Assess the strategic position of Cordia, paying particular attention to an organisational cultural perspective. ___________________________________________________________________ Organisational culture both limits and aids strategic processes in organisations and Cordia is no different. One of the most effective ways of understanding the impact of culture on the strategic processes of a company is through the analysis of that company’s culture. A revealing model is the cultural web which is mainly suited to this purpose. The cultural web shows the behavioural, physical and symbolic manifestations of a culture that inform or are informed by the ‘taken-for-granted’ paradigms of an organisation1. The following is a depiction of the cultural web of Cordia2 as interpreted by a group of managers within the company:
1 Johnson, G, Whittington, R Scholes, K, 2011. Exploring Strategy. Text and Cases. Essex: Prentice Hall – Page 176 2 http://www.scribd.com/word/removal/76663687
The Cultural Web explained:
* Stories: These refer to the past events and people that are talked about inside and outside the company. Who the company chooses to immortalise says a great deal about where it places value and what it recognizes as great performance. Cordia boasts an impressive average of 22 years long service. Staff retention is high and employees rarely leave Cordia for other opportunities. As a result Cordia’s policy is for its employees to work until 65 years of age and then retire.
* Symbols: These refer to the visual representations of the company including logos, state of the offices and dress codes. Cordia has a 9 to 5 work pattern and has a ‘Directors Corridor’ which is described as the walk way to the Managing Director and Operations Director’s offices.
* Power Structures: These are the pockets of real power within the company. It may include senior executives or even a whole department. It basically refers to the person or group of people who have the most amount of influence on decisions, operations and strategic direction. Cordia has highly established norms and places heavy reliance on implied authority.
* Organisational Structures: Includes the structure defined by the organisational chart and the unrecorded lines of authority and influence that indicate whose contributions are most respected. According to Cordia staff the organisational structure within Cordia is very formal, strict and relies heavily on historical values.
* Control Systems: This refers to the way that the organisation is controlled. It includes financial and quality systems. At Cordia, emphasis on top level accounts is done only by senior management. This means that if the summative impact of total performance for each division is satisfactory then there is no deeper analyses into individual cost centre performances.
* Rituals and Routines: Includes the daily behaviour and actions of people that signal acceptable behaviour. This is utilised to determine what is expected to happen in given situations and what is valued by management. The Operations Director at Cordia holds yearly conversations with HQ staff. This means that he meets with groups of HQ staff (100) at a time in a theatre room and presents to them the results of the business for the previous year and lays out the challenges that lie ahead. This is his opportunity to explain the strategy of Cordia, reflect on actual strategic outcomes and compare these with planned strategic outcomes.
The culture web is used to identify the company’s culture as it is currently. This will then enable the company to identify the ‘webs’ of norm and culture that is prohibiting it from moving forward. Through the culture web of Cordia is can clearly be seen that the company places high value on historical practices and the company is managed accordingly.
Some of the key strategic issues arising from a cultural analysis of Cordia include: