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Organizational Culture and Change

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  • 0:05 Organizational Culture…
  • 2:18 Internal and External Change
  • 3:45 Breaking the…
  • 6:22 Successful Change Strategies
  • 7:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

Organizational change involving altering processes and systems within a company often affects the existing group norms, beliefs and values. This makes change a challenge for managers. There are tactics managers can use to institute change in a positive and welcoming way.

Organizational Culture and Change

People say change is good! Change can be a good thing when it is done holistically, taking the whole organization into consideration - including processes and systems and the culture of the organization - equally.

In most American homes, the Thanksgiving table is set with turkey, stuffing, and pie. It's always been that way. It's tradition! Suppose one year the turkey gets replaced with tofu, the stuffing with seaweed salad, and the pie with goat milk, granola and berries? Families would be shocked and maybe even a little bit upset - particularly the older family members whose job it is to hold on to traditional values.

Just like families, organizations are made up of shared stories of the past, a mission for the present, and a vision for the future. It can be shocking when things change in an organization. This is organizational culture, and it is a combination of shared norms, beliefs, and values that form from the founders of the business. It is an embodied mantra of the way they have always done things.

When Mr. Winslow, president of Winslow Junior College (WJC), hired his nephew Buford, many of the staffers were worried that Buford was going to make waves. Buford was from a large, high-tech university. Staffers liked the way things were at WJC and didn't see a need to change a thing.

In Buford's first month, he made small changes to the dress code and the staff dining policy. No longer could the staff wear jeans or eat at their desks during class time. Buford's goal was to create a professional academic environment so that he could attract a new target market of students.

The staff was so used to the old ways that they became resentful to small changes. Sticking together, the staff refused to alter their behaviors in any way. As Buford walked the hallways, he noticed Professor Dent was eating a hot dog while working with a struggling math student. He noticed Professor Maguire wearing her muumuu and flip-flops during a psychology lecture. Even old Winslow was spotted wearing his favorite Hawaiian shirt and shorts on campus. See, staffers took their lead from Winslow's behavior, and this created a relaxed, casual work environment. The culture at WJC actually inhibited change. In fact, any attempt to change the way things were being done was met with resistance.

Internal and External Change

Buford performed an analysis of the areas of the college that need change. He came up with changes in response to both internal and external factors.

There are two types of organizational changes that businesses endure:

  • Internal change
  • External change

Internal change involves changes within the organization's control, like processes and systems, human resources, decision-making, and policies and procedures. The organization has full control over these changes. These changes are generally initiated to increase productivity and profitability.

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