Despite the many benefits that can accompany change in the organizational culture, altering an entrenched culture is not an easy task.
Definition of an Organizational Culture
Organization culture is a set theory of significant beliefs, values and perceptions shared commonly by members in an organization.
Purpose of the study
The study seeks to identify some difficulties faced by managers in the course of changing organizational culture and the best ways of trying to encourage and implement organizational culture change
Identity difficulties encountered in changing the organizational culture of a large company
Limitation of resources
/> Motivation barriers
Identify best ways of trying to encourage and implement organizational culture change
Appointing ‘consigliere’ leaders
Concentrating on reproducing the value of available resources
Making both employees and customers realize the need for change.
explaining the implication of change
Establishing strategic initiatives
Recognizing small wins
Creating measures and metrics
Using symbols and communication
Reinstatement of hypothesis
Summary of key points mentioned.
Organizational Culture Change
Despite the many benefits that can accompany change in the organizational culture, altering an entrenched culture is not an easy task. Sun (2008) and Dwivedi (1995) define organization culture as the set theory of significant beliefs, values and perceptions shared commonly by members in an organization. He adds that culture offers the best techniques of thinking, feeling and responding, which can help managers to formulate decisions and organize activities of the organization. This study seeks to identify some difficulties faced by managers in the course of changing organizational culture and the best ways of trying to encourage and implement organizational culture change.
Cameron (2004) reveals that transforming organizational culture is an extremely hard goal to attain, not just because culture could be unrecognized but because once set, shared value patterns and interpretations are difficult to change. Besides, Kim and Mauborgne (2004) mention four barriers that can be faced by a manager in an effort to establish cultural change in an organization. These barriers include cognitive, resources, institutional politics and motivation (Kim and Mauborgne, 2004). First, the cognitive barrier occurs when people do not understand the need for change in an organization’s culture or strategy. For instance, Microsoft has been attempting to absorb the center of the blue ocean formed by Intuit using Quicken, its financial product software, for over ten years. However, Microsoft has not succeeded to oust Intuit as the industry leader, in spite of all its investments and efforts (Kim and Mauborgne, 2004). Second, scarce resources cause barriers during organizational change because, changing an organization entails taking resources from some segments to others. Third, the motivation hurdle, arises because employees must have the motivation to implement change. Lastly, institutional politics may obstruct an organization during change, since they are likely to affect the thoughts and feelings of all those involved in the planning and implementation of change.
According to Kim and Mauborgne (2004), political barriers can be overcome through appointing ‘consigliere’ leaders. These are leaders who are aware of those that are likely to support or oppose change, as well as, establish strategies and coalitions that are essential for change. All managers face the risk of not realizing the happening behind the scenes. However, a suitable ‘consigliere’ can be helpful in solving this issue. Besides, Kim and Mauborgne (2004) suggest that the motivational hurdle can be tackled by motivating workers through getting them to experience the cruel realities that make it essential. Further, resource hurdle can get conquered by concentrating on reproducing the value of available resources and seeking ways to reorganize resources toward projects that need few resources but cause a large change (hot spots), as well as, drawing resources from segments with large resource requirements, but quite low impact (cold spots) (Kim and Mauborgne, 2004). Lastly, leaders can break the cognitive barrier through making both employees and customers realize the need for change.
Similarly, Cameron (2004) suggests seven steps that can be followed in the process of organizational change. According to Cameron (2004), the initial step in culture change is to explain the implication of change to the organization. The objective of this step is to spell out things that will change and those that will remain. Explaining the implications of culture change helps remind the organization on aspects to be maintained and those that will change. However, organizations should not discard aspects that differentiate them, while implementing change (Wilkins, 1989).
The second step involves identifying tales. According to Martin (1992) and Martin et al. (1983), the best way to communicate organizational culture is by way of stories. This involves identifying a number of positive incidents or occasions that demonstrate the key values that will typify the organization’s culture, in prospect. The third step is entails establishing strategic initiatives. These are activities that get introduced, stopped or enhanced. Strategic initiative, also, include actions planned to make key changes that will cause culture change (Cameron and Quinn, 2011).
The fourth step entails recognizing small wins. This involves identifying something easy to transform and then transforming and announcing the change. Such small successes generate momentum in the preferred direction and reduce resistance, since people appreciate small, progressive changes (Cameron and Quinn, 2011). The fifth step is to create measures and metrics. Establishing key indicators of success, as well as, when and how to assess them is a fundamental part of the change process.
The sixth step is symbols and communication. Sharing information about change, frequently, helps reduce the tendency people have to structure their personal information in the existence of ambiguity or vagueness (Cameron, 2004; Keyton, 2011). Besides, an organization can change symbols. Symbols allow organization members to see a different image, give a new understanding of the organization, and grant a meeting point for people who support the change. Such symbols can be in the form of new logos, structures or events.
The last step is leadership development. Any change in an organization needs leadership and champions. Similarly, culture change requires leaders who are intentionally and constantly guiding the process, since this change does not happen arbitrarily, in organizations. A study by Mallinger et al. (2009) revealed that the introduction of a strategic management team, at Goodwin Company, was hugely beneficial. The company was able to build a baseline of trust through involving the management team in organizational change. Also, variations between existing leadership and future leadership needs must be expressed. Subsequently, activities of learning and training opportunities should be established, in order to develop the desired leadership skills (Morse, 2008).
In conclusion, changing the organizational culture of a large company is hard but possible. We say it is hard because once set, shared value patterns and interpretations are difficult to change. Besides, barriers such as, cognitive, resources, institutional politics and motivation may impede organizational culture change. Overcoming these barriers requires clear models, such as those suggested by Cameron (2004), as well as, Kim and Mauborgne (2004). Cameron (2004) suggests seven steps that can be followed in the process of organizational change. These include explaining the implication of change, identifying tales, establishing strategic initiatives, recognizing small wins, creating measures and metrics, using symbols and communication and developing leadership. Conversely, Kim and Mauborgne (2004) suggest that best patterns for realizing organizational culture change involve appointing ‘consigliere’ leaders, motivating employees, reproducing the value of available resources and making both employees and customers realize the need for change. In my opinion, employing both models can yield the best results.
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Cameron, K. and Quinn, R. (2011). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture based on the competing values framework. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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