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talljasperman's avatar

What are the traditional ways to change a tradition in tradition oriented organizations?

Asked by talljasperman (21739points) March 25th, 2012

What works and what doesn’t… Feel free to use humor and/or answer seriously.

Feel free to define what “a tradition oriented organization” is.

An example could be a very conservative private school, a political party, a religion, ect…

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16 Answers

Keep_on_running's avatar

Sit and wait for people to come around to the idea of change. lol

ro_in_motion's avatar

One way is based on catastrophe theory. Briefly, image you looking angry at a dog and he backs up into the corner. You continue the staring. The dog, up to this moment has been submissive. He then vicious attacks you an instant later without warning. This is the basis of catastrophe theory.

Likewise, the same thing can happen in civilisations. When the catastrophe happens, people can completely discard the past.

linguaphile's avatar

My workplace is run by people who pride themselves on 25+ years of service. Most of our retirees have put in 35+ years of work AND several of our retirees return to work here after retiring! It’s a school system and more than half of the teachers and staff grew up as students then then came back to work. Generations of sameness… wow, that is the epitome of a tradition oriented organization.

What would it take to change the traditions… just the hiring of more outsiders than insiders. That alone has changed the climate in 6 years.

marinelife's avatar

To change a tradition a little bit while still keeping true to it.

filmfann's avatar

In the Boy Scouts, a scout must aquire 21 merit badges, and do a community project to become an Eagle Scout.
I had 19 merit badges, and was working on 2 more when I began to plan my community project. I didn’t have a specific idea yet, but I wanted to do something about the ecology. One of the scout leaders took me aside, and told me he would not support council approval of my project if it involved anything as lefty as ecology concerns. He felt that was not the focus of the Boy Scouts.
Of course, now, you can look back and point out that he was dead wrong, but at the time I felt bullied, and dropped out of the program shortly after.

filmfann's avatar

Answer #2:
Growing up, Columbus Day was huge. We got a day off school, and there were parades and such.
Approaching the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America, people began to point out Columbus’ flaws, from the rape of the land to the abduction of natives. He was villified, and portrayed not as an explorer and discoverer, but as an enslaver and opportunist.
By the time the 500th anniversary came, many people were no longer supporting Columbus Day, and were now calling it Indigenous Peoples day, and celebrating indian heritage.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

Maybe as in the Girl Scouts… just add training and experiences that encourage young women to be the best person they can be in traditional and non-traditional female roles. Hopefully, they’re doing that already though…

Ron_C's avatar

@filmfann you’re right, the more we learn about Columbus, the less we like him.

Ron_C's avatar

I think that the only way to change a tradition in a “traditional society” is education. For example, Arab tribesmen treat their women like chattel. The women conform because they were raised to think the same way of themselves. If we took all of the village girls out of the village and educated them then sent them back after high school, the tradition of degrading women would rapidly change. When men find out that they need respect women and their potential mates, their attitude changes quickly. The old guys will be pissed but they’ll soon die away.

MilkyWay's avatar


Coloma's avatar

Traditional ways to change a tradition? Isn’t that an oxymoron? lol

I think, as always, the underlying force in change of any kind is an open minded attitude and willingness to examine how a certain tradition, situation, has expired it’s viability.
This takes a mature and emotionally and self inquiring type of personality, skill, that many do not possess.
My ex husbands mother was extremely rigid in her ideas about Christmas “tradition”, and refused to accomodate those of us that wished to have more of our own family time, those that wished to back out of gift giving and have donations made to their favorite charities instead, those that could not travel to her home every year and those younger members that could not afford to buy multiple gifts for everyone.
She kept trying to up the minimum amount spent on gift giving.

My daughter got into it with her grandmother this past Xmas when she was choosing, for the first time in years, to spend Xmas day with her boyfriends family. OMG! She was guilt tripped, told that ” actions speak louder than words” and in general her grandmother really drove a wedge in their relationship because she is so self centered that everyone MUST follow her criteria or be punished.

It’s about accepting that things change and being willing to re-negotiate on a regular basis, based on changing circumstances and life situations.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Make tiny, tiny changes over the course of a looooooong time, so that they don’t even realize things, they are a-changing.
I tend to want to revamp things in a new job, and I found out the hard way that people HATE it, even if the changes just affect me and the way I do my job.

Sunny2's avatar

I think it’s probably like language changes. Word by word, meanings change. Time, practicality, and inventions change many traditions. Electricity changed a lot of them. Look at Christmas trees trimmings, for example. Or men always walking on the outer side of the sidewalk to avoid his lady companion having to deal with horses.

Coloma's avatar

@Sunny2 I’d insist on walking on the outer side of the sidewalk because I LOVE horses! I’d have been a wild women back in the day, or more likely, plagued with all sorts of sick headaches due to being so oppressed. haha

josie's avatar

Fire, or reassign, the person most bound to tradition. Works every time.

rojo's avatar

@Dutchess_III That approach works with guys too. Probably the only one that does.

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