Culture and National Cultures

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Definition of culture:

Many people think of culture as national culture which incorporates the idiosyncrasies of a certain race or tribe of people, traditions and methods which have been from generation to generation. Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1985)

Culture is defined more broadly than just national culture, although national culture can not remove from the definition, a fact that will become evident. Culture consists of a group of group of people and contains the values that are significant to the group, be it consciously or otherwise. One clarification that national culture can develop for certain values the importance to this study, but the fact that it is part of national culture is incidental.

However there is a common problem faced by all the theorists researching culture, that it is exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to precisely define what organizational culture is.

Both Schein (1992:12) and Brown (1998:12) define culture thus:

"[Culture is] A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems." - Schein (1992: 12).

"Organisational culture refers to the pattern of beliefs, values and learned ways of coping with experience that have developed during the course of an organisations history and which, tends to be manifested in its material arrangements and in the behaviour of its members." - Brown (1998: 12).

Hofstede (1985:347:357) has defined culture as being "the collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the members of one group or category from another". For the purpose of this study, the definition of Schein and Brown will be adopted.

Corporate Culture

Culture can be defined not only at the national level but also at the organisational level. This concept is known as corporate culture. The culture of an organisation defines appropriate behaviour, bond and motivates individuals and asserts solutions where there is ambiguity. It governs the way a company processes information, its internal relations and its values (Hampden-Turner C., 1990, p11)

Models of Corporate Culture

There are a whole host of approaches that seek to identify and qualify an organisation's culture. In the main, there are two approaches that theorists use to model or explain organisational culture. These are:

• Qualitative observational analysis, ethnographical study.

• Quantitative analysis, phenomenological study.

Schein (1992:17) also recognises that there are different layers of an organisation's culture, which are illustrated in the Figure 4 below.


Visible organisational structures and processes (hard to decipher)


Strategies, goals, philosophies (espoused justification)


Unconscious, taken-for-granted beliefs, perceptions, thoughts and feelings

(ultimate source of values and action)

Figure 4: - Schein (1992: 17) Layers of Culture

This type of assessment is a valid approach, but it does not arrive at an overall view of the observed culture and merely provides observations of specific attributes of a culture. Johnson & Scholes (1999:73) make use of similar areas for observation and take it a stage further. They place these observations in context with the physical manifestation of the organisational culture to define what they call 'The Paradigm' of an organisation. The tool they use for this is referred to as a 'Cultural Web'.

"The Cultural Web is a representation of the taken-for-granted assumptions, or paradigm, of an organisation and the physical manifestation of organisational culture." - Johnson & Scholes (1999: 73).

The Cultural Web takes the ideas of Schein (1992:17) and Hofstede (1985:344-357) and merges them into an amorphous collection of cultural indicators that help the organisation understand its complete self.

"It would therefore be a mistake to conceive of the paradigm as merely a set of beliefs and assumptions removed from organisational action. They lie within a Cultural Web which bonds them to the day-to-day action of organisational life." - Johnson & Scholes (1993: 61).


Power Structures

Organisa-tional structure

Routines and rituals


The paradigm

Control Systems

Figure 5: - Johnson & Scholes (1993: 61) Cultural Web

Organizational culture can be defined as the composition consists of opinions, values, attitudes and behaviours models that are useful to describe the character of the organisation members. This system, which can be found in the organization, guides people `s attitudes.

Organizational culture can also be is a set of operating principles that determine how people behave in society. This form base of observable behaviour of people beliefs, values and assumptions that govern their activities. Organizational Behaviour (Barhate Mangesh 2009, p 20)

Organizational culture is an essential set of beliefs, perceptions, thoughts and emotions that each member of a group takes for granted (Schein, 1992). These assumptions have become so deeply imbedded in the psyche of a culture that incongruent cultural behavior is unthinkable. The premise is difficult to change, because they are not confronted or debated (Schein, 1992).


Human beings have the ability to construct perceptions. Perceptions can be seen as selective processes, since human beings do not passively record every detail of the world presented to their senses.

Selection is accomplished by active engagement with the environment and the perceiver constructs it in the most suitable informative manner. (M.Sullivan 2000.p.45)

Furthermore, it steers the perceiver towards what is relevant and important for the present purpose. Reality can be seen as too complex to be known completely and categorisation can help since it assures us that we know what we need to know (Ekenvall et al 2000:13-14).

Cultural Change Approaches

Ranson (2001:25-26) believes that change can be planned and implemented by focusing on changing individuals and their behaviour. He proposes a three-stage process:

• Unfreezing the current paradigm.

• Introduce change and move the culture.

