Strategic change and organizational culture

strategic change

Strategic change management poses unique challenges when viewed in context of organizational culture. The set of values, symbols and ideologies shared within the organization is referred to as organizational culture. The changing external environment has resulted in creating a challenging situation with regards to culture. The globalization and dynamism has resulted in highlighting importance of knowledge management and nurturing, taking risks, situations requiring instinctive judgment, and maintaining and sustaining the ability of the organization and the employees to learn and grow. Culture of an organization is unique to that organization and differs greatly from the culture of other organizations.

The culture of the organization is changing continuously and incrementally. Culture is strengthened by the fact that it is strongly patterned and shared by the employees of the organization. Cultural changes encompass both changing behavior of the employees and thinking of the employees. The leadership and the employees both play a vital role in creating and modifying the culture of an organization.

strategic change ayesha aziz

Ayesha believes that leaders play a role in adapting culture by adopting numerous processes like socialization, staff selection, role modelling of preferred behaviors and communication mechanism. The homogeneity of the culture of the organization makes the adaptation to change difficult for the organization.

The management of strategic change is greatly influenced by the culture of the organization. The cultural values and assumptions shared by the employees of the organization shape their understanding of the organization. The approach to change is highly dependent on the shared values and assumptions of the employees and leaders. The way the leaders and employees perceive the effectiveness of change process is greatly affect the implementation of change. If the changes are going to be radical or incremental, partial or comprehensive, directed using top down or bottom up approach or changing the soft or hard component of the organization is largely dependent on the perception of leadership and employees about its functionality and suitability and effectiveness of the change process. This result is making the change management process unique and distinctive in different organizations with different cultures. The perception of change is also dependent on the organizational culture. If flexibility is valued in the organizational culture, the employees of the organization will be more open towards the change. The employees will not be hesitant or reluctant to embrace the change. If stability and consistency is valued in an organization, the changes will not be readily acceptable to the employees of the organization and the process of change will be considered harmful and detrimental for the organization and the employees. The employees will resist the change (Janicijevic, 2012). 

Culture of the organization impacts the process of decision making, ways if communication and network of communication. Culture of the organization is the reflection of the organizational learning over a period of time by responding to the challenging situations in order to grow and survive. Culture provides a competitive advantage to the organization because of its influences on operations of the business and on the disciplinary and regulatory methods of the organization. An effective strategic leadership can change and shape the culture of the organization to gain competitive advantage. A culture in which employees of the organization realize that the organization is growing and moving continuously and that the competitive advantage is not everlasting. The employees are adaptable to the constant changes and the need for innovation for sustainability.

Janicijevic, N. 2012, ‘The influence of organizational culture on organizational preferences towards the choice of organizational change strategy’, Economic annals,  57 (193), pp. 25-51.