Danielle Braun - Patterns

Recognizing and changing with an anthropological view


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Bestselling author and corporate anthropologist Danielle Braun teaches you to recognize, interpret, and change patterns in your organization.

Patterns. Omnipresent and existing in the world at large. Countries and tribes have their own patterns, embedded in ancient believes, in folk culture, and in ancient rituals and value systems. Organizations have patterns that are connected with their history, their product, or their service. Families have patterns that are passed down from generation to generation. And each individual has a pattern, a cohesive personal system of assumptions and behavior, created by a mixture of biological predisposition, life experiences, context, and personal choices.

You can call patterns many things: a system, culture, fractal pattern, organizational DNA, whatever you call it, it is important to recognize them and take them into account when you want to make changes in organizations. And the best way to recognize and interpret patterns, is by observing them as much as possible. Patterns will help you achieve this, with wonderful images, stories, and countless examples from organizations and our daily lives. A book about how to really do these things, observing, capturing, communicating, and changing patterns.

‘Who really wants to unravel the beauty of patterns and treat people with care, has to make an effort to master an old craft. Anthropology, where participating, observing, feeling, sensing, and interpreting are more important than numbers and statistics.’ – Danielle Braun

Published in May 2021 | Hardcover | 256 pages | Fully illustrated | 77,000 words
Over 5,000 copies sold
Longlisted for the Management Book of the Year Award 2022
Dutch edition published by Boom Publishers Amsterdam

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Danielle Braun, PhD, is corporate anthropologist and travels all over the world to search for what we can learn from tribes for in our boardrooms and on our work floors. Author of Patterns and That’s Crazy and co-author of The Corporate Tribe and Building Tribes. 25 years of experience in management and governance, wrote her promotional thesis on corporate culture in the police force. She coaches leaders on conflict and change, is CEO of the Academy for Organizational Culture, theater maker, columnist in newspapers and on social media, and interprets the current events in office buildings and in society. With amazement, marvel, explosion, tears, and laughter.


‘Is started reading this beautiful book with great curiosity. For a weekend I was completely sucked in by the inspiring photos, recognizable examples, and explanations and applications on patterns in organizations. Was I reading a management book or a practical book? Patterns is a beautifully designed book, full of pictures from patterns and different cultures. A must-read for organizational advisors, managers, coaches, and everyone who wants to recognize patterns and go further and change and solidify patterns.’
Renée Braken, business administrator and facilitating manager on change management

‘Danielle Braun has written a remarkable book. Both the content and the layout are rich, and author and publisher have delivered a beautiful book, giving the reader an insight into the world and brain of an anthropologist.’
Rudy Kor, organizational advisor and author of management books

‘The book is filled with images. Not just the pictures that visualize the text, but also the images the author evokes with her words. She views organizations as tribal groups of people and uses tribal terminology to interpret their behavior. A viral change is based on the principles of voodoo, a change process is escorted by rituals, the logos on the walls are totems, the consultant that creates an image of the culture is a magician, the manager is a chief, and the sales people or innovators are the hunters. The small ‘culture shock’ you experience as a reader and outsider, prove the concepts of the book, like small fractals as part of a larger pattern. The book is highly recommended to provide you a different perspective on how to view groups and organizations.’
Nora Ghaoui, management consultant and expert on strategy and operational improvement

‘As change maker, consultant, manager, coach, or teacher, you are your own instrument. Knowledge of self and reflection are crucial, and it is fitting that Danielle Braun concludes the book with stressing the importance of making the journey inside, perhaps more exciting than any other journey.’
Sylvie van der Haar, trainer and coach

‘This truly is a remarkable book. As a researcher I learned much about patterns and how we can observe them in research. So I want to thank Danielle Braun for yet another beautiful book in my bookcase, but most of all for the stories I can share with my students.’
Dr. José W. Otte MBA, appreciative researcher with a background in business behavioral science

‘Like all her books, Patterns by Danielle Braun is easy to read, has wonderful stories from all over the world, and looks like you browse through a copy of National Geographic. She builds on her previous work and offers new tools to start working with an anthropological perspective.’
Rick Lindeman, facilitator and design thinker and founder and owner of the Facilitate Studio

Patterns is a beautiful book for those who want to look for qualitative solutions for the underlying causes of the problems in their organization. The anthropological perspective is presented in a clear and accessible way, and the book is beautifully designed. A rich book.’
Nico Jong, senior advisor at the Ministry of Public Health, Well-Being, and Sports

‘Such a wonderful book, filled with stories, structure, and beautiful photos. A reference book for everyone who has to deal with complexity in their organizations. Danielle holds nothing back and shares all her expertise, like she is sitting next to me, giving me great advise.’
Luc Limère



1. PATTERNS: In the World and in Organizations
1.1 Travel and boundaries
1.2 Caste system
1.3 Curative and profitable
1.4 The Dutch way to deal with a COVID pandemic
1.5 The most obedient boys of the class or naughty cowboys
1.6 Grey blanket

2.1 What are they about?
2.2 Patterns are repetitive
2.3 Patterns can be viewed on multiple levels
2.4 Patterns have a systemic coherency
2.5 Patterns form energy fields
2.6 Patterns are transmitted

3.1 Three ways to look at patterns
3.2 How anthropologists track down patterns
3.3 Transforming shock into information
3.4 Recognizing patterns with all your senses
3.5 Your own rhinoceros’ horn

4.1 Emic and Etic
4.2 Timing is everything, the anthropological change model
4.3 Order, getting a grip on patterns
4.4 Seeing the core of the pattern

5.1 Together in the gumbo
5.2 Oral feedback: campfire conversations
5.3 Reports in writing
5.4 Honoring the old
5.5 Now what?

6.1 The art of stopping
6.2 Rolling out or rolling in
6.3 Voodoo in organizations: viral change
6.4 Liminality: the power of rituals and stories
6.5 The role of the leader
6.6 Structures and processes

7.1 Patterns: solidifying and innovating
7.2 Discipline
7.3 Cadence, rhythm, rituals, tradition
7.4 Your position in the whole
7.5 Organizational structure in flow

8.1 Images and metaphors
8.2 Dilemmas and polarities
8.3 Thematical descriptions

Afterword, the journey inside
About the author

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