Case Study: Thinking About Culture in Organizations – Can You Manage It?

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Case study: Thinking about culture in organizations – can you manage it?

Some organizations try to espouse values that people in the organization will discuss, promote and try to live by. For example at Hewlett Packard (HP) all employees are required to become familiar with the “HP Way”. The HP Way means that the HP founders base their corporate culture on the integration and reinforcement of critical opposites. HP claims to have achieved what appears to be the greatest dichotomy: creating an environment that celebrates individualism, but at the same time one that is also wholly supportive of teamwork. Although HP people are taught to engage in cross-functional teams, they are also rated on the performance of decentralized business units and personal achievement (Stevens, 2001).

General Electric (GE) values were distributed to all GE employees. Jack Welch, the Chief executive Officer, had them inscribed on wallet-sized cards and distributed to all GE employees at every level of the company. Before the cards were furnished to the staff, GE had come to consensus on which core values it wanted to cultivate in its employees. Jack Welch noted: "There isn't a human being in GE that wouldn't have the Values Guide with them. In their wallet, in their purse. It means everything and we live it. And we remove people who don't have those values, even when they post great results." (see Ten3 Business e-coach website).

Here are some of the statements from the Values Guide (Krames, 2002):

GE Leaders... Always with Unyielding Integrity:

Have a Passion for Excellence and Hate Bureaucracy
Are Open to Ideas from Anywhere... and Committed to Work Out •Live Quality and Drive Cost and Speed for Competitive Advantage •Have the Self-Confidence to Involve Everyone and Behave in a Boundary-less Fashion •Create a Clear, Simple, Reality Based Vision and Communicate It to All Constituencies •Have Enormous Energy and the Ability to Energise Others •Stretch......
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