Can Managers Influence Their Organisation's Culture?
Can managers influence the culture of their organisations? Discuss with reference to at least one example. It is only since the 1970s that the emphasis has shifted from a management-by-numbers to a more people-focused way of managing, in response to various problems that could not be overcome using the prior method (e.g. limitations to the Theory X way of managing, new production methods etc.). Pop-management theorists have since made direct links between an organisation’s culture and its performance, though this is not the entire story. As Kilmann et al (1985) put it: ‘a culture has a positive impact on an organisation when it points behaviour in the right direction... alternatively, a culture has a negative impact when it points
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In both cases, it seems, the change of culture extended throughout the culture, cutting across all subcultures; at the bare minimum there was an extremely dominant hegemony2 (Parker, 2000, p.75) established of the corporate culture. It is not this, therefore, that could be the main critique of these cases, but instead the lasting value of management’s influence. This worry was touched upon by Bajer (2010), who said that the enthusiasm and skills, which were core to HSBC Argentina’s new culture, may ‘erode’, and the effects of the training carried out may become ‘diluted’. This issue is reflected in the work of D.Awal et al (2006), who mention about how, though in the short-term workers may bow to the corporate culture, it does lead them to doubt the values which they have relied upon for a sustained period of time. This uncertainty may eventually lead them to revert back to what was before. It begs the question whether employees’ basic assumptions, values and thus cultural artefacts have changed (Schein, 1992), or whether it is only the latter.
Stop-the-line is a production system whereby any worker has ‘the obligation’ to stop all production if and when they find an error.
Hegemony is the dominance of, in this case, one culture above all others within an organisation.
This could be seen in Kunda’s (1992) study of High Technologies Corporation which Brewis (2007) outlines.