• Refreeze into the new paradigm

Aside from the aforementioned, two major approaches to changing an organisation culture have been identified: the top down and the bottom up (Thornhill, Lewis et al., 2000:98-102).In the top down, which is sometimes referred to as the 'culture engineering approach' (Palmer & Handy 2000:37-46), it is assumed that the management and in particular the top management of an organisation has full knowledge of the desired values, norms and the behaviour expected of all organisational members to achieve success.

The success stories at British Airways and other organizations are typical examples of the top down approach. Despite the reported achievements, this approach has been questioned and criticized for being strong in rhetoric but weak in practice (Watson 1996:323-342).

In contrast, the bottom up approach attempts to bring about culture change in a participative and interactive manner. Under this approach, one or few pilot units or sections become the focal point for culture change. The lessons learned in the pilot units, which eventually become 'role models', are used to spread the desired changes to other parts of the organization.

The bottom top approach provides greater opportunities for employee involvement in culture change. This approach brings about unified teams and commitment because of regular meetings between staff and management, working across teams rather than functional silos and sharing information and knowledge across all groups. According to Peter Drucker,(2008) One of the main tasks of management should be in making people capable of joint performance, to make their weaknesses irrelevant. This will create harmony in working together, equilibrium in thoughts and actions, goals and achievements, plans and performance, products and clients.


In this chapter I would relate the force field theories in an in depth study to the problem of accepting the PACE project ,which would help in finding the driving forces and the resist forces to change and would help determine how the preferred PACE project .

However as mentioned in the various literatures, for the management of an organisation which is reacting to, or planning to change will be faced with forces acting to facilitate the change and forces acting against it. Thus this force are important for any type of changes, they form the frame work for transformational change.

The forces against change are categorised into external and internal force this is in relation to organisation. The force against change are categorised into individual responses and organisational responses. Thus according to (Ginsberg and Abrahamson .1991) this forces can be:

(A) Prevent a new perspective being formed

(B) Prevent implementation of change.

One technique for depicting the forces for which are the blinding force and restraining force is through the use of the Force Field Anaylsis that by developed by kurt Lewin (1951). This is the forces for change and the forces against change .

The Force field analysis is based on based on the idea that, in any change situation, there are force supporting change and force opposing change. Thus this theory implies that when the balance of the two sets of force is equal that is the blinding force and the restraining force, no change will occur. Thus, it is argued that, if changes are desired, the force supporting the change need to be strengthened and those opposing the change should be weakened. In figure 6 is generic representation of a force field diagram,

Figure 6 .force field diagram (soures:Carnall,1990)

The force field analysis is carried out in this specific order:

Step 1: Define the problem in terms of the present situation, with its strengths and weaknesses and the situation you would wish to achieve. Define the target situation as correctly and clearly as possible.

Step2: list the force working for and against the desired changes which can be based on people resource, time, external factors, and organisational culture.

Step 3: Rate each of the forces driving and the forces resisting in term of strengths that is high medium and low

Step 4: Using a diagram draw using line to indicate the length of different strengths of the forces

Step 5: Label or score each of the line to indicate the strength and weakness.

Step 6: for each very strong force supporting the change indicate how you are going to strengthen the force. Do the same to each weak force resisting the change how you would weaken those forces

Step 7: Agree on those step or action that you would take to solve the problem of achieving change

Step 8: identify the resources that will be needed to take the agreed and how the resources may be obtained

Step 9: Make a practical action plan designed to achieve the target situation which include:

Timing of events

Specified milestones and deadlines

Specific responsibilities that is you have to determine "who to do what"

The advantage of this force field analysis is that it operating as a technique on its own, which can be incorporated into other change situation analyses such as the TROPICS test. The result of such analyses would help in deciding the extent to which an organisation is open or closed to change.

The inertia of corporate culture

In physics, inertia is defined as a property of an object that resist change to is motion, the more the mass of the object the more inertia is has. It is same with an organisation. Culture is the inertia of an organisation

To beat the inertia according to scientist we need to apply enough force to enough mass. Within an organisation we talk of reaching "critical mass" mass in our own case is the combination of the influence employees have, as well as the number of people. That is the greater the number of people that change the less the number of people that would push back.

Change with a high probability of success begins with a management analysis of whether change is within organizational capabilities. Systematic change involves a set of tools and processes to improve performance (Sullivan. M, 2000:40-49)

This inertia which must be considered when developing an adaptive control system that enables organisations to effectively responds to disruptive change. if mangers are able to manger their current organisational change capabilities, they are more like to make good decision as to whether a change is likely to succeed in the short term or not .This can be can also help them to better know what are they need to do to strengthen their organisational change capabilities so that their organisation can be more adaptable in the future.

