Main points for implementing culture change

This chapter outlines 6 steps for implementing culture change using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) for cultural diagnosis activity.


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Underlying attributes of organizational culture include management style, strategic plans, climate, reward system, means of bonding, leadership and organizational values (pg. 72). To make a change in culture, some or all of these attributes may need to be tweaked.


The chapter reviews a case study of a firm which is in need of culture change and uses the OCAI methodology to implement such change. The organization, a large multinational manufacturer of circuit boards for the micro-electronics industry, believes that it could become more competitive and increase organizational effectiveness by making a culture change (pg. 73)


The 6 steps of OCAI (pgs.77-92) require the leadership team to:

Diagnose the organization’s current structure.
Decide on preferred or future culture profile for the organization.
Identify differential between current and future culture.
Illustrate key values to be permeated in the future culture by telling stories (for example, the SouthWest CEO working the baggage line). Based on discrepancies between current and future culture, determine emphasis to be placed on aspects of the organization’s culture. These aspects are as defined by the 4 quadrants (pg. 75); The Clan, the Adhocracy, the Hierarchy and the Market cultures.
Determine specific actions to foster desired change. To make the change effort effective, the following ten steps are suggested (pgs. 87-89):
i.            Identify small wins

ii.            Generate social support

iii.            Design follow-up and accountability

iv.            Provide information

v.            Measure

vi.            Create readiness

vii.            Explain why

viii.            Hold a funeral (for the past)

ix.            Implement symbolic change as well as substantive change

x.            Focus on processes


Create an implementation plan
By using the 6-step process, the leadership team of circuit board manufacturer determined that they wanted to emphasize the clan and adhocracy quadrants more and the hierarchy and market quadrants less. This then lead to the understanding what the emphasis would mean for the organizational culture. For example, they found that by emphasizing the clan quadrant, more support and employee involvement would be required. They then identified specific activities and action plans for implementing changes.

The ultimate result was success in implementing a self-managing team approach to culture change with minimal resistance, more shared awareness of the organization’s strengths and future direction (pgs. 74-77).
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Cameron, Kim S. & Quinn, Robert E., Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework, Addison-Wesley Series on Organization Development, 1999.

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