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organisational culture change Free essay! Download now

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organisational culture change

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Culture change as a method of intervention
Organisational culture is ‘the pervasive set of norms and values that evolve in a company over a period of time’ (Armstrong and Stephens, 2005). In companies with a strong organisational culture, ‘employees would have the same set of values, i.e. ideas on how a particular organisation should operate’ (Van Den Berg and Wilderon, 2004). Organisational culture is therefore a key ingredient for corporate success. Its powerful and prevalent influence is also the most difficult organisational attribute to transform (Hill and Jones, 2001).

According to Charles Handy, there are four types of organisational culture. Firstly, power culture is present when there is a concentration of power from a central source and there is a competitive and political working environment. In contrast, role culture is based on a person’s position as opposed to their skills. It is highly regulated through procedures and rules. Task culture is when teams are created to solve problems, and power is derived based on expertise rather than on an employee’s position in the firm. Lastly, person culture is when the individual is the focal point, and implies that the organisation exists only to serve the individuals in it (Armstrong and Stephens, 2005).
Consistent with Handy’s approach, Edgar Schein identifies organisational culture as, ‘a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration’ (Schein, 1992). Under Schein’s model, organisational structure is divided into three cognitive levels. The most visible level is artifacts, which consists of behaviour patterns of culture that are difficult to understand. The following level consists of values, where personal values are widely expressed within the organization. At the deepest level is the organization's basic assumptions and values, which provides the essence of culture, that are not cognitively identified in everyday interactions between employees (Schein, 1992).
Organisational culture is an important variable in the change intervention equation. Change interventions are ways or methods that change can be executed in an organisation. The specific attributes of a company’s culture can have an effect on the way employees make sense of an organisation’s change initiatives, ultimately influencing their overall learning (Lucas & Kline, 2008). When the organisational change acts to modify pre-existing codes of behaviour within the company culture, it is likely to meet resistance (Trader-Leigh, 2002). However, company culture is often behind the need for change, due to reasons such as a lack of trust e.g. a breakdown of communication, cultural conflict e.g. several cultures existing in the one organisation, cultural misfit e.g. the culture is no longer relevant to the company and acquisitions or mergers e.g. the company needs to adapt to a new culture. All of these factors ...

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