Example Business Essay Organisational Culture and Change

Example Business Essay Organisational Culture and Change
Culture within an organisational context is a widely explored paradigm. It's nature and mottled definitions have formed the basis of organisational study for many decades. From Handy's cultural forms in the notorious "Gods of Management"3, to the Morganest metaphoric representations of the concept such as, culture as a web, an onion, or an iceberg6. Therefore, the contents of culture encompasses a wide range of organisational phenomena including surface features such as values and forms of expression: preconscious factors such as symbols and norms: and deep structures such as basic assumptions and worldviews
They all imply that culture is an integral part of organisations, that without due consideration, development of strategy will ultimately lead to failure, leading to the assumption that culture should always fit with organisational strategy. Revenaugh2 suggests that most researchers assume that corporate culture is an important consideration for understanding and effectively managing organisations, and thus supports that argument. Bringing me to the purpose of this essay, which is to explore the context of organisational culture in more depth and come to a more discernable conclusion about its relationship with strategic management.

As a result of its wide and varying definitions, corporate culture can be hard to define, measure or manage; these definitions reveal culture to be a complex concept that involves many factors as suggested by numerous academics such as Pettigrew5. Thompson and Strickland (1987) offer this explanation: "Every organisation is a unique culture, it has its own special history of how the organisation has been managed, its own set of ways of approaching problems and conducting activities, its own mix of managerial personalities and styles, its own established patterns of "how we do things around here", its own legendary set of war stories and heroes, its own experiences of how changes have been instituted - in other words, its own climate, folklore and organisation personality"2. Naturally there are other definitions given but the basic thinking of this concept in organisational terms is twofold. As a component that represents the core of the organisation and it's way of doing things or as its Achilles heel.

The first view sees culture in terms of encapsulating distinctive competences8. The later though is often attributed to the term "Icarus Paradox" (Miller 1990)6. Miller argues that there is a tendency for organisations to become victims of the very success of their past. Here arises the concept of strategic drift, where an organisations response to the changing environment is often within the parameters of the organisations culture, which over time becomes more and more apparent. In this respect culture is traditionally seen as a preventative to change, which stifles innovation and results in a momentum of strategy that can lead to strategic drift. In short the organisations response to the business environment is internally constructed rather than objectively understood. This view therefore supports the assumption that strategic change must always be accompanied by an appropriate cultural change.

The opposite of strategic drift is strategic fit. This is also known as the process of incremental development. Quinn (1980) and Lindblom (1958)11 have argued that incremental development in organisations is not only inevitable, but also logical. Managers are aware that it is not possible to know about all the influences that could affect the future of the organisation.

So to cope with uncertainty, strategies must be developed in stages, carrying members of the organisation with them.This allows the organisation to try out new ideas and experiences to see which are likely to be effective and to stimulate commitment within the organisation through continual, but low scale change. Mintzberg and Waters (1985)9, argue that building too much upon what manager's espouse is precarious because whether managers choose to follow the notion of logical incrementalism or not is irrelevant, because it doesn't automatically follow that they behave in such ways. This highlights the difference between the intended strategy and the one actually being followed - the realised strategy. This difference is often attributed to some unseen internal power, which for the purpose of this essay we will call culture.

The point is there has been a good deal of discussion in recent years about the formulation and implementation of strategy. Thus the argument I'm trying to represent here is that for strategic change to be effective practitioners must bear in mind cultural constraints. In other words, the proposition that cultures should always fit with organisational strategy is correct but only because it assumes that culture can be measured and controlled. The rationalistic models (such as logical incrementalism) that have dominated the complexity we call scientific management, are only the tip of the iceberg, and should only be seen as an integral part of a much wider process, as there are other explanations that explicate how managers cope with the complexity of managing change. Allaire and Firsirotu (1984)1 for instance suggest that how the organisation scans its environment is of major importance, that leadership, decision-making style, and organisational design are of significance to the process, but the argument put forward by Schein4 is that the concept of organisational culture embraces all of these variables, therefore organisational strategy is the outcome of organisational culture, not the other way around.

Example Business Essay Organisational Culture and Change 7.6 of 10 on the basis of 1310 Review.