Organisational Change: Can an Organisational Culture Be Changed?

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Organisational change: can an organisational culture be changed?

Despite its ordered and steady foundation, organisational culture can be changed if it is guided by a comprehensive strategy. An organisations culture is founded by relatively stable characteristics, based deeply on values that are enforced by organisational practices. However, an organisational culture can be changed. This essay will aim to establish this and explain the measures which are involved in changing an organisational culture. In order to explore this, the notion of organisation culture will be defined. In addition, the reasons and situational factors that bring about the need for cultural change will be explored, in line with the effectiveness of strategies for managing cultural change. Lastly, past attempts to change organisational culture including both successes and failures will be investigated. All in all, this essay will prove how organisational culture is a stable notion which has the ability to be changed.

Zeffane & Fitzgerald identify organisational culture as “the system of shared beliefs and values that develops within an organisation and guides the behaviour of its members” (Zeffane & Fitzgerald, 2006, p. 310). This identifies the foundations of organisational culture, demonstrating the key concepts that exist within them.

The importance of organisational culture can be examined by observing culture overall. This can be seen in the three levels of cultural analysis: observable culture, shared values and common assumptions (Zeffane & Fitzgerald, 2006). This demonstrates the layers of organisational culture starting at observable culture which highlights the way in which a group teaches new members (Zeffane & Fitzgerald, 2006). In addition, the second level of analysis is shared values. These values are helpful in linking members together by demonstrating the common values shared within an organisation. Lastly, the third level is common assumptions, this level holds a collection of perceptions which join the experiences of each individual and give direction to their values and behaviours (Zeffane & Fitzgerald, 2006). Therefore, these measures of cultural analysis exemplify a cultures framework and what influences and determines an organisational culture. This depicts the comprehensive structure of organisational culture and the importance of this framework. In addition, it shapes how this structure, albeit strong is subject to change. This notion of change will be discussed further in regards to its factors, reasons for change and past attempts for change.

Today, businesses are bombarded by incredibly high rates of change (Kong, 2011). With this in mind, there are numerous factors that influence and alter an organisations culture. These factors may include management, technology that is present, organisations size and structure and the workforce dynamic. The external environment also plays part in shaping an organisations culture (Zeffane & Fitzgerald, 2006, p. 324). This detects that an organisations external environment, made up of society and the outside environment, goes through continuous change, which in effect has a significant impact on cultural change continually within organisations. But organisations may also feel the need to change or modify the organisational culture for a various number of other reasons. These reasons may include lack of morale, lack of job motivation, lack of job meaning, and changes in the business (McNamara, n.d.). As Milikic (2007) states, “significant strategic and radical organisational changes can not occur if they are not supported by the organisations values and behavioural norms” (Milikic, 2007 p. 10). This reiterates the notion that both internal and external factors influence the need for cultural change within an organisation which can only be accomplished by identifying and understanding the forces which drive organisational culture.

“As society changes so does the...
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