Organisational Culture and Change
Professor Ming Sun
School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society
What is Culture?
Culture is a set of values, attitudes, beliefs,
and meanings that are shared by the members
of a group or organisation.
It is often the primary way in which one group
(organisation, team, etc.) differentiates itself
Organisational Culture Defined
Reflects the underlying assumption about the way work is performed, what is acceptable and not acceptable, and what behaviour and actions are encouraged and discouraged
The collection of traditions, values, beliefs, and attitudes that constitute a pervasive context for everything we do and think in an organisation.
McLean & Marshall
Henry Mintzberg on Culture
Culture is the soul of the organization the
beliefs and values, and how they are
manifested. I think of the structure as the
skeleton, and as the flesh and blood. And
culture is the soul that holds the thing together
and gives it life force.
Chapter 10, Nancy Langton
and Stephen P. Robbins,
Third Canadian Edition
Copyright 2007 Pearson
The pattern of shared values, beliefs, and
assumptions considered to be the appropriate
way to think and act within an organization.
Culture is shared.
Culture helps members solve problems.
Culture is taught to newcomers.
Culture strongly influences behaviour.
Culture and Behaviour
Williams & Dobson
Harrison & Handy
Culture Types according to Deal & Kennedy
Tough-guy, macho culture
police departments, construction, management consulting
Work-hard / play-hard culture
estate agents and computer companies, mass consumer
oil companies, investment banks
insurance companies, financial services, and the civil service
Influencing Factors on Organisational
Size and age
New managers values
Strategy and structure
It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent,
but the ones who are most responsive to change - Charles Darwin
Internal Drivers of Organisational
The need for performance improvement
Adoption of new technology
Changes in staff
Changes to business processes
New ways of working and management
External Drivers of Organisational
Uncertain economic conditions
Globalisation and fierce competition
Demands of sustainable development
Mergers and acquisitions
Changes in customers demands
Benefits of Embracing Change An
Organisation Perspective Change provides opportunity for business growth.
It gives the opportunity to develop solid strategic planning and tactical manoeuvres.
It can create more efficient processes and systems.
It enables organisations to adapt and respond quicker than competition.
It reduces the status quo mentality.
It promotes system thinking and long term vision.
It brings on innovation.
It encourages proactive approach to risk management.
It's a lot more interesting than something that is static and stable all the time.
Benefits of Embracing Change An
Individual Perspective Change provides personal growth, through learning new skills.
It makes people more adaptable to new situations, new
environments, and new people.
It provides opportunity for improvement in personal life.
Changes bring new beginnings and excitement to life.
Refreezing Moving Unfreezing
Lewins 3-Step Change Model
Step 1: Unfreezing
Launch change efforts to overcome the pressures of individual resistance and group conformity Arouse dissatisfaction with the current state
Bring in disconfirming information
Help people unlearn conventional wisdom
Step 2: Moving
Get employees involved in the change process Establish goals
Activate and reinforce top management support
Recruit and empower change agents
Encourage participatory decision-making
Institute smaller, acceptable changes that reinforce and support change
Reward and celebrate success
Maintain open, two-way communication
Step 3: Refreezing
Stabilize the change intervention by rebalancing driving and restraining forces.
Build success experiences.
Reward desired behaviour.
Develop structures to institutionalize the change.
Make change work.
Kotters Eight-Step Plan for
Implementing Change 1. Establish a sense of urgency
2. Build a guiding team
3. Create a new vision
4. Communicate the vision
5. Empower others to act
6. Develop short-term wins
7. Consolidate improvements
8. Reinforce changes
Source: Based on J. P. Kotter, Leading Change (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996).
1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
Examining the market and
Identifying and discussing crises,
potential crises, or major
2. Build a Guiding Team
Putting together a group with enough
power to lead the change
Getting the group to work together
like a team
3. Create a New Vision
Creating a vision to help direct the
Developing strategies for achieving
4. Communicate the Vision
Using every vehicle possible to constantly
communicate the new vision & strategies
Having the guiding coalition role model
the behavior expected of employees
5. Empower Others to Act
Getting rid of obstacles
Changing systems or structures that
undermine the change vision
Encouraging risk taking and
nontraditional ideas, activities, and
6. Develop Short-term Wins
Planning for visible improvement in
performance or wins
Creating those wins
Visibly recognizing and rewarding
people who made the wins possible
7. Consolidate Improvements
Using increased credibility to change all systems, structures, and policies that dont fit together and dont fit the transformation vision
Hiring, promoting, and developing people who can implement the change vision
Reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes, and change agents
8. Anchoring New Approaches in
the Culture Creating better performance through
customer and productivity oriented
behavior, more and better leadership,
and more effective management
8. Reinforce changes
Articulating the connections between new
behaviors and organizational success
Developing means to ensure leadership
development and succession
Sources of Individual Resistance
to Change Selective perception: Staffs tend to be sceptical about manager-driven
Established habits. Changes may require them to change their existing
habits. This is not easy.
Loss of freedom: People may perceive that the introduced changes will
cause inconvenience or loss of freedom for themselves.
Economic loss: People are likely to resist change that is perceived as
reducing their pay and other rewards.
Loss of security: Existing ways of working give people comfort and sense
of security. Changes will bring in new ideas and new methods. Some
people would rather stick to the old ways.
People may resist change simply for the fear of the unknown.
Sources of Organisational
Resistance to Change Organisation culture tends to be developed over a long period of time;
change of culture is not easy.
Organisations, especially large ones, need formal rules and procedures to maintain stability and standard of performance. Such a need for maintaining stability often creates resistances to necessary change.
Implementing change usually requires investment of resources in money and staff time. These are not always made available.
At any time, an organisation would have many commitments to external stakeholders in the form of contracts and agreements. These may impose constraints on the speed and scale of changes the org