Changing Organizational Cultures

Topics: Organizational culture, Culture, Organizational studies Pages: 5 (1597 words) Published: October 7, 2009
Changing Organizational Cultures
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...
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