Understanding & Changing
Organizational Culture
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Organization culture
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What it is
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How it works
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How to change it….maybe
Popular cartoons are often blunt about what
is seen in some organizational cultures
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What is culture?
What are the organizational indications of culture?
How might you “diagnose” the health of a culture?
How is organizational culture formed?
How can culture be changed?
Levels of Change
Societal Culture
“Who we are,” customs
Organizational Culture
“The way we do things here”
Team Norms
What’s (un)acceptable;
“This is what we do”
Individual Personality
Values, beliefs,
temperament, habits;
“Who I am”
The Culture Iceberg: 90% hidden
Observable symbols,
ceremonies, slogans,
stories, dress,
physical settings,
decoration, etc.
Values, beliefs,
norms, customs,
nonverbal behavior,
etc.
Shorter,
easier to
change
Level of
conscious
awareness
Long term,
difficult to
change
Assessment of Corporate Culture (Schein):
An anthropological approach
Norms
• Expected Behavior
• Standards
• Chain of command
• Wardrobe
Folkways
• Customs
• Unconscious acts
• Shaking hands
• Arriving early
Languages
• Jargon
• terminology
Culture
Heroes & Heroines
• Personify values
• create role models
• intuitive & visionary
• ethic of creation not
competition
• success attainable
• symbolize company
• standard of performance
• motivate employees
Myths
• Frequently told stories
• Based on true or
imaginary events
• shared & told to
newcomers
Mores
• Subclass of folkways
• important to survival
• right-wrong behavior
• cheating on expenses
Ceremonies & Rites
• Elaborate, planned events to
celebrate values
• often dramatic in nature
• reinforce specific values
• create bond of common
understanding
• anoint cultural heroes &
heroines
Symbols
• Events & things with special
& deeply held meanings
• large office with window
• seating close to CEO
Survey/Data Feedback
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Identify area of concern & associated
beliefs & behaviors
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Involve system in survey selection or
construction
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Gather data
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Analyze data to contrast practice and beliefs
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Present to OD group
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Use Reflective Learning Model to
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identify discrepancies
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explore interpretations
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consider interventions
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Implement & evaluate
Denison Organizational Culture Survey
Assessment of
dimensions provides
feedback on strengths,
weaknesses, and
implications for change
Force-Field Analysis for achieving a culture that
promotes patient/client self-care in a general practice
Don’t push
the drivers…
…reduce
the barriers!
Team discussion
1. Describe the artifacts of a work
culture with which you are very
familiar
2. What are the underlying values and
culture that these artifacts represent?
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this culture?
4. Is there a gap between where the organization is and where it
would like to be?
5. If you were to attempt culture change, how would you go
about it?
Now the hard stuff…
(culture change)
• Requires a “damn good reason!”
to change
• Gap analysis is an important (if
not essential) motivator
• Culture almost always wins over
strategy
• Remove barriers, don’t push the
river
• There are usually “revenge
effects” (unexpected
consequences)
• It takes time (4-7 years)
The following slides are
only examples of various
approaches to describing
culture
Approaches to Understanding
Organizational Culture
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Deal & Kennedy’s Corporate Culture
Kilmann Saxton Culture Gap Survey
Denison Organization Culture Survey
Sonnenfeld & Peiperl’s Four Cultures
Reimann & Weiner’s Shared Values Model
Schein’s Qualitative Assessment
Hofstede’s dimensions of Culture
Sample Culture Change Retreat
Kilmann-Saxton Culture-Gap Survey
(actual vs. desired norms)
+ Improvement with
greater task support
(share information &
help others)
- Performance and morale
improve with change toward
less task support
+ more improvement with
increased task innovation
(make changes, encourage
creativity)
Technical
Concerns
Task
Support
Task
Innovation
Short
Term
+ improvement with social
relationships (participate, get
to know people)
- improvement with decrease in
social relations (don’t socialize
as much)
- performance and morale
improve with less task
innovation
Long
Term
Social
Relations
Personal
Freedom
Human
Concerns
+ increase personal freedom
(more discretion in following
rules)
- performance/morale improve
with decrease in personal
freedom (live for organization &
its values)
A Minus (-) score (unfilled bar) is a significant culture gap & indicates a
desire for less of something. An unfilled bar can be a cultural barrier to
organization success
Schneider Culture Model
Cameron & Quinn Model of Culture
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Slide 1