It is extensively acknowledge that organizational culture plays an increasingly essential role in a successful company. However, in the meanwhile whether organizational culture should be changed constitutes a controversial issue. Many managers assert that organizational culture must be changed while few others argue that organizational culture needs not to be changed. As far as I am concerned, I am in favor of the former view. In this essay, firstly, I will talk about what is organizational culture and what do organizational cultures do.
In the second place, I will discuss why organizational culture should be changed. Thirdly, I will analyze the risks of organizational culture change. Finally, I will expatiate how to prevent risks of organizational culture change. What is organizational culture? A number of years back, I watched an American reality television The Apprentice, and I remember a player was asked what he thought organizational culture mean by Doanld Trump. He said: “I can’t express it, however,I get it when I see it. ” Most people cannot define organizational culture accurately by concise word.
However there seems to be widely recognized that organizational culture indicates a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations. (Becker, 1982, pp. 513-27; and Schein 1985 p. 168) This shared system meaning is, on further investigation, a series of important features that the organization values. The investigation advises that there are seven main features that, gather up the threads, constitute the essence of an organizational culture. (Reilly III, Chatman, Jehn, 1991, pp. 487-516; and Chatman, Jehn, 1994, pp. 522-553; Ashkanasy, Wilderom, Peterson, 2000) 1.
Innovation and adventure: the extent to which employees are encouraged to be make innovations and adventure. 2. Detail oriented: the extent to which employees are anticipated to exhibit meticulous, analysis and detail oriented. 3. Attention to outcome: the extent to which management attach importance to results or outcomes rather than on the skills and processes used to achieve those outcomes.
Attention to people: the extent to which management decision take into regard the influence of results on people within the organization. 5. Attention to team: the extent to which job activities are organized around teams rather than individuals. . Aggressiveness: the extent to which people are aggressive and competitive rather than easygoing 7. Stability: the extent to which organizational activities stress keeping the status quo by comparison to growth and development. There is no denying that organizational culture is just a descriptive concept, because of organizational culture is paid attention to how employees perceive the features of their organization’s culture, not with whether or not they like it. Furthermore, it is obvious that a company cannot have only one organizational culture.
As we know, there are many employees who have different background or at different levels in a company, so they must have different perspective with organizational culture. In the mean time, there are two different cultures in one company, dominant culture and subculture. Dominant culture describes the core values that are shared by a most of the employees, when we talk about an organizational culture, we are referring to its dominant culture; In general, subculture develop in a big company to reflex conjunct problems, situations or experiences that staff meet. What do cultures do?
Culture has a variety of functions in an organization. First, it creates distinctions between one organization and others. Second, it expresses a sense of identity for employees. Third, it precipitates employees not only care one’s individual self-interest, but also care whole organizational interest. Fourth, it improves the stability of the organization. Finally, culture serves as a sense- making and control mechanism that guides and shapes the attitudes and behavior of employees. (Reilly, Chatman, Staw, Cummings, 1996). Why organizational culture should be changed?
Compelling arguments can be made that organizational culture should be changed, immediately. The first point with respect to this is that our society is advancing at an amazing speed in this day and age, more and more organizations face a dynamic and changing environment. As a consequence, all organizations must adapt to the changeable society. ‘Change or die! ’ is the rallying cry among today’s manager worldwide. In the second place, with the development of technology and science, the sense of distance between people getting closer, our world became a multicultural environment.
Therefore, many companies have to do adjustment to adapt environment. More precisely, many companies must spend large amount of money and much energy on training to improve skills of employees. Last but not least, in this world, competition is a part of our lives, never disappear. Especially in the business society, the weaks are the prey of the strongs, increasing competition makes it inevitable for builded organizations to defend themselves against both traditional competitors who develop new products and services, and small entrepreneurial firms with innovative offerings.
This makes sense in that a good organization will be the ones that can change according to the competition. They followed the steps of the times, able to develop new products quickly and put them on the market. They accelerate production operations, shortened product cycle and constantly produce new products that can adapt to radically-changing environment. The risks of organizational culture On the other hand, colorable arguments can be made that organizational culture should not to be changed.
This argument has considerable merit in that every little change can bring huge risks, especially for a business organization. For example, a change is scheduled and employees as soon as possible respond by voicing complaints, demotivation, even threatening go on strike and so on. In general, risk can be divided two big parts, individual risks and organizational risks. Individual sources of risk belong to primary human characteristics such as consciousness, characteristics and requirements. There are five different risks in individual resources.
Custom (Habit): Do you go to school or work always through same route every day? Most people’s answer: “Yes! ” Our lives are so complicated, we have to make hundreds of decisions. Therefore, face to life’s complexities, we lean upon habits or programmed responses. However, when faced with change, this tendency to respond in our usual ways becomes a source of risk. For instance, when your department moves to another new building, it means you have to change your habits: get up earlier ten minutes; pass a new street go to work; look for a new parking; adapt to new office’s overall arrangement and so on. . Security: People with a high need for security are likely to resist change because it threatens their feelings of safety.
For example, when Sony&Ericsson announced to lay off 17000 employees or Ford will introduce new robots, these employees feel their job unsafe. 3. Economic: Changes in work tasks or job specification can lead to economic fears if people are cared that they would not be able to adapt to new tasks or standards, especially when reward is closely related to productivity. 4. Fear of the unknown: Change replaces vagueness and indetermination for the unknown.
When we graduated from high school ready enter university was a wonderful example. In high school, we understood that what things need to do, you maybe dislike high school life, but at least, you know this system. We faced a fresh and uncertainty system in university, you have to sacrifice your know to exchange unknown, it was associated with uncertainty fears. 5. Selective information processing: Individuals are sinful of selective processing information in the cause of maintain their whole consciousness.
