We present a six – step process that should be followed when designing and implementing an organizational culture change effort. The purpose of these six steps is to foster involvement and to minimize resistance to the culture change by those affected, to clarify for all concerned what the new cultural emphasis will be, to identify what is to regenerate specific action steps that can be initiated to create momentum toward culture change.
The six steps for initiating organizational culture change are as follows:
Reach consensus on the current culture.
Reach consensus on the desired future culture
Determine what the changes will and will not mean.
Identify illustrative stories.
Develop a strategic action plan
develop an implementation plan
Step 1: Reach consensus on the current culture Identify a set of key individuals in the organization who have a perspective of the overall organizational culture. Be sure to involve people who will be engaged in implementing change initiatives and whose acceptance is necessary for ensuring a successful change effort. Each of these individuals should complete the OCAI. Make sure that each person is rating the same organization when completing instrument. That is, make sure that some people are not rating, say, a division while others are rating the overall firm. It is important to make certain that the target of analysis is the same for all respondents. Have these individuals meet together to generate a consensual view of the current organizational culture. Do not average ratings. Rather, consider carefully the perspectives of individuals who may see the organization differently than others. If the number of people completing the instrument is large, divide them into subgroups and have each subgroup create an overall, consensual culture plot. Do not ignore any person’s ratings, no matter how discrepant. It is especially important to discuss the factors that led each individual to rate the organization’s culture as he or she did. This discussion and the reaching of consensus, is usually the most fruitful part of the exercise because it builds understanding, opens lines of communication, and expands appreciation of others’ points of view. Having every person complete the OCAI individually permits them to think deeply about how they view the organization’s culture, encourages participation by everyone, and generates the maximum amount of information needed to construct an overall culture profile.
After each subgroup has reached consensus on a current organizational culture profile, representatives of each subgroup meet together to generate an overall, consensual organizational culture profile. In these consensus – building discussions, teams should address questions like the following: On what basis did you give the ratings that you did? What organizational or managerial behaviors reflect your ratings? What is being ignored in our organization? What is most highly valued by members of our organization? How is the organization different now from the way it was in the past? What events reflect our organization’s culture? What symbols and manifestations are present that accurately depict our culture?