Anz Culture Study: Management Principles

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The ANZ bank wanted to change its public image and increase its staff morale, but obviously still maintain high profits. The CEO of ANZ, John McFarlane decided a change in its companies culture was required and went about implementing a change that could, like any change, make or break the organisation

Question 1) Explain the term ‘corporate (or organizational) culture’, and discuss its importance to the operational success, or failure, or organisations.

Corporate culture, also known as organisational culture is ‘the system of shared values and beliefs that develops within an organisation and guides the behaviour of its members’ (Schermerhorn,et al, pg 45, 2004). Robbins, et al, pg 70, 2003, explain that culture is a perception, and people perceive culture to be what they see hear or experience within the organisation. This is one reason that corporate culture is so important, as it just becomes part of daily routine or ‘the way we do things here’ (Schermerhorn,et al, pg 45, 2004). Therefore if these common practices are good practices there is a strong chance the organisation will be more successful.

The culture of an organisation is very important and can for a large part determine the success of organisations. As culture is a perception, it is concerned with how its members perceive the organisation and not whether they like it, (Robbins, et al, pg 70, 2003). If its members like the culture, the organisation is more likely to succeed. Organisations that have a good culture often perform at high levels, which also corresponds with staff morale. Robbins et al, pg 73, 2003 refer to a case study involving Virgin Blue, who have a different recruiting policy and job roles than other airlines in Australia. Virgin Blue want their staff to show their outgoing personality and interact with their customers during flights. Virgin Blue staff say morale is high and management gets on well with the workforce. The perception of Virgin Blue is that it is a little different to the other airlines in Australia, and that it is a fun outgoing organisation to be a part of, which is a perception Virgin Blue appears to promote and are proud of.

Question 2) Examine and summerize the cultural shifts that occurred on the ANZ over this period and the benefits they brought to various stakeholders.

The ANZ like most banks in the late 1990’s had a poor public image. Banks were criticised for bank fees, branch closures and scandals, as a result morale for bank employees was also poor.

ANZ conducted a staff survey, which confirmed morale was low and staff satisfaction was below 50%. The survey results were quite clear that staff did not feel valued in their workplace, and employees were asked to nominate words they felt best describes the ANZ bank. Words rating at the top of the list were cost reduction, profit and shareholder value.

The ANZ initiated a program, ‘the breakout program’ which was designed to shift the culture, as the bank wanted to create a new public image or perception that distinguished them from other banks. Executives of the ANZ realized a shift if employees mind set was needed to regain the trust of their staff and assist with this intended culture change. This was done with various workshops and subsidising computers for its staff, which in particular was very well received by its staff.

As well as increasing staff morale by subsidising computers, staff were given the opportunity to use skills they had acquired by assisting and educating customers with money matters. This was something staff were very passionate about, and by giving them the opportunity to complete such duties may have been a factor to increased morale.

ANZ claim a complete transformation in organisational culture, believing their culture has changed for ever. Judging by further surveys conducted since the change in culture, staff morale is high, and this also coincides with customer satisfaction.

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