They hear what they want to hear and they ignore information that challenges the world they have created. Organization is conservative for its essentially, it resist change energetically. (Hall, 1987) This phenomenon can be seen everywhere, for example, governmental agencies want to continue devote oneself to their work, no matter what the market need to change; The organized religion has ineradicable history, changing religious doctrine need great perseverance and patience; Many business companies also think change can bring many risks.
There are six organizational sources of risk. (Katz, Kahn, 1978) 1. Structural inertia: Organizations keep their stability by inner mechanism, like their selection processes that choose employees in or out very systematically; Training and other socialize technology strengthen requests and skills for every concrete role; Organizational normalization provides job specifications, rules and regulations to employees. After selection, the satisfactory employees can enter organization, then, organization will model and guide their behaviors by kind of way.
When an organization is meted with change, this structural inertia act as risk (even counterbalance) to maintain stability. 2. Limited Change attention: Organizations are made up of a quantity of interdependent subsystems. One cannot be changed without influencing the others. More exactly, in the meantime, organizations just change technological process, and not change organizational structure for match it, so technological change cannot adapt to. It seems that limited change in subsystems tend to be nullified by the lager system. 3. Group inertness:
Even though individuals want to change their behavior, group criterion may act as a force of constraint. For instance, an unionist maybe accept job change from capital, but if union regulation provide that resist any change by capital unilaterally change, therefore risk will appear. 4. Threat to professional knowledge: Changes in organizational model may threaten the expertise of specialized groups. In 1980s, the process of adopting distributed personal computer was a good example. This computer can let user direct got information from host computer of company, but it encountered many information departments’ counterview.
Why, because the use distributed computers can bring risks for special technology of information departments. 5. Threat to established power relationships: Any reapportionment of decision-making power can threaten long-established power relationships within organization. Participative decision and self-management work team are belong to this change, it used to be threaten by low-level managers. 6. Threat to established resource distributions: Groups in the organization that control considerable resources see change as a risk.
They tend to be gratify with the way things are. For instance, whether change means their budget or members decreasing? Those groups which can get much benefit from existing resource allocations used to be threaten by future allocations. How to prevent risks of organizational culture change? Although Organizational change brings many risks, in some ways, this is positive. It regulates a degree of stability and predictability to behavior. If there were not some risks, organizational behavior would take on the representatives of chaotic randomness.
According to these risks, there were six tactics have been suggested for use by change planners in dealing with preventing risks. (Kotter, Schlesinger, 1979) 1. Education and Communication: Risk can be reduced through communicating with employees to help them understand the logic of a change. The fundamental assumption of this strategy is the reason of producing risks that fights the effects of misinformation and miscommunication; if employees see all facts and eliminate entire misread, risks should disappear. Our communication could through talk personally, group discussion, memorandum, report and so on.
Indeed, research shows that the way the need for change is sold matters-change is more likely when the necessity of changing is packaged properly. (Dutton, Ashford, O’Neill, Lawrence, 2001) By the way, when the risk of change definitely from miscommunication and labor relations character by mutual trust, this tactic does work; if these conditions cannot be have, it does not work. 2. Participation: It is difficult for individuals to hit back a change decision in which they participated. Before changing, those opposed can be brought into the decision process.
Presuming that the participants have the professional knowledge to make a meaningful contribution, their participation can reduce risk, obtain promise, and improve the quality of change decision. However, this tactic has two disadvantages. First, it maybe has potential poor decision; second, it would take much time. 3. Support and Promotion: Change planners can provide a range of supportive measures to reduce risk. When employees feel fear and worried, the company should offer recommendation and counseling psychology, new-technologies training or a short paid leave of holiday may promote adjustment.
Research on middle managers has shown that when managers or employees have low emotional commitment to change, they favor the status quo and resist it. (Huy, 2002, pp. 31-69) 4. Negotiation: Another way for the change planner to cope with potential risk to change is to exchange something valuable for waken risk. For example, if the risk is concentrated in some powerful individuals, a detailed payment scheme can be negotiated that will satisfy their individual needs. Negotiation as a tactic may be necessary when risk comes from a powerful provenience. But, planner cannot ignore its potentially high costs.
On the side, if change planner negotiates with one party to avoid risk, he or she is open to the possibility of being extorted by other individuals which have power. 5. Control and Cooptation: Manipulation deal with concealed influence attempts. Some illustration of this are twisting and misinterpretation facts to make them more attractive, blocking undesirable information, and creating rumors to get employees to accept change. If managers threatens to closed down a extraordinary manufacturing plant if that plant’s employees do not accept an across-the-board pay cut, and if the threat is actually untrue, managers is using manipulation.
Cooptation, on the other side, is a mode of both manipulation and participation. It try to find ‘buy off’ the leaders of against group by giving them an important role in the change decision. The leader’s suggestion is explored, not to seek a good decision, but to get their authorization. Both manipulation and cooptation are comparatively low-cost and easy ways to enhance the support of opponents, but the tactics can backfire if the targets become conscious that they are being tricked or used. If by any chance detected, the change planner’s reputation may drop to zero.
It used by change planners in dealing with opponents to change; that is, the application of direct thrusts or force on the opponents. The color is quite mandatory, if the company management indicated to in the previous discussion really is determined to shut down if employees do not agree with a pay cut. Other examples of coercion are threats of transfer, loss of promotions, negative performance appraisal and so on. The advantages and disadvantages coercion are similar to the benefits and drawbacks of manipulation and cooptation.
For my part, after considering the arguments above, I would concede that organizational change can bring many risk, the members of conservative not support change. Nevertheless, despite that I think the organizations should be changed, every day is different, anything would be changed as time goes on. Overall, I am convinced that with development of society, managers will discover many effective change plans to adapt to market competition.