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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №3 - 2009

Автор: Богун А.Ю.

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion." - Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame.

"There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing." - James Kouzes and Barry Posner.

People in every workplace talk about organizational culture, that mysterious word that characterizes a work environment. One of the key questions and assessments, when employers interview a prospective employee, explores whether the candidate is a good “cultural fit.” Culture is difficult to define, but you generally know when you have found an employee who appears to fit your culture. He just "feels" right. Culture is the environment that surrounds you at work all of the time. Culture is a powerful element that shapes your work enjoyment, your work relationships, and your work processes. But, culture is something that you cannot actually see, except through its physical manifestations in your work place. In many ways, culture is like personality. In a person, the personality is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, interests, experiences, upbringing, and habits that create a person’s behavior. Culture is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people. Culture is the behavior that results when a group arrives at a set of - generally unspoken and unwritten - rules for working together. An organization’s culture is made up of all of the life experiences each employee brings to the organization. Culture is especially influenced by the organization’s founder, executives, and other managerial staff because of their role in decision making and strategic direction. Culture is represented in a group’s: language; decision making; symbols; stories and legends; daily work practices.

Something as simple as the objects chosen to grace a desk tell you a lot about how employees view and participate in your organization’s culture. Your bulletin board content, the company newsletter, the interaction of employees in meetings, and the way in which people collaborate, speak volumes about your organizational culture.

Central Concepts about Culture

Professors Ken Thompson (DePaul University) and Fred Luthans (University of Nebraska) highlight the following seven characteristics of culture.

Culture is Behavior. Culture is a word used to describe the behaviors that represent the general operating norms in your environment. Culture is not usually defined as good or bad, although aspects of your culture likely support your progress and success and other aspects impede your progress.

A norm of accountability will help make your organization successful. A norm of spectacular customer service will sell your products and engage your employees. Tolerating poor performance or exhibiting a lack of discipline to maintain established processes and systems will impede your success.

Culture is Learned. People learn to perform certain behaviors through either the rewards or negative consequences that follow their behavior. When a behavior is rewarded, it is repeated and the association eventually becomes part of the culture. A simple thank you from an executive for work performed in a particular manner molds the culture.

Culture is Learned Through Interaction. Employees learn culture by interacting with other employees. Most behaviors and rewards in organizations involve other employees. An applicant experiences a sense of your culture, and his or her fit within your culture, during the interview process. An initial opinion of your culture can be formed as early as the first phone call from the Human Resources department.

Sub-cultures Form Through Rewards. Employees have many different wants and needs. Sometimes employees value rewards that are not associated with the behaviors desired by managers for the overall company. This is often how subcultures are formed, as people get social rewards from coworkers or have their most important needs met in their departments or project teams.

People Shape the Culture. Personalities and experiences of employees create the culture of an organization. For example, if most of the people in an organization are very outgoing, the culture is likely to be open and sociable. If many artifacts depicting the company’s history and values are in evidence throughout the company, people value their history and culture. If doors are open, and few closed door meetings are held, the culture is unguarded. If negativity about supervision and the company is widespread and complained about by employees, a culture of negativity, that is difficult to overcome, will take hold.

Culture is Negotiated. One person cannot create a culture alone. Employees must try to change the direction, the work environment, the way work is performed, or the manner in which decisions are made within the general norms of the workplace. Culture change is a process of give and take by all members of an organization. Formalizing strategic direction, systems development, and establishing measurements must be owned by the group responsible for them. Otherwise, employees will not own them.

Culture is Difficult to Change. Culture change requires people to change their behaviors. It is often difficult for people to unlearn their old way of doing things, and to start performing the new behaviors consistently. Persistence, discipline, employee involvement, kindness and understanding, organization development work, and training can assist you to change a culture.

Your work culture is often interpreted differently by diverse employees. Other events in people’s lives affect how they act and interact at work too. Although an organization has a common culture, each person may see that culture from a different perspective. Additionally, your employees’ individual work experiences, departments, and teams may view the culture differently.

Your culture may be strong or weak. When your work culture is strong, most people in the group agree on the culture. When your work culture is weak, people do not agree on the culture. Sometimes a weak organizational culture can be the result of many subcultures, or the shared values, assumptions, and behaviors of a subset of the organization. For example, the culture of your company as a whole might be weak and very difficult to characterize because there are so many subcultures. Each department or work cell may have its own culture. Within departments, the staff and managers may each have their own culture.

