Leadership and Organizational Behavior

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Affecting Change

Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Creating an organizational culture does not happen overnight. It takes years of collective learning, incidents, and experience for it to develop. The more established the organization the stronger the culture. Values and beliefs are the core of organizational culture. They are the determinant of the strength of culture. On the other hand, practices and rites are the external expression of organizational culture. In addition, sub-cultures are bound to evolve within an organization, especially if the organization is successful. Individuals, teams, and departments share a common history as the organization grows and will develop their own set of norms and values. According to Boan (2006), “The greater the success of the organization, the greater the reinforcement of its norms and the more enduring the culture (Pg. 51). The problem that arises with strong organizational culture is a resistance to change. In successful organizations, individuals, teams and departments develop the ‘if it works, don’t fix it’ mentality and resist change agents and change. In these situations, it is up to organizational leaders to affect change. The effective leader will listen, empower, align others, develop capabilities, embody trust, and relay feedback to affect change. Determining which leadership style to use to accomplish these tasks is situational and behaviorally dependent. Methods of Control

Before addressing methods of determining the climate and resultant culture of an organization, it must be said that not all culture is negative. Culture is valuable to an entire organization; from the CEO down to the newest employee. It provides consistency and augments motivation and commitment. According to Robbins and Judge (2007), “Culture is a liability when the shared values are not in agreement with those that will further the organization’s effectiveness” (Pg. 8). This will normally occur when the business environment is rapidly changing and the organization’s culture becomes a barrier to change. In these circumstances the leadership must accurately identify the organizations culture, the behavior of its key players, those resisting change, and those embracing or affecting change; the change agents. Organizational Climate and Change

Organizational climate surveys and assessments predated the study of organizational culture by a few decades. Consultants and management attempted to diagnose organizational problems with climate surveys to solicit feedback for change. Feedback was also important providing management and senior leadership the information they needed in determining education and training needs and pay and incentive systems. Since climate surveys address practices and rites, etc.; they are a good barometer of measuring the effects and/or success of change. Climate surveys remain one of the best ways in which to involve all organization members, regardless of their level, in diagnosing and assessing organizational changes (n.d.). While determining the organizational climate is important, leadership must first identify the organizational culture and its sub-cultures if it wants to affect positive change and overcome resistance to change. Organizational Culture and Change

In today’s scholarly literature there are a myriad of theories about organizational culture and affecting change. One advocates that building strong cultures invariably leads to change. Another describes ways organizations can use transformational leadership to bring about change. Yet another theory advocates the use of behavioral surveys to diagnose an organization’s culture before attempting change. Culture surveys focus on employee values to decide if they need to be changed and if so, to identify ways to change them. These surveys are also used to identify factors necessary to empower teams and groups; enabling them to work together more efficiently. Whatever the...
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