Diagnosing Organisational Culture Change
We diagnose organisational culture to enable us to change and develop the organisation.
Why do it
- Understand the relationship between culture and the organisation
- Understand the key characteristics of organisational culture
- Identify different images of organisations and how these relates to different organisational forms
- Recognise where your organisation sits within the cultural web
- Appreciate structural perspectives on organisational culture
- Understand the excellent organisation and how to compare and shape organisational culture
Organisational Culture Versus Organisational Climate
These are not the same thing.
Climate refers to current situations in an organisation and the linkages among work groups, employees, and work performance
Culture, on the other hand, relates to the historical context within which a situation occurs and the impact of this context on the behaviour of employees
There are many writers on organisational culture and the impact it has on an organisations ability to perform. Below are two such models:
Characteristics of Organisational Culture
- Member Identity
- Risk Tolerance
- Group Emphasis
- Reward Criteria
- People Focus
- Conflict Tolerance
- Means-End Orientation
- Unit Integration
- Open System Focus
Source: Robbins, 1993
Do employees identify with the whole organisation?
Are employees encouraged to use their own initiative?
Are work activities organised around groups or individuals?
Are rewards performance based?
Do management decisions consider the impact of decisions on employees?
Is constructive criticism encouraged?
Is the end result rather than the process employed all important?
Is work organised in a coordinated or independent manner?
Are rules and regulations used to manage employee behaviour?
Open Systems Focus
Is the organisation aware of and responsive to external environments?
Attributes of Effective organisations
- Bias for Action
- Stay close to the Customer
- Autonomy and Entrepreneurship
- Productivity through People
- Hands-On Management
- Stick to the Knitting
- Simple Form & Lean Staff
- Both Loosely and Tightly Organised
Source: Peters & Waterman, 1982
Bias For Action
Pragmatic, practical & proactive solutions, task of management problem-finding & not problem solving, focus on opportunities of improvement
Stay Close to the Customer
Customer #1, profit secondary statement, talking & listening to the needs of the customer all important, clear identification of the who exactly the customer is
Autonomy & Entrepreneurship
Many leaders & innovators, communication encouraged, Lessons learnt from failure
Productivity Through People
Trust Essential, Empowering staff, Staff a valued resource within the organisation
Values/Philosophy of the organisation lived and not just voiced by management
Stick to the Knitting
Concentration on the main objectives of the organisation
Simple Form & Lean Staff
Uncomplicated structures, adaptable workforces with few layers
Both Loosely & Tightly Organized
Tight controls in Some Areas, looser controls in others
As we have said there are many ways to looks at organisational culture, each has its own merits.
Within the Business Improvement Review (BIR) we look at most of these factors from a range of approaches. This unique approach helps to provide you the change agent with knowledge with what is and is not happening inside your organisation.
While there are many tools on the market for looking at organisational culture our inventory approach is different. Not only do we include measures on the perceived culture, we look at how culture is seen by the different stakeholders in the organisation, we also look at how the organisation is performing.
Proposing to change an organisations culture in isolation of performance is a dangerous thing to do. Sometimes the success of an organisation is because of its culture. Before setting out to change culture we need to understand:
- Where it is now
- Why it is like it is
- What level of performance we are getting because of it
- Why there is a desire to change culture and what we expect to get out of that change.
The BIR is a powerful tool which can help organisational culture change agents on this journey.