Organizational culture (or what is it we’re trying to change anyway?)
Business leaders looking to bring about rapid and pervasive change are often at a loss to know how they can close the gap between strategic choice and strategic implementation. They tend to forget, according to Mullins (1993), that ‘the process of management takes place not in a vacuum, but within the context of the organizational setting’. Even when pressures for change are enormous, some organizations remain surprisingly impervious to change. More often than not, the reason lies embedded in the organization’s culture. Culture controls and shapes behaviour. Until the 1980s, organizational culture was largely ignored as a factor in organizational performance. This is largely because corporate culture is not easily observable and is not the same as the behaviour one can observe when studying organizations.In this chapter we will explore some of the ways in which theorists have attempted to define and explain organizational culture. We shall explore how cultures are formed, how cultures affect organization members and other stakeholders, and the relationship between organizational culture and strategic planning.