This in an excerpt from this book
Where Does Culture Reside? Culture is a property of a group. Whenever a group has enough common experience, a culture begins to form. One finds cultures at the level of small teams, families, and work groups. Cultures are found at every hierarchical level. Culture exists at the level of the whole organization if there is sufficient shared history. That is why understanding of corporate or organizational culture becomes an integral part of the understanding of the organization itself.
It is even found at the level of a whole industry because of the shared occupational backgrounds of the people industry-wide. Finally, culture exists at the level of regions and nations because of common language, ethnic background, religion, and shared experience. But if you spend the bulk of your life in a given occupation and organization, you not only take on many of the cultural themes that others in the occupation or organization share, but they can very well be well formed assumptions and may elude your awareness. And there lies the real power of culture, this unconscious quality for sure!!
You are not aware of your cultural biases until someone challenges them or until you have offended someone with a different cultural background. Having thought broadly about culture, it is now time to think more precisely about how to define culture, how to assess it, and how to begin to evolve it.
Questions to be pondered upon
As you begin to think about culture, think about it first in your own personality:
Review your family, ethnic, national, and educational background to identify the major influences on your current values and ways of doing things.
Review your current formal and informal group affiliations to identify what current norms and values matter to you.
Think about your place of work, its history, and traditions and see how that relates to your own values and ways of doing things.
The discussion here is directed towards undergraduate as well as postgraduate students, academics and practitioners interested in corporate culture and the changes in leadership, management consultancy, corporate culture. The discussion in the subsequent sections here is to investigate and discuss a range of questions such as:
How do managers, consultants and HRM people work with cultural change projects? How do they design and execute such projects? How do they think, get information and follow up their work? Is there a set of shared meanings making coordinated work possible or are there varieties of interpretations and meanings among those engaged in the change work producing difficulties? ?
What is happening in terms of processes? Are the intentions of the design of change projects realized in the implementation events? Are instruments of change used as intended? How do those involved in these processes, for example the managers and employees seen as the recipients and carriers of change initiatives, make sense of this and what do they do?
What are the outcomes in terms of responses and consequences? Is it possible that changes those initially intended or are the consequences unforeseen? If there are no changes, how can this be understood?
What can be learned about culture change projects and other forms of organizational changes? What are the traps and problems? What do managers, consultants, HRM people and other people involved need to consider in planning, designing, executing and learning from such projects?
The ability to navigate and act in an interactive and responsive way in the process is perhaps at least as important as to engage in careful planning and then implement a plan. Apart from addressing questions such as these, we find it important to investigate the organization of change work, for example how people position themselves in terms of being central in or moderately participating in, as opposed to distancing themselves from, the change project.
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