If you were asked to give a new recruit some words of encouragement on how to be successful within your organisation, what would you say?
You might give some formal advice about carrying your ID at all times, but you might also make some of the following suggestions:
Keep your head down
It’s OK to make mistakes here, as long as you don’t repeat them
The boss likes to see you working really hard at all times
We work hard but play hard. The people who get on here work long hours but enjoy themselves in the pub afterwards.
It doesn’t pay to ask too may questions
You’ll find everyone pulls together here and will want to see you as part of the team
With this helpful advice you begin to educate the person about the way things get done around the organisation.
You also reveal what some of the required behaviours are, and thus you actively reinforce the prevailing culture.
Culture is vitally important for the organisation because of its impact on performance.
Molennar et al (2002), quoting leading writers in the field, say:
To truly understand corporate culture, its characteristics must also be understood.
The following is a compilation of the most prevalent cultural characteristics:
Corporate culture represents behaviours that new employees are encouraged to follow (Kotter and Heskett, 1992)
It create norms of acceptable behaviour (Hai, 1986)
Corporate culture reinforces ideas and feeling that are consistent with the corporation’s beliefs (Hampden-Turner, 1990)
It influences the external relations of the corporation, as well as the internal relations of the employees (Hai, 1986)
Culture can have a powerful effect on individuals and performance (Kotter and Heskett, 1992)
It affects worker motivation and goals (Hai, 1986)
Behaviours such as innovation, decision, making, communication, organising, measuring success and rewarding achievement are affected by corporate culture (Hai, 1986)
Is we want to learn about how to change culture, we need to understand how it is created.
Schein (1999) suggests that there are six different ways in which culture evolves.
Some of these can be influenced by leaders and some cannot:
A general evolution in which the organisation naturally adapts to its environment
A specific evolution of terms or sub-groups within the organisation to their different environments
A guided evolution resulting from cultural ‘insights’ on the part of leaders.
A guided evolution through encouraging teams to learn from each other, and empowering selected hybrids from sub-cultures that are better adapted to current realities
A planned and managed culture change through creation of parallel systems of steering committees and projected-oriented task forces
A partial or total cultural destruction through new leadership that eliminate the carriers of the former culture (turnarounds, bankruptcies)
Schein underscores the fact that organisations will not successfully change culture if they begin with that specific idea in mind.
The starting point should always be the business issues that the organisation faces
Crosby and Johnson (2001) say:
‘ The strongest brands are those that elicit emotional attachment from customers. When interacting with your company, customers and prospects may have feelings of safety, pride, excitement, comfort, confidence, caring or trust. These interactions activate feelings and build strong brand commitment.
… . It’s important not to overlook the effects of brand on the employees of the firm. Employees often have a large role to place in managing customer relationships and the brand can help guide their behaviour. In effect, the brand is a promise to customers of how they can expect to be treated by the company. To the extent employees understand the expectations being created by the brand, and are motivated and trained to live up to those expectations, then the firm can have a truly integrated customer relationship management strategy.’
Guidelines for Achieving Successful Cultural Change
Always link to organisational vision, mission and objectives
Create a sense of urgency and continually reinforce the need to change
Attend to stakeholder issues
Remember that the how is as important as the what
Build on the old, and step into the new
Generate enabling mechanisms
Act as role models
Create a community of focused and flexible leaders
Insist on collective ownership of the changes
Six Key Points Continually increasing customer and citizen focus Extending the council’s capacity for community and partnership working A visible and congruent leadership and management style Moving to a more consistent performance and enabling culture More effective ways of working Clarity and impact of core values and direction setting on service delivery
Six Employer Brand Values
Expressing views and opinions in an open, honest and constructive way
Consistently delivering on their promises and commitments
Taking accountability for decisions and actions
Contributing enthusiastically to team goals, sharing and aligning own objectives with team(s)
Supporting and encouraging players on their own team and other teams
Building personal success on team success and contributing to other teams’ success
Treating diverse views, cultures and communities with respect
Learning from the variety of different cultures, countries, functions and teams within the organisation
Acknowledging different approaches and seeking win-win solutions
Value: Performance with Passion
Setting and exceeding stretching targets, individually and in teams.
Demonstrating high levels of pace, energy and commitment in achieving goals.
Finding new opportunities to improve their game and being courageous by trying them
Sharing success, recognising and rewarding achievement of other players.
Encouraging the celebration of success and building a ‘success leads to more success’ culture
Having a can-do mentality and encouraging others to do the same
Being proactive in professional and personal development
Sharing learning and supporting development of other players
Going outside the ‘comfort-zone’, challenging the status quo, and learning from mistakes
IT-Based Process Change
IT has become a significant part of every person’s working life.
According to US economic analysis figures, companies are now spending an aberage of 30 percent of their capital expenditure on information technology compared with 5 percent in the 1960’s.
It is viewed as a critical resource
The potential gains of successfully implementing IT-based change are many and varied.
Organisations are attracted by the idea that they will gain the capability to do a range of highly desirable things.
Some of the potential gains concern innovation and development:
To achieve flexible responsive production of customised goods
To segment the market place in new ways through analysing information, and then create new products for those segments
To serve customers in new ways by creating access via the Internet
To create new forms of partnership and new types of organisation
But many of the potential gains concern achieving efficiencies to:
Reduce the need for agents and intermediaries by providing employee or customer self-service facilities over the Internet or Intranet.
Achieve sophisticated functionality at reasonable cost (for instance by introducing standard packages such as ERP)
Allow globalisation of operations
Enable choices to be made about how the company is structured while retaining the necessary level of central control
Produce better information, with a greater level of detail than was possible before, and make it available faster to allow better decisions to be made.
Enabling 24-hours working to maximise the ability to serve the globe and make best use of resources.
Encourage greater staff involvement by making information available to more people in the company
Increase the opportunity for flexible working on the read or at home
Reduce staff costs
Increase the value of skills and knowledge by sharing information well
The Role of Management
Line technology leadership
Data Centre Utility
Managing outsourced services
IT Management Competencies
Examination of the potential business value of new, emerging IT
Utilisation of multi-disciplinary teams throughout the organisation
Effective working relationships among line managers and IT staff
Technology transfer, where appropriate, of successful IT applications, platforms and services
Adequacy of IT-related knowledge of line managers throughout the organisation
Visualising the value of IT investments throughout the organisation
Appropriateness of IT policies
Appropriateness of IT sourcing decisions
Effectiveness of IT measurement systems
Existence of electronic links with the organisation’s customers
Existence of electronic links with the organisation’s suppliers
Collaborative alliances with external partners (vendors, systems integrators, competitors) to develop IT-based products and processes
Line Technology Leadership
Line managers’ ownership of IT projects within their domains of business responsibility
Propensity of employees throughout the organisation to serve as ‘project champions’
Propensity of employees throughout the organisation to learn about and subsequently explore the functionality of installed IT tools and applications
Restructuring of business processes, where appropriate, throughout the organisation
Visualising organisational activities throughout the organisation
Integration of business strategic planning and IT strategic planning
Clarity of vision regarding how IT contributes to business value
Effectiveness of IT planning throughout the organisation
Effectiveness of project management practices
Restructuring of IT work processes, where appropriate
Appropriateness of data architecture
Appropriateness of network architecture
Knowledge of and adequacy of the organisation’s IT skill base
Consistency of object (data, process, rules) definitions
Effectiveness of software development practices
Data Centre Utility
Appropriateness of processor architecture
Adequacy of quality assurance and security controls
Source: Sambamurthy and Zmud in Saur and Yetton (1997)