Cultural Change

Topics: Organizational culture, Culture, Organization Pages: 11 (3161 words) Published: April 16, 2013
Organization Culture And Change

Organizational culture – a popular but also a very complex concept – has been identified as an influential factor affecting the successes and failures of organizational change efforts. Organizational culture could be looked at as the pattern of shared valued, beliefs and assumptions considered being the appropriate way to think and act within an organization (Schneider, 1985). In other words, culture: the pattern of shared values, beliefs and assumptions considered to be the appropriate way to think and act within an organization. – Culture is shared

– Culture helps members solve problems
– Culture is taught to newcomers
– Culture strongly influences behavior
Generally, this shared culture is invisible to the employees and their interpretations are viewed as something unique to the individual—their personal opinions. People tend to surround themselves with others of like opinions and values, thus reinforcing their common beliefs and expectations.

Where does organization culture come from? It comes from the Organization founder, vision and mission statement, past practices, Top management attitude and behavior and through socialization - the process that helps employees adapt to the organization’s culture more quickly and effectively.

People/ Employees of the organization learn culture through stories, narratives of significant events or actions of people that convey the spirit of the organization, rituals, repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the values of the organization, material symbols, physical assets distinguishing the organization, language, acronyms and jargon of terms, phrases, and word meanings specific to an organization.

Keeling (1981, p.58), who offers that culture refers to an individual’s “theory of what his fellows know, believe and mean, his theory of the code being followed, the game being played, in the society into which he was born”. In a similar framework, Geertz (1973) views culture as a symbolic system (i.e., shared codes of meaning) that reflects understandings shared by social actors. These definitions all imply that culture affects ways members think, feel, and act.

According to Henry Mintzberg, “Culture is the soul of the organization — the beliefs and values, and how they are manifested. I think of the structure as the skeleton, and as the flesh and blood. And culture is the soul that holds the thing together and gives it life force.” There fore, culture is the social glue that helps and holds an organization together by providing appropriate standards for what employees should say or do.

People who have worked in different organizations agree that each organization is different from the other organization. Things are not done the same way in everywhere in the organization. Even businesses within the same industry can be quite different from each other. The difference is what management scholars call “organizational culture” or “corporate culture”. Therefore every organization has their own culture according to which they carry out their day-to-day activities and act and behave accordingly to it.

Do Organizations have uniform culture? Schein (2009), Deal & Kennedy (2000), Kotter (1992) and many others state that organizations often have very differing cultures as well as subcultures. Dominant Culture: expresses the core values that are shared by a majority of the organization’s members. Subcultures: mini cultures within an organization, typically defined by department designations and geographical separation. Core Values: the primary or dominant values that are accepted throughout the organization. Strong Culture: a culture in which the core values are intensely held and widely shared. Organizational culture is therefore different from national culture or ethnic culture. The national culture in which the business is based can however have some influence on that business’s organizational culture....

References: Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of culture. New York: Basic Books.
Keeling, R. M. (1981). Theories of culture. In R.W. Casson (Ed.), Language, culture and cognition (pp. 42- 66). New York: Macmillan.
B. Schneider, ‘‘Organizational Behavior,’’ Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 36, pp. 573–611, 1985.
Smircich, L. (1983): Concepts of Culture and Organizational Analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly: 28(3). Pp. 339-358.
. Cummings, T. G. and Huse, E. F. (1989). Organization Development and Change, 4th edition. St Paul, MN: West Publishing.
Cummings, T. G. and Worley, C. G. (1997). Organization Development and Change, 6th edition. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing.
. Deal T. E. and Kennedy, A. A. (1982, 2000) Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1982; reissue Perseus Books, 2000
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. Hofstede, Geert (1980) Culture 's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values, Beverly Hills, CA, Sage Publications, reprinted 1984
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. Kotter, John and Heskett, James L. (1992) Corporate Culture and Performance, Free Press; ISBN 0-02-918467-3
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. Lewin, K. (1946).‘Action research and minority problems’. In Lewin, G. W. (Ed.), Resolving Social Conflict. London: Harper & Row.
. Lewin, K. (1947a).‘Frontiers in group dynamics’. In Cartwright, D. (Ed.), Field Theory in Social Science. London: Social Science Paperbacks.
Ravasi, D., Schultz, M. (2006), "Responding to organizational identity threats: exploring the role of organizational culture", Academy of Management Journal, Vol.49, No.3, pp. 433–458.
Schein, E. H. (1996).‘Kurt Lewin 's change theory in the field and in the classroom: notes towards a model of management learning’. Systems Practice, 9, 1, 27–47.
Shein, Edgar (1992). Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. p. 9.
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