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Any organizational culture interventions are designed to address issues that affect almost everybody within that culture. These interventions are done for a number of reasons. There are always enormous pressures on organizations to reduce costs, increase productivity, speed up cycle time of product development, clarify direction, improve morale, and increase participation. Sometimes organizations approach large scale interventions consciously and intentionally, such as when they develop a 3 to 5 year strategic plan, engage in a culture change initiative, or acquire/merge with another organization like in the case of Bancolombia.
Change may also be forced on the organization unintentionally due to changes that occur inside the organization such as an unexpected structure change which was also the case for the parties involved in the Bancolombia merger. Organizations often choose a large-scale intervention when the task is complex or urgent, or when multiple people are required to accomplish it.
Whatever the reason, the purpose of a cultural intervention in a large system is to make lasting change in the character and performance of an organization, a standalone business unit, or a large department. The large-scale organizational interventions significantly affect integral aspects of the organization’s functioning, structure, and processes. Thus, these interventions are visible, wide-ranging, and require significant commitment and attention of organizational leaders and members.
Once culture is established and accepted, it becomes a strong leadership tool to communicate the “new” organization’s beliefs and values to its members, and especially new comers. When leaders promote the culture, they become successful in maintaining organizational growth, the good services demanded by customers, the ability to address problems before they become disasters and consequently are competitive against rivals. Ultimately, if executed properly, corporate culture can be the only truly sustainable competitive advantage.