Ideally, organizational culture supports a positive, productive, environment. Happy employees are not necessarily productive employees. Productive employees are not necessarily happy employees. It is important to find aspects of the culture that will support each of these qualities for your employees. The concept of culture is useful to the success and profitability of any organization.

Organizational Culture Change

Changing your organizational culture is the toughest task you will ever take on. Your organizational culture was formed over years of interaction between the participants in the organization. Organizational cultures form for a reason. Perhaps the current organizational culture matches the style and comfort zone of the company founder. Culture frequently echoes the prevailing management style. Since managers tend to hire people just like themselves, the established organizational culture is reinforced by new hires. Organizational culture grows over time. People are comfortable with the current organizational culture. For people to consider culture change, usually a significant event must occur. An event that rocks their world such as flirting with bankruptcy, a significant loss of sales and customers, or losing a million dollars, might get people's attention. Even then, to recognize that the organizational culture is the culprit and to take steps to change it is a tough journey. When people in an organization realize and recognize that their current organizational culture needs to transform to support the organization's success and progress, change can occur. But change is not pretty and change is not easy. Organizational culture change is possible. Culture change requires understanding, commitment, and tools.

Steps in Organizational Culture Change

There are three major steps involved in changing an organization's culture.

1. Before an organization can change its culture, it must first understand the current culture, or the way things are now. Do take the time to pursue the activities in this article before moving on to the next steps.

2. Once you understand your current organizational culture, your organization must then, and decide what the organizational culture should look like to support success. What vision does the organization have for its future and how must the culture change to support the accomplishment of that vision?

3. Finally, the individuals in the organization must decide to change their behavior to create the desired organizational culture. This is the hardest step in culture change.

Plan the Desired Organizational Culture

The organization must plan where it wants to go before trying to make any changes in the organizational culture. With a clear picture of where the organization is currently, the organization can plan where it wants to be next. Mission, vision, and values: to provide a framework for the assessment and evaluation of the current organizational culture, your organization needs to develop a picture of its desired future. What does the organization want to create for the future? Mission, vision, and values should be examined for both the strategic and the value based components of the organization. The management team needs to answer questions such as:

- What are the five most important values you would like to see represented in your organizational culture?

- Are these values compatible with your current organizational culture? Do they exist now? If not, why not? If they are so important, why are you not attaining these values?

Leadership Vision

Leaders have vision. They share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow. The leadership vision goes beyond your written organizational mission statement and your vision statement. The vision of leadership permeates the workplace and is manifested in the actions, beliefs, values and goals of your organization’s leaders. The leadership vision is powerful because the senior managers and leaders believe in the vision and mission. Not just a statement hanging on a wall, the leadership vision is even more powerful because people live the leadership vision every single day at work. Employees are not just processing wireless devices to make money for company owners; they are saving the tiniest babies or providing a safe haven for abused women. Can a vision get any more powerful than this? In fact, most businesses were started because the founder had a vision about what he or she could create. Sharing that vision with others in a way that compels them to act is the secret to a successful leadership vision. These are the fundamentals necessary for a vision that excites and motivates people to follow the leader. The vision must: clearly set organizational direction and purpose; inspire loyalty and caring through the involvement of all employees; display and reflect the unique strengths, culture, values, beliefs and direction of the organization; inspire enthusiasm, belief, commitment and excitement in company members; help employees believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their daily work; be regularly communicated and shared; challenge people to outdo themselves, to stretch and reach.

Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style

• Choose to lead.

• Be the person others choose to follow.

• Provide vision for the future.

• Provide inspiration.

• Make other people feel important and appreciated.

• Live your values. Behave ethically.

• Set the pace through your expectations and example.

• Establish an environment of continuous improvement.

• Provide opportunities for people to grow, both personally and professionally.

• Care and act with compassion

Thus, all the presented assumptions are the theoretical basis for a successful development of any enterprise and they should be implemented into practice and only then will it be possible to see the real value of their existence.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Fombrum, C. Strategic Human Resource Management. - New York: Wiley, 1984.

2. Kanter, R.M. Frontiers for Strategic Human Resource Planning and Management. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.



К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №3 - 2009


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