Change Management and Organizational Culture

Topics: Culture, Organizational culture, Organization Pages: 9 (3242 words) Published: October 22, 2008
Concept of Culture2
What is Organizational Culture3
The Internet and Organizational Culture3
Cultural Change5
The Classical Approach to Cultural Description5
New Ways of Describing Culture6
Culture as Emergence7
Steps in Organizational Culture Change8
Managing Organization Cultural Change8

Concept of Culture
The concept of culture is complex and definitions of culture vary. The anthropologist Edward Tylor defined culture in the late 1800s as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and other capabilities acquired by a man as a member of a society” (Hill, 2005). More recently, Hofstede has defined culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group or category of people from another” (Hofstede, 1984). Furthermore, De Long & Fahey (2000) describe culture more generally as a system of values, norms, and practices that are shared among a group of people and that, when taken together, constitute a design for living. Values are ideas about what a group believes to be good, right and desirable. This is the deepest level of culture since values are often embedded in tacit preferences as well as they are difficult to articulate and change. Norms are derived from values and can be described as social rules and guidelines that prescribe appropriate behavior in particular situations. Therefore, they are more observable as well as easier to identify and change. Practices are the most visible symbols and manifestations of culture. They are a way of understanding any widely understood set of repetitive behaviors and they also include repeated types of interaction that have identifiable roles and social roles. In other words, values, norms and practices are fundamentally interrelated, since values are manifested in norms which in turn shape specific practices. (De Long & Fahey, 2000)

What is Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is the characteristic spirit and belief of an organization, demonstrated in the norms and values that are generally held about the way people should behave and treat one another, the nature of the working relationships that should be developed and the attitudes to change (Torrington & Hall, 1991). Like morale in the military, organizational culture is the great invisible force that decides the difference between success and failure and serves as the key to organizational change, productivity, effectiveness, control, innovation and communication (Feldman, 2002). The Internet and Organizational Culture

The lure of the Internet for many organizations is that it not only presents a low-cost strategy of delivering goods and services to the traditional markets of companies (Peterson, 1997) but also enables every organization to establish both a national and an international presence without the usual costs associated with such ventures (Lee, 2003). However, this technology has also led to a range of dilemmas for organizations especially those that are commonly described as traditional ‘bricks-and mortar’ firms (Kanter, 2001). Scholars have discussed the difficulties that organizations face in deciding whether to establish their Internet operations as separate businesses with distinct corporate identities or whether these activities should be integrated into existing businesses (Yakhlef, 2001). Furthermore, researchers have alluded to the potential implication that the Internet could have for competitive positioning, strategy making and managerial roles in organizations (Porter, 2001). Although much theoretical and practitioner discussion has been forwarded on various aspects of the Internet phenomenon, there is a surprising lack of research on the implications of this technology for managing people in general and for organizational culture in particular. However, a limited number of studies have provided some...

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