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
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
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?
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
• Choose to lead.
• Be the person others choose to follow.
• Provide vision for the future.
• Provide inspiration.
• Make other people feel important and
• Live your values. Behave ethically.
• Set the pace through your expectations
• Establish an environment of continuous
• 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.
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