Can Organisational Culture Be Changed?

Question: Can Organisational Culture be changed? Management within an organisation has the ability to re-shape, re-engineer, re-organise and change their organisation and organisational culture, the majority of organisation’s today, have the ability to change their culture, however, at the same time, it is a very difficult and demanding task. This is where the four main functions of managing come into play; planning, controlling, leading and organising. Robbins at al (2009, p. 4) defines organisational culture as “a system of shared values, principles, traditions and ways of doing things that influence the way organisational members act. ” This essay will further look into how and if an organisation’s culture can be changed, weighed up against organisation’s resisting change, how this resistance can be managed and strategies to maintain change within an organisation. Organisational culture change may occur when there is a shift in success strategy of the company or as the organisation goes through various lifecycles.

Change within an organisational culture can fundamentally fall into three categories; changing structure, changing technology and changing people. If each of these categories is thought about and implemented correctly it can have an array of advantages on the organisation. Changing an organisation’s structure is a long term and thought about process. It needs commitment from the leadership team to provide the necessary resources for successful implementation. Sims. (2000, p. 65-78) explores the effects of changing an organisation’s culture under new leadership.

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The journal article explores “The recent bond trading scandal at Salomon Brothers and demonstrates that a successful turnaround does not just happen spontaneously. In particular, it argues that new leadership, altering policies, structure, behaviour and beliefs are paramount to successfully change an organisational culture that supports ethical behaviour. ” Changing the structure, technology and people can improve employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, financial performance and give the organisation a competitive advantage.

Internal and external factors have a large impact on the four functions of management within an organisation. What these factors are and the kind of impact they have depends on the business and its particular goals. Brown Rudnick is an international law firm whose goal is reflected in its mission statement; “To achieve results that exceed expectations through Our commitment to Our clients adding maximum value to their business”. In order to achieve these goals managers must follow the four main functions of management which are, planning, organising, leading and controlling.

Management must also be aware of how the internal and external factors can impact these factors. External factors of change can come in a number of different forms. The introduction of government laws and regulations, technology and economic changes are just some examples of external factors that could have a huge effect on an organisation. Managers a Brown Rudnick need to be able to plan for situations such a natural disasters where their client’s needs are unable to be met. Internal factors however usually arise from external forces of change.

The introduction of new equipment, employee attitudes and change in management team are just some examples of internal factors that could have a devastating effect on an organisation. Organisational change may threaten the self-interests of some managers within an organisation, potentially diminishing their power or influence. In so, managers involved may resist or fight the change within an organisation. Steven Jobs director and chief of Apple is a great example of resistance to change.

He hired John Sculley to bring professional management to the organisation. However, when John started implementing changes to take part within the organisation, Steven’s status and self-confidence were being threatened and so John was fired. This is a great example of organisational culture that could not be changed. However in order to deal with such situations managers should be able to deal and cope with resistance to change. Managerial actions to reduce resistance to change are listed by Robbins (2009 p. 392).

They include “Education and Communication, Participation, Facilitation and Support, Negotiation, Manipulation and Co-Optation, Selecting employees who accept change and Coercion. ” Kurt Lewin’s force-field analysis method is a prodigious tool for analysing change techniques. According to Robbins (2009 p. 391) “This method proposes that two sets of forces operate in any system – forces that operate for change (the driving forces) and forces that operate against change (the resisting forces). If the two sets of forces are equal in strength then the system is in equilibrium. By approaching and using these techniques systematically and creating explicit links between employees’ commitment and the company’s necessary change outcome, managers dramatically improve the probability of attaining organisation change. It is the responsibility of management to not only implement change but maintain and control it within an organisation. Organisation’s must acquire and utilize techniques to optimise their core competencies and to strengthen their organisational capability. Implementing change is just one step in the change process.

Maintaining the change within an organisation is an entire separate component. Managers must lead by example and be positive role models within their organisation. Another strategy for maintaining cultural change is by creating new stories, symbols and rituals within the organisation, and replacing unwritten norms with clearly specified expectations. Organisational culture involves attitudes, practices, ideas and values of an organisation. It consists of the standard that is shared by the people in a given organisation and that determine the way they get along within one another and the organisational stakeholders.

A case study on a Chinese telecom company is a great example exploring the ideas that an organisation’s culture can be changed. In 2008, a drastic culture change was undertaken in the Chinese telecommunication industry. Six telecom companies were reconstructed to three: China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom to form part of Anhui Telecom. This case study discusses how Anhui was able to implement and maintain change within their organisation. Zhao and Liu, (2010 p. 232) illustrate how Anhui Telecom was able to make the change so successful. By building up flexible and various personnel selection mechanisms, market – orientated employment mechanism and salary distribution mechanism in which the revenue matches with contribution and risk, Anhui Telecom not only has guaranteed the requirements for employees ability, but also has formed a fair internal competitive environment which improved the equity sense of employees and their commitment to the organisation, and encouraged employees to exert their own ability so as to work hard for the realisation of the organisational objective at the end”. The organisational hange of Anhui Telecom is the consequence of change in the external environment due to change of rules and regulations, and development of information technology. “Culture consists of some combination of artefacts, values and beliefs and underlying assumptions that organisational members share about appropriate behaviour. ” Gordon & DiTomaso (1992 p. 783). As such, according to Davis (1984) organisational culture refers to “a set of shared values, beliefs, assumptions and practices that shape and guide members’ attitudes and behaviour in the organisation. In summary an organisations culture can be changed if management follow the four main functions; planning, controlling, organising and leading. Management must be able to deal with internal and external forces of change which could in the long run have detrimental effects on an organisation. Managers must also be able to cope and maintain change within an organisation. References Alvesson, M. (1990). On the popularity of organizational culture. Acta Sociologica (Taylor & Francis Ltd), 33(1), 31-49.

Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Burke, W. , & Litwin, G. H. (1992). A Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change. Journal of Management, 18(3), 523. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Davis, S. (1984), Managing Corporate Culture, Balinger, Cambridge, MA Gordon, G. G and DiTomaso, N. (1992), “Predicting corporate performance from organisational culture”. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 29 No. 6. p. 793-98 Robbins, Bergman, Stagg & Coulter. (2009). Foundations of Management 3. Frenchs Forest, N.

S. W. : Pearson Education Sims, R. R. (2000). Changing an Organization’s Culture Under New Leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 25(1), 65-78. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Zhao, Y. ; Liu, Y. (2010). International Journal of Business Management. How to Change an Organisation to Fit the Dynamic Environment: A Case Study on a Telecom Company of China, 25(1), 236-234. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Mission Statements. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. missionstatements. com/legal_mission_statements. html



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