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Why Cultural Change Competencies are the Critical Success Factor for Tomorrow’s Organizations

18th May 2015 | James McCalman, David Potter

Leading Cultural Change offers a model of change management that will enable the effective realisation of the strategic need for change in times of austerity.

Why Cultural Change Competencies are the Critical Success Factor for Tomorrow’s Organizations

In writing Leading Cultural Change we are chiefly interested in how dynamic processes can transform an organization; in particular, how theory and practice intertwine to produce, maintain and protect organizational culture. By examining a ‘lived experience’, an example of cultural change, we are primarily concerned with trying to understand the role that management plays in attempting to intervene in what they see as dysfunctional aspects of organization to transform these.

The core of our argument is that managers use tools – economic, material, structural, technological and systems – to change their organizations yet, in the main, they may pay less attention to knowledge competencies drawn from the behavioural sciences to improve cultural processes and enable the expressive capacity of the organization. Managers often emphasize change agendas that ignore the cultural dimension of change work. This book seeks to address this issue.

Organizations continuously face economic drivers for change. These are forceful beyond precedent. The argument advanced by politicians through the media is the unstoppable need for economic change. Austerity is the watchword in a world turned sour. The underlying theme seems always to be one of economic determinism. However, what seems to be ignored is the necessity for an associated change in the cultural dimension of the organizational experience. Bankrupt culture? Let’s just change it! Overnight if possible. The paradigm that was sufficient to support the delivery of services provided by a questionable banking system needs to be deconstructed. If true change is desired, as opposed to the sticking plaster words of quasi-empathy we hear from politicians, chief executives and the ‘traditional’ media then a new cultural paradigm is required. The need to embrace a strong sense of responsibility and to operate an ideology akin to that of social capitalism is acute. The strategic priority facing leaders is one of significant change in their operating ideologies and cultural paradigms. This book offers a model of change management that will enable the effective realisation of this strategic need.

There is always, of course, a need to address the immediacy of austerity measures through economic reform but this is not the sole focus of strategic attention. As important is the ‘way’ internal stakeholders think and behave in relation to the organization. Organizational form, purpose and public perception need ongoing scrutiny and strategic planning for change. This process calls for cultural transformation. It is not simply a case of cutting costs. If the policy of forced austerity driven by an ideology of economic determinism is the only strategic approach that organizations are advancing, we will see more cases of high profile public and private sector failures such as the sad case of Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and widespread closures of private enterprise.

The idea that public service organizations can go bankrupt is now a real possibility. The thought that global financial institutions can also go bankrupt is a proven reality. The focus on organisational culture and how it can be leveraged to achieve competitive advantage has never been greater.

You can order Leading Cultural Change at a 25% discount when you enter the code LCC425 at checkout on www.koganpage.com.


Business, Finance, Risk, Information Management

The Kogan Page range of management and leadership books combines leading authors, practicality, detailed case studies and best-practice methodology. Our books are used by managers and leaders worldwide to make informed decisions based on the latest business thinking. Follow us on Twitter @KPMgmtLeaders.

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