might have very different cultural backgrounds, leading to communication clashes that can reduce group cohesion. So, when our SysBio group was formed, it was decided that a working culture should be defined rather than randomly created.

Since then, we have raised awareness of possible biases and misunderstandings by organizing regular workshops and assessments to determine how different individuals perceive the same viewpoints. We use the ‘Lewis triangle’ model of behaviour (see go.nature.com/2qa9mah) to identify variations in perspective and encourage open discussion.

In our experience, implementing the core values enhances the research performance of the individual and the group by fostering group diversity (see M. W. Nielsen et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, 1740–1742; 2017).

Nature 565, 294 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-00119-8
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