Can Organisational Culture Be Changed?

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Question: Can Organisational Culture be changed?

Management within an organisation has the ability to re-shape, re-engineer, re-organise and change their organisation and organisational culture, the majority of organisation’s today, have the ability to change their culture, however, at the same time, it is a very difficult and demanding task. This is where the four main functions of managing come into play; planning, controlling, leading and organising. Robbins at al (2009, p.94) defines organisational culture as “a system of shared values, principles, traditions and ways of doing things that influence the way organisational members act.” This essay will further look into how and if an organisation’s culture can be changed, weighed up against organisation’s resisting change, how this resistance can be managed and strategies to maintain change within an organisation.

Organisational culture change may occur when there is a shift in success strategy of the company or as the organisation goes through various lifecycles. Change within an organisational culture can fundamentally fall into three categories; changing structure, changing technology and changing people. If each of these categories is thought about and implemented correctly it can have an array of advantages on the organisation. Changing an organisation’s structure is a long term and thought about process. It needs commitment from the leadership team to provide the necessary resources for successful implementation. Sims. (2000, p.65-78) explores the effects of changing an organisation’s culture under new leadership. The journal article explores “The recent bond trading scandal at Salomon Brothers and demonstrates that a successful turnaround does not just happen spontaneously. In particular, it argues that new leadership, altering policies, structure, behaviour and beliefs are paramount to successfully change an organisational culture that supports ethical behaviour.” Changing the structure, technology and people can improve employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, financial performance and give the organisation a competitive advantage.

Internal and external factors have a large impact on the four functions of management within an organisation. What these factors are and the kind of impact they have depends on the business and its particular goals. Brown Rudnick is an international law firm whose goal is reflected in its mission statement; “To achieve results that exceed expectations through Our commitment to Our clients adding maximum value to their business”. In order to achieve these goals managers must follow the four main functions of management which are, planning, organising, leading and controlling. Management must also be aware of how the internal and external factors can impact these factors. External factors of change can come in a number of different forms. The introduction of government laws and regulations, technology and economic changes are just some examples of external factors that could have a huge effect on an organisation. Managers a Brown Rudnick need to be able to plan for situations such a natural disasters where their client’s needs are unable to be met. Internal factors however usually arise from external forces of change. The introduction of new equipment, employee attitudes and change in management team are just some examples of internal factors that could have a devastating effect on an organisation.

Organisational change may threaten the self-interests of some managers within an organisation, potentially diminishing their power or influence. In so, managers involved may resist or fight the change within an organisation. Steven Jobs director and chief of Apple is a great example of resistance to change. He hired John Sculley to bring professional management to the organisation. However, when John started implementing changes to take part within the organisation, Steven’s status and self-confidence were being threatened...
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