Critically explain why changing organisational culture is so difficult and how managers can do it. Culture can be defined as “a set of basic tacit assumptions about how the world is and ought to be that a group of people share and that determines their perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and, to some degree, their overt behaviour” (Schein, 1996). Organizational culture is depend on differences in norms and shared values which are learned in workplace and to direct behaviour of members in the particular organisation.
Cabrera, Cabrera& Barajas 2001) Organisational culture was built on its shared beliefs and values which was the guidance to solve problems. This essay will introduce the definition of organisational culture and explain why changing organisational culture is so difficult. The main reasons are the fear of uncertain future and difficult to establish the organisational culture. In addition, the essay is to interpret how managers can change organisational culture and how does it work.
Managers can change organisational culture through communication and management strategies.
This essay may introduce the detail about changing organisational culture. Most scholars think that changing organisational culture is difficult; however a few people think it is easy to change organisational culture.
As Chu (2003) stated that organizational culture is contributed to change. In his opinion, organisational culture can collect different values and actions to form a frame to guide the behaviour of members within an organisation.
In other words, organisational culture can shape what employees do in the company and control tendency of company. For example, a company may have employees who are unwilling to change and who are conductive to change, if managers recruit staff that are innovated and willing to change, they may be the new power to change organisational culture. Therefore, to form a “change” culture can make changing organisational culture easier. However, it is also difficult to establish an organisational culture. It is need to experience a long time and face lots of difficult and challenges.
According to levels of cultural analysis (Wood 2004), it shows how difficult to form the organisational culture, especially the deepest level of cultural analysis: common assumption. Common assumptions are to collect truths that organisational employees shares as a result of their common experiences and that direct beliefs and behaviours. It is extremely hard to isolate these modes, but it is interpret why culture is full of organisational life. It is hard to shape common assumptions if members of the organisation do not experience same ups and downs or cooperate long time.
As Ferrara-Love (1997) stated that organizational culture does not appear in a night. On the contrary, organisational culture evolves during the time, and is the collective beliefs of individuals who worked together. Therefore, it is hard to establish organisational culture, to say nothing of changing organisational culture. At the same time, it is debatable to recruit plenty employees when the company want to change organisational culture. The new power is unstable to the company. It is hard for managers to control the new employees and it still need to cost much time.
To conclude, it is difficult to change organisational culture. Organisational culture plays an ineradicable role to different kinds of organisational behaviours and members within organisations. Thus, it is always failure if certain problems of organisational culture were not being considered. Moreover, if managers want to change organisational culture which focuses on shared values or beliefs, it will be more difficult; because on the deepest of organisational culture, it formed invisible and omnipresent old guard or power which makes organisational change failure.
As Locus and Kline (2008) stated that organizations always appear “learning disability” and “defensive routines” which obstruct the learning and organizational change. It shows the strong of conservative power. When managers try to change the organizational culture, they always face opposition. What was worse, the conservative power always important to the organisation. They make huge contribution to the company, which used to promote the development of company. Therefore, they play an important role to organisation. It is difficult for managers to challenge their authority.
Moreover, the reason people do not want to change is the nature of people. People are easy to be used to do one thing and do not want to accept new thing. They are afraid of the unknown thing after change. As Ferrara-Love (1997) stated that people are comfortable with exist ways to finish the work. In their opinion, change is just the threat to their peaceful. Thus, they do not want to change organisational culture and dispute to change. It is obvious that changing organisational culture is so difficult. Leadership is the key to change organisational culture.
The achievements of an organisation mostly depend on the leadership of managers. As Fishman and Kavanaugh (1989) stated that the culture of an organization and how employees want to change was formed substantially by leader. For example, if managers uphold to change organisational culture steady and have enough ability to direct staff, it will achieve maximum results with little effort to change organisational culture. Thus, managers are the guidance of the company; they are main factor to change organisational culture.
Clement (1994) also expounded that management leadership is basic factor in a major organisational change effort. From this, it can be seen that the importance of leadership in change organisational culture. However, it is hard to change managers. If managers are not satisfied with their employees, employees can be changed, but managers will not changed unless the company go bankrupt. Thus, the most difficult to change organisational culture is to change the mind of managers. For instance, if managers make no attempt to make progress and milk-toast, it will be the most resistance to change organisational change.
