Changing Organizational Cultures Essay
Changing Organizational Cultures Introduction An organization’s culture is a combination of the founder’s beliefs, values, ideas, and norms. Every organization is different and presents a different culture for its employees and customers. With most organizations the culture is strong and very difficult to change. Within these organizations there are dominate cultures and well formed subcultures. In the few organizations remaining, changing the organizational culture is easier, but requires time. Organizations Can Never Change Culture
The inability to change an organizations culture goes back to the beginning of each organization. In the beginning, the individual creating and building the organization will incorporate his or her own morals, values, and beliefs. This beginning sets the stage for the way the business will be run. Each individual hired will be hired with these morals, values, and beliefs in mind. An individual who is not seen as a good fit may not be hired. Other individuals who seem like they may be a good fit will begin the socialization process with the prearrival stage. They will begin to adapt to the organization’s preexisting culture. Robbins and Judge, 2008) They will go through several stages throughout the socialization process. Each one brings them a step closer to metamorphosis stage where they have essential changed and adapted to the culture around them. They become integrated and the odds of them leaving the organization diminish. The founder uses this process to construct a strong culture that will build loyalty and strong ties among workers. Once an organization has planted its cultural roots it cannot be changed. Within it, a dominate culture rises that supports the bulk of the shared values of the organizations.
Subcultures are formed that separate people into different departments and geographical locations. (Robbins and Judge, 2008) Employees develop relationships with each other. Production numbers are good, morale is good; why change? There are several factors that make an organizational culture rigid: ? The bonds employees make with each other; ?The rituals they create between themselves the help reflect the organization’s values; ? The hero’s they can relate themselves with; ?The symbols that begin to hold significant and special meaning; and ? The stories, legends, and myths created from experience. Bolognese, 2002) There are also psychological fears involved when attempting change in the organization’s culture. Employees do not understand the reasoning behind any change or trust that the company is still thinking about them. They feel that change will result in ultimate failure and that the organization as they see it will become extinct. Fear of loss, inadequacy, anxiety, comparison, and demolition prevent cultural change. (Bolognese, 2002) These fears, although irrational, prevent an organization from changing its culture. When an organization creates a set culture, the outside world sees and reacts to that culture.
It becomes the image the organization puts forth. (Robbins and Judge, 2008) As an example, many writers use pseudo names when branching into a different genre. This is because a suspense reader would not purchase a suspense book written by a romance author. Thus the author creates a false front with which to create a separate identity. Organizations Can Change Culture When an organization is formed and the founder sets up the foundation for it, it is often a trial and error process. The founder incorporates his own ideas, values, beliefs, and norms into the organization to create its culture.
This culture functions like a well oiled machine with new employees being hired and socialized into the organization and its culture. After a period of time diversity sneaks in, changes in technology and competition force an organization to reevaluate its current culture. Audits are performed and questions are asked. The small effect these two actions have will send a vibration throughout the whole organization. Some of the resistance factors can be hit head on in the beginning by involving the employees in the decisions being made. Heathfield, 2008) Key management members also need to be aware that in order to be enduring they should always be prepared and have a strategy for needed changes ready. (Cameron and Quinn, 1999) There are steps that, if worked through, can limit the resistance that would normally drive the culture change to a halt. These hints, given by Cameron and Quinn, will ease the culture change shock: ? Change something smaller and easier first; ?Build an association of supporters; ?Set short term goals/objectives; ?Communicate effectively and share information so that false information isn’t given; ?
Define the method for measuring results; ?Set up a system of rewards. (Cameron and Quinn, 1999) Another important beneficial factor to implement in changing an organizations culture would be the excitement factor. Building up hype and excitement for an upcoming change can bring many employees on board with the new idea. If at all possible a champion can lead more individuals to hop on the change bandwagon. Someone who is enthusiastic and gung ho about the idea is an ideal candidate. A champion needs to be a good motivator who has a positive influence among the employees.
An individual that is perceived as a hero would be a good champion. Once the change strategy has been implemented, it should be seen through unless it becomes apparent that it is to the detriment of the company and/or its employees. During this stage, forward momentum will increase the changes chances of success. (Eikenberry, 2008) Throughout the process of implementing a cultural change the employees’ wants and needs should be monitored. If, at any point, it is seen that the employees are not satisfied with the changes, then questions need to be asked to find out why.
Some issues are easily answered and dismissed, but others will require a bit of thought and work. Sometimes these issues only appear to be problems and when answered they provide valuable insight and could change the way the change strategy is working. Using as many tools as possible to save an organization time, money, and resources. (Heathfield, 2008) This benefits everyone. An organizations culture may appear set in stone, but in the event of a dramatic crisis, a turnover in leadership, a weak culture, or a young or small organization a culture change would most likely take place.
All that is required to ensure the success of an organizations culture is time, patience, good communication, and a strong willingness to work together as a team. (Robbins and Judge, 2008) Even larger organizations require a culture change. In the news more and more recently are the many Americans who believe that our government could stand a good culture change and while some citizens still fear any change that might be made, they also realize that any change made will be for the betterment of the whole country. With the recent presidential election completed we all wait hopefully for the changes we see coming.
President Obama has successfully set goals, built excitement, and built an association of followers. Personal Outlook I feel that change in any form or fashion is often difficult for people to accept, but it can, and often is, accomplished. Simply put, it is the fear of the unknown and what might happen that holds everyone hostage. When an individual accepts a position within an organization he has studied its current culture and it appealed to him. The current culture matches his values, beliefs, and norms. That is why he applied and accepted a job within that company.
When told that change is being implemented employees automatically start thinking of all the ways this change can and will affect them. Their first thought is not for the organization. Even loyalty has its boundaries. After employees are confident that the impending change does not directly affect them, they then look around and begin to wonder who it will affect and what will actually change. If there is direct and open communication, this transition is much easier for everyone involved. Employees feel trusted and believe in what the organization is telling them about the change.
I feel that asking questions and constantly evaluating also increases an organizations chances of cultural change. I know that if an organizational cultural change is planned, implemented, and performed correctly then the changes will be much easier for all involved. It is when individuals in positions of power hide issues or concerns that any cultural change will fail. An organization has to be completely open and honest with its employees because they are the main component. Their resistance or cooperation could spell the failure or success of a cultural change.
No one wants a failure on their record and change is detrimental to keeping up with today’s diverse society. With the invention of the internet, satellites, and organizational globalization it is now more important to make sure an organization is flexible enough to withstand the changes that come along with growth and diversity. Resources Bolognese, A (2002). Employee Resistance to Organizational Change. Retrieved November 15, 2008, from New Foundations Web site: http://www. newfoundations. com/OrgTheory/Bolognese721. html Cameron, K, & Quinn, R (1999). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework.
New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Eikenberry, K (Modified 2008, February 15). Change your organizational culture. Retrieved November 17, 2008, from The Sideboard: Practical advice, straight from the experts Web site: http://www. sideroad. com/Leadership/change-culture-organizational. html Heathfield, S (2008). How to Change Your Culture: Organizational Culture Change. Retrieved November 12, 2008, from About. com Web site: http://humanresources. about. com/od/organizationalculture/a/culture_change_2. htm Robbins, S, & Judge, T (2008). Organizational Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.