To What Extent Do You Think It Is Possible for Leaders to Manipulate Organisational Culture to Achieve Improved Performance?

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MSc in Security and Risk Management

‘To what extent do you think it is possible for leaders to manipulate organisational culture to achieve improved performance? Support your answer with examples from one or more organisations with which you are familiar’

3777 words

Organisational culture, which is defined by Handy (1993) as the concepts and ideas which govern the behaviour of people and organisations, has a significant impact on the effectiveness of an organisation. Handy listed over sixty different variables which contribute towards an organisation’s culture including the style of leadership evident, the systems and structures which support the organisation and how the different sub groups within the organisation relate and work with each other. He felt that analysis and thorough understanding of an organisation’s culture could inform management decisions and make leadership more effective by taking into consideration both the environment in which people operated (physical, financial and technological) and the roles, motivations, ability and individuals who understood the work (Handy 1993). Mullins (2007) identifies a leader as someone who focuses on the long-term goals strategically planning for the future with а vision inspiring others to help achieve that goal. It could be surmised that if it was possible for a leader to manipulate organisational culture they could in turn achieve improved performance. This essay will investigate this concept, considering the possibility within the context of Nexen Inc, Canadian based oil and gas company’s operations in Yemen, where the author currently is employed. Firstly organisational culture will be defined and the formal and informal organisational culture of Nexen will be evaluated. The essay will then go on to consider how these cultures impact on security and will assess the importance of culture within this environment. The essay will then explore if, in the case of Nexen, cultural changes can be implemented by identifying the benefits and process of changing organisational culture and evaluating whether the benefits of changing culture outweigh the difficulties It will conclude by assessing if it is possible for a leader to manipulate organisational culture in order to improve performance.

Canadian Nexen Inc and Canadian Nexen Petroleum is the fourth largest oil and gas company in Canada which was able to establish its operations in the Yemen, Canada, Gulf of Mexico, and off shore West Africa (Reference for Business, 2010). Canadian Nexen Inc. appears to be a successful corporation able to integrate international joint ventures in its business plan (Reference for Business, 2010). The fact that it’s stock price has steadily increased even amidst the economic struggle indicates the sturdy management and work ethic culture of the company in mitigating the effects of even the current financial crisis (Walcoff, 2010). Although the company is involved the global business arena its management remains centralised and hierarchical in nature, this is evidenced in their organisational charts and decision making structure (Nexen Inc, 2010). In its main office in Calgary, Canada, Marvin Romanow leads Canadian Nexen Petroleum as its President and CEO, assisted by the Executive Vice President and also a Chief Financial Officer (Nexen Inc, 2010). These two key figures represent the highest managerial positions in Canadian Nexen Inc.’s operations and they have the power and prerogative to set the ‘tone’ in the leadership and management of the whole corporation (Nexen Inc, 2010). Nexen is a tall hierarchical structure which is bureaucratic in nature however this is not unusual in an organisation of its size (Mullins, 2007). The organisational structure of Canadian Nexen, Inc. delegates responsibility to Country managers for the establishment of supervisorial positions in its local offices.

Nexen is a tall hierarchical structure which is bureaucratic in nature however this is...
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