Dr Karen Thurecht
|Day Presenting:||Monday 29 October|
|Session||Concurrent A1 – Governance|
|Presentation Title||The Key to ‘Good Goverannce’ is Culture|
|Position Title||Aged Care Consultant|
There is a general consensus among governance experts that one of the most powerful forces within an organisation is its culture. An organisation’s culture is that taken for granted, agreed upon set of values, norms, beliefs and artefacts that permeate throughout its structures. Culture exists and evolves regardless of whether the organisation’s leaders are aware of it. Increasingly, Governance experts are compelling Directors and Chief Executive Officers to actively harness this power.
With the shift to consumer experience as central to the Single Quality Framework, harnessing the power of culture within an organisation becomes essential. We have all heard someone say, “I just knew when I walked into the Home that it felt right” or “it felt good”. That difficult to measure sense of “feeling good” is essentially a product of culture.
Culture is a complex entity, but we can be certain of two things: (1) culture is dynamic – it is never static and (2) cultures do not exist in isolation of larger societal systems. For example, the culture of an Aboriginal Home will exist within the larger Aboriginal community culture as well as that of the larger society, with its differing expectations of aged care and regulatory compliance. Sometimes, competing expectations can lead to a dissolution of cultural values of the organisation, such as when Aboriginal aged care organisations compromise on their Aboriginal cultural values to meet regulatory compliance.
This presentation argues that the dissolution of cultural values is never necessary. In fact, what is necessary, is tightening up cultural values, articulating them clearly and embedding them in every layer of the organisation. From thirty years of experience working with smaller organisations, we have learned that culture is the key to ‘good governance’. We have learned, as John Price, the Commissioner of the Australian Securities and Investments, says “poor culture is the driver of poor conduct’. We have learned, and share in this presentation, how an organisation’s culture can be managed and its power harnessed. With a focus on culture in our governance systems we shift from trying to ‘do the right thing’ from a thousand different perspectives, to knowing exactly what the right thing to do is, within our own organisational culture. This is what will contribute to that consumer experience of ‘feeling good’.
Dr. Karen Thurecht has a PhD in medical anthropology and specialises in Aboriginal Health and Aged Care. Karen has worked as an industry consultant and as a Quality Assessor for 20 years. Karen is a passionate supporter of Indigenous Aged Care and has also worked with Non-English Speaking Background communities and religious groups to build strong governance systems which navigate the borders between their own cultural beliefs and regulatory compliance. Karen has convened courses in the cultural understanding of health at the University of Queensland Medical School and at the Griffith School of Medicine.
Sue Boisen, the Executive Director of CareLynx has had extensive exposure to residential care, working in executive roles throughout Queensland and as an Administrator to non-compliant services nationally. Her passion for Aged Care has filtered into policy development, ministerial advising, strategic planning and creatively problem solving the issues of Aged Care from operational to organisational governance.