Using the electromechanical analogy, the dynamics of the situation can be expressed in a control systems block diagram as follows:

The Internet Corporate Culture Organisational Change Capabilities

Disruptive Wave of Change



Adaptive control





Figure 7: Block diagram of organizational change with adaptive control system (Source: Sullivan. M, (2000:28)

A disruptive wave of change impacts a corporate culture. The culture has its own dynamic properties and inertia that enable it to respond to most changes, but does not respond well to disruptive change. An adaptive control system is introduced to the system in the form of strong organizational change capabilities, which enables the organization to adapt to the change.

This section focuses on defining this adaptive controller. It identifies nine key dimensions of organizational capability that can increase the probability of successful discontinuous organizational change.

This thesis proposes that:

P: A company that strengthens its organizational change capabilities in nine key organizational change dimensions will be able to make the disruptive organizational changes needed to become a world class business more successfully than organizations that are weak in these nine dimensions of organizational change capability. (Sullivan. M, 2000:40-49)

These dimensions are summarised in the table below:



• Create an emotional, unifying vision

• Use symbols, ceremonies, and stories

• Enable the free flow of emotions

• Provide a transition from the past

• Create a playful environment


• Create a change infrastructure

• Get the active support of first line supervisors

• Assign project managers to manage the change

• Provide training

Table 1: Dimensions of organizational change capability (Source: Sullivan, M., 2000:40)

The literature shows that first five dimensions of organizational change capability are actions that the business unit manager should take directly to lead the change. The second four dimensions of organizational change capabilities involve organization for successful disruptive change.

Several studies on the dimensions came out with the conclusions that:

P1: "Business units whose leader creates a unifying, emotional vision to improve efficiency are more likely to succeed in changing their organizations than business unit managers who do not do this" (Falbe, Kriger, & Miesing (1995:740-769).

P2: "Business unit leader who use symbols, ceremonies, stories, and slogans to implement their vision of an organizational change for improved staff performance are more likely to succeed that leaders who do not use these tools" (Trice & Beyer 1987:5-24, Sullivan M, 2000:42-43)

P3: "Managers who allow the free flow of emotions during a disruptive organizational change are more likely to be successful than those who restrict the free flow of emotions" (Duck, 1993:109-118).

P4: "Managers who provide a transition from the past while driving their companies toward becoming an e-business are more likely to be successful than managers who do not" (Schein, 1992:60-64).

P5 "Business unit leaders who create a playful environment are more likely to be successful in implementing disruptive changes than leaders who do not" (Sullivan. M, 2000:46).

P6: 'Business unit leaders who invest in a change infrastructure that has involvement throughout the hierarchy are more likely to be successful in implementing disruptive organisational changes than leaders who do not' (Sullivan. M, 2000:46-47, Huy,1999: 69).

P7: "Senior managers who take a systematic approach to gain the support of first line supervisors to implement a disruptive organizational change are more likely to be successful than managers who do not" (Kozlowski & Doherty, 1989:546-553, Klein, 1984:87-95).

P8: "Senior managers assign project managers to systematically manage the change are more likely to be successful than managers who do not assign project managers" (Grover, 1999:36-40).

P9 "Organizations that provide training as part of a disruptive organizational change are more likely to be successful than those that do not" (Hackman & Wageman, 1995:309-342).


Based on the above review, corporate culture change is one singular element for a proper transformation in today's business. Organization aiming to improve its performance in any industry will from time to time change culture to give them advantage over their competitors.

Ifako/Ijaye Local Government Council Area (IJGCA) -As Is Culture

Consideration at this point was given to the use of survey which was conducted on all IJGCA executive and top Management staff. The culture web in figure 8 represents the old culture type in IJGCA while figure 9 represents the preferred culture.

Figure 8 -IJGCA Culture Launch Presentation: IJGCA As-Is Culture (Source: Culture Launch-As Is Powerpoint Presentation pg1)

Figure 9: IJGCA Culture Brand (Source: Culture Launch-As Is Powerpoint Presentation pg10)

There is a clear departure from literature review with what is now been implemented in IJGCA. That current management style of Ifako /Ijaye local Government Council Area (IJLGCA) is more of the hierarchical authority structure, which is distance power structure, which is a not proactive structure. Management team needs to focus more on democratic leadership style in establishing vision and goals, communicating the vision and goals, and guiding others to accomplish them. However it should be participative and also empowering employees on how visions and goals are established and carried out rather than just passing down instruction from the top. The IJGCA style of culture implementation is top bottom approach and studies have revealed limitations of this approach.

The past studies reviewed also advocated the use of one approach to culture change at a time. However, it is the intention of this study to show that in addition to the top bottom approach used by Ifako /Ijaye local Government Council Area (IJLGCA) other dimensions like bottom top approach - use of dialogue, use of symbols and signs, ceremonies, slogans etc can be used to complement the top bottom approach in the assisting the employee in Ifako /Ijaye local Government Council Area (IJLGCA