Page 4: Cultural change
Organisations are as unique as nations and societies. The culture of an organisation is influenced by many different factors such as its history, ownership, size, use of technology, the business environment in which it operates and the people it employs. Cultures develop and change over time. Clues to an organisation’s culture come from:
- the ways in which decisions are made
- the rules and procedures laid down
- the written and/or assumed dress codes adopted
- the communication of the mission or vision
- work relationships and functions.
This culture exerts a pressure on individuals within the organisation to behave in a particular way. For example, some organisations are characterised by power, where control rests with small groups of individuals, while other organisations create very distinct, job-enriching roles for employees. Modern organisations often try to create flexibility by developing a more task-based culture that encourages individuals to join teams, to contribute to decision making processes and to take ownership of their ideas. Britannic Assurance has used Management Forum as a way of bringing about cultural change.
Evidence shows that 80% of programmes aimed at bringing about cultural change fail because employees resist them either actively or passively, do not modify their behaviour and fail to move on in thought or action. It was important therefore, to sustain a process of cultural change that would move the organisation away from a rigid, bureaucratic, top-down hierarchical structure with a command and control approach to management within which middle managers had little part to play in long-term decision-making. Britannic Assurance recognised the need to encourage managers to develop more democratic styles of leadership that would enable them to become better leaders who are able to understand and then meet both their own and their employees’ motivational needs within the workplace.