Organisational Behavior

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ALBA MSc In Strategic HRM
Understanding Organizations
Final take-home Exam

HENKEL CASE STUDY

a) Describe the new culture of Henkel, in terms of its artifacts as well as content. Critically compare Henkel’s culture before 2008 and after Kasper Rorsted’s arrival. Which key Differences can you identify? How can the new culture drive forward the new strategic objectives?

What is the magic recipe that can make a company effective, successful, fruitful and eventually “Number One”? Henkel with Rorsted on the lead and an ambition of becoming the Leader in the market had to move into radical changes. Radical changes which would lead to the new culture in terms of its artifacts and cultural content. An organizational culture can be described as the sum of the values and practices that a group or the employees within an organization share (McShane & Von Glinow, 2009, p. 416). McShane & Glinow (2009, p 416) describe organizational culture as the “organization’s DNA- invisible to the naked eye, yet a powerful template that shapes what happens in a workplace”. Culture is such a strong concept, it can actually create or even destroy a company (Christensen, 2006). An assumption well understood by Rorsted where in the case of Henkel moved into radical changes in terms of its artifacts and cultural content building a new culture by creating five new values. The goal is crystal clear, to make Henkel a winning culture, make Henkel Number One, anything less would be unacceptable. Thus, in order to achieve that Rorsted and the board of directors approved a new vision – “A global leader in brands and technologies” and five new values consisting of the following: 1. We put our CUSTOMERS at the center of what we do.

2. We value, challenge and reward our PEOPLE.
3. We drive excellent sustainable FINANCIAL performance.
4. We are committed to leadership in SUSTAINABILITY.
5. We build our future on our FAMILY business foundation. All the above brand new inspired values came to replace the old fashioned philosophy of the company where it was mainly consisted of the following artifacts: 1. We are customer driven

2. We develop superior brands and technologies.
3. We aspire to excellence in quality.
4. We strive for innovation.
5. We embrace change.
6. We are successful because of our people.
7. We are committed to shareholder value.
8. We are dedicated to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. 9. We communicate openly and actively.
10. We preserve the tradition of an open family company. In order for companies to be effective and competitive they must be flexible, open-minded and adaptive to the changes of the society. For the past few decades Henkel’s culture could be expressed in a few words as “we preserve the tradition of an open family” perpetuating and applying this philosophy to all of its components. However company cultures should grow and change over time. And this is what Rorsted manage to achieve. He managed to give a fecelift to the company. “A brand like friend” no longer seemed to express Henkel’s new strategy. The new competitive culture is not about “being friendly” but being the “winner in every market in which we compete”. Rorsted moved into radical changes in order to build the new culture. He had a clear mission, a vision and the values in order to transform and evolve the company. He placed a great emphasis on the commitment of the employees and tried to build strong and loyal relationships. He empowered and invited employees to play a role in the development of the new values by surveying executives and top managers and held workshops with the Henkel management board to talk over the new vision and values. He communicated over and over again the new culture and the new values to all employees by using a "360-degree” communication campaign either via Henkel’s intranet, posters, employee magazine and town hall meetings in all major...
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