Can organizational cultures be changed

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Organization culture is an all-inclusive, deeply rooted and highly subconscious code of conduct that gives an organization it is tradition or “feel” and largely influences what within the organization is to be considered as correct and what is to be considered as incorrect.  It further determines what is significant and what is not significant, what is achievable and what is achievable and what is not achievable. It stipulates hoe and organization handle various situations and how the employees relate with one another. New employees to any organization normally adopt the organizational culture with the organization in order to understand how to work it and relate with their new colleagues. The culture is a product of the organization past in totality as well as a combination of current aspects, experiences and philosophies that work together to triumphantly create values that are generally accepted by all those working or associated. It creates an image that those associates with the organization will be comfortable to identify with. The cultures, because of being deeply rooted with in the organization, are normally difficult to change. In most cases they are inert, this is can be a source of great debate as to whether firms can change their organization culture or not. 

Organizational cultures are made up of relatively stable feature that are a product of their development over a period of time. According to Schabracq (2007) the procedural development of the culture is perhaps one of the greatest factors that make it inert. Having borrowed for positive occurrences in the course of existence of an organization, the employees hold onto it and as a result resist any attempts to restricting or shifting to a new culture. A Number of forces continually operating to maintain the culture-statements on organization mission, philosophy, the prevalent leadership style, the physical space and buildings, entrenched rituals, hiring criteria, popular stories about key events as well as people, previous promotion practices the organization formal outlook, and it historical performance evaluation criteria. Gilligan & Willigan, (2005) also note that these factors work together to ensure the stability of the organization culture.  When employees decide to work for an organization they do so because they feel that their values are in line with the values of the organization. As such they become totally satisfied with the status quo that they resist any pressure to change. As a result they end up maintaining the prevailing culture. Furthermore, those in charges if appointing new executives will tend it appoint those that will facilitate the maintenance of the culture as it is. Efforts by some organizations to change their culture by hiring new executives from other companies instead of promoting one of their own have proved futile thus attesting to the fact that organization cultures are static. In fact such new executive may find themselves adopting the culture that exists in their new station of work.  

However, change is perhaps the greatest force the world has ever experience. With the right combination of various factors and rightful efforts, even the most stable culture change. The outside environment is very dynamic changing with time. As a result organizations have to be able to adapt to new conditions and this calls for change. Failure to change and adoption of new culture could as well affect the performance of an organization thus. Many conditions can instigate cultural, the conditions include, a change in the leadership of the organization, a dramatic crisis, the age and size of a firm and the strength culture. One or a combination of two or more of these factors can lead to a change in the organization culture.  

A change in the top leadership can facilitate development and enacting of new values in an organization. The adoption of such new values may be base on various factors including the need to improve efficiency and out put. As the employees adopt this values the organization behavior and environment within an origination changes dramatically. Crises have also contributed to change of organization culture of many organizations. A crisis is an event that destabilizes the prevailing status quo within an organization and call for drastic measure to sustain the management and process that make the organization what it is. Crisis may include tragic occurrences such as an enormous loss of loss of an important client. It may also include challenges such a technological break through by a major competitor.  Cameron& Quinn, (2006) asserts that competition in the market leads to a change in firms strategies which make a great impact on it policies and subsequently the organization culture (Schein, 2004). On the other hand, weak culture can easily be changes by a slight force from agents of change. The difference between a weak culture and a strong culture is that, where as a weak culture is unpopular and not strongly held be member of staff a strong culture is popular and strongly held by the members of staff. Therefore, the unpopular culture is easily changed since the members of staff easily give it up.

Also age and size of organizations also matters so much. Young organizations in most cases have a culture that is not well established. As such a culture can easily be changes as the organization grows. Also small organizations have fewer employees who can be handled easily and thus making it easy to change the organization culture of the organization.

Though static, organization cultures can be changed, albeit, with difficulties. Having developed over time within the institution, the culture basically inculcates what the firm prefers to carry forward and identify with its history. As such changing the culture means dropping some aspects of the previous success that the employees would prefer to prevail therefore breeding resistance. However, as the strongest iron bows to the forces of rust over time, so does the organizational culture change with time. These changes however require correct timing and necessary convincing evidence or factors that change is inevitable. Actually it is easy to change than to resist change.

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