By Annette Temmhoff
Organisational culture has been described as a shared set of values and beliefs within an organisation – the norms that guide working behaviour and performance1. It impacts the way in which change is managed within an organisation.
Whilst there is a proliferation of literature that espouses the “right” way to implement change, the implementation of change is largely contextual. When the tools and activities managers use to implement change are aligned with the framework of the organisation’s culture, success if more probable and there is less chance of resistance2.
To illustrate, if an organisation’s culture is built on trust, respect, and open communication, this should guide the way managers implement a change program. They may, for example, involve employees early on in the change initiatives, as openly and honestly communicating change not only helps employees cope with the change, but improves their perception of the organisation, particularly its honesty and trustworthiness3,4. When employees trust their supervisors, even when control over their work environment is perceived to be low, organisational commitment remains high. As such, change initiatives are more likely to succeed4.
But just as culture impacts change, so too does change impact culture2. For example, in the NFP sector changes in government reporting requirements have had quite an impact on organisational culture. In some NFPs, there has been a shift from a culture where trust, community and support were paramount to one where accountability and high performance is now promoted. Quite a cultural shift and a challenging one for many employees to accept.
GAT CONSULTING can assist organisations to develop a change and cultural leadership strategy and implement this using sound business and psychological principles. Contact us for further information firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Schein, E. H. (1996). Culture: The Missing Concept in Organization Studies. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(2), 229-240.
- Jabri, M. (2012) Managing organisational change; process social construction and dialogue. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Terry, D. J. & Jimmieson, N. L. (2003). A stress and coping approach to organisational change: evidence from three field studies. Australian Psychologist, 38 (2), 92-101.
- Neves, P., & Caetano, A. (2006). Social Exchange Processes in Organizational Change: The Roles of Trust and Control. Journal of Change Management, 6(4), 351-364.
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