Managing Organizational Culture Change

Managing organizational culture change can be a difficult challenge of leadership. This is because the culture of an organization consists of an interlocking set of goals, values, processes, roles, assumptions, attitudes, and communication practices.

These elements integrate as a mutual system of reinforcement and combine for the prevention of any attempt to change that system. This is the main reason why changes of single fix such as knowledge management or the introduction of teams may seem to make some progress for a certain period of time. However, the organizational culture eventually takes over and the change in the organization is drawn back into the already existing culture in the organization.

Managing organizational culture change is a huge undertaking and this requires all tools of organization for changing people’s minds to be properly utilized in the process. However, the way these organizational tools are deployed has a very critical effect on the success.

Generally, the most useful and successful strategy to use is to start with the right leadership tools which includes a vision pr a future story of an organization. In addition, to cement the culture change already in place you need to use management tools such as measurement system, control system and role definitions. As a last resort, you need to use pure power tools of punishments and coercion when the rest fails.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Organizational Culture Change

When it comes to managing organizational culture change some common mistakes that might happen include under-using the tools of leadership and overusing the power tools of coercion. Starting with a story or vision, but eventually, failing to utilize the management tools, which will strengthen the behavioral changes currently in place is also another frequent mistake in organizational culture change. Lastly, starting with the power tools before a well-defined story of the future or vision is in place is also a common mistake.

These common lessons are clear evidence in the successive efforts to effective change of an organizational culture like the World Bank over a certain period, which is half a century.

Important Hurdles Managers Face When Changing an Organization Culture

Since changing an entrenched organizational culture is a daunting task to do, in order to be successful make sure you win the minds and hearts of individuals you work with. This usually takes both persuasion as well as cunning. These are some hurdles to experience when instituting wide change in an organization:

• Cognitive – This is the first one and in this case, people you work with must have some knowledge why the strategy or culture change is required at that given time.

• Limited resources – To change an organization requires shifting resources away from certain areas and then towards the rest.

• Motivation – This is yet another hurdle most mangers trying to institute culture change face. In this case, employees have to work hard to make the necessary change.

• Institutional politics – This is typically one of the worst hurdles to face as a manger when instituting culture change in an organization. This kind of politics in an organization may terribly hinder the process of cultural change in one way or another. This usually happens in the top management.

In conclusion, to successfully change an organizational culture you need to do enough research about the nature of an organization and people working there. Therefore, you need to be very consistent and motivated with the current practices and values needed in an organization in order to make the whole process convenient and successful.

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Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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