For this reason, the best way to change is from up to bottom. At the same time, change the mind and ability of leader is the difficult demand for changing organisational culture. To change organisational culture, managers have lot of things to do it. The role of managers is very important through up down system. As Ott (1989) suggested that the leader can do lots of things included staff selection, socialization, removal of deviating members, cultural communication and role model to guide behaviour. For example, managers can choose employees who will support to change organisational culture.
Although it will not change the situation directly, they can be the power push the step of changing organisational culture. In the same way, managers can fire part of staff who opposes to change. It is not only reducing resistance to change organisational culture, but also overawe the opponent to change their minds. Furthermore, managers need to be the role model to change organisational culture. The behaviour of managers can be the maximum power to guide behaviour of managers. For example, when managers try to change organisational culture but not to do anything to change it, employees will not follow managers with any anxiety.
To sum up, it is important to be the role model of changing organisational culture for managers. Furthermore, communication is an important tool for managers to change organisational culture. According to Fry (2003), he examined that leadership as motivation to change; managers need to communicate with employees about their feelings. In other words, managers should get in touch with employees and let them know core values of changing organisational culture and the need of changing organisational culture. The employees may understand the determination of managers and why to change organisational culture.
Then, they can have their decision about changing organisational culture. In this way, it can reduce the distance between managers and employees, and let employees think they are also the participants to change organisational culture, they are not insignificant. When employees think they are the part of changing organisational culture, they will follow managers and try their best to help managers. At the same time, managers communicate with employees also can understand what employees think about and then do well about interactive. In addition, it can reduce the fear of employees about unknown future.
As Kanter, Stein and Jick (1992) stated that communication is basic tool within any change process and failure to change always because of the feeling uncertain and anxious about their future. Thus, communication is very significant for managers to change organizational culture. In addition, to help employees to change organisational culture, managers need to teach them related skills and knowledge to work differently. As Ke and Wei (2007) suggested that employees thought to learn skills and knowledge as their main responsibility. Thus, employees may accept skills and knowledge easier than accept directly new culture.
When they understand how to do, it may easy for them to accept to change organisational culture. At the same time, it is also the good way to remove their fear to uncertain future. When they master relevant skills and knowledge, they will be confident to deal with change of organisational culture. In this way, they will not fight against to change organisational culture as before. Then they can be the power help to change organisational culture. The most important things to change organisational culture are to change origin perception and beliefs.
According to the definition of organisational culture, if managers want to change organisational culture, they must change shared values. The same as Whitely (1995) said that, managers need to be able to help employees to remove the past values which are not consistent with current shared vision of future organizational arrangements. The shared values and beliefs are keys of the organisational culture. Thus, managers need to change origin values of employees to change organisational culture. For example, managers can change new uniform to show the new the new appearance of company.
According to Wood (2006), managers can create processes, systems and ways of working that enable to put the new values into practice. The new values can take place of the past one. In addition, managers can recruit and select new employees to help change origin values. As Harris and Metallinos (2002) stated that new employees were outside the company who did not affect by origin organizational culture, thus they were easy to accept new culture. That is why managers to select new employees to enlarge the power to change organizational culture.
The new values and beliefs can be brought into the company in this way. In the same way, managers can retrain employees and engraft new rules to them, although it will not have better effect than new employees, it also can help to change organizational culture. In a word, managers need to create new values and beliefs to substitute origin one. Technology change also can promote to change organisational change. Although Weick (1990) thought technology change may make people anxiety about the values of new technology to their work, the new technology is the progress to organisational culture.
There is no doubt technology change may improve work efficiency which may improve organisational culture. As Harris and Metallinos (2002) suggested that the application of new technology and subsequent development of system would promote standardization. The implementation of new technology can make employees understand new things which break routine. It also can be the sally port to open the mind of employees, let them know advantages of changing. When they can accept technology change, it is easy for them to support to change organisational change.
Thus, managers can first bring in advanced technology to improve organisational change. Then teaching them to learn about it and establish new values in this process. This essay introduces what are the organisational culture and two main parts of organisational culture, the reason why changing organisational culture is difficult and how managers do to change it. This essay support to change organisational culture is so difficult because of the fear of unknown and difficult process to form organisational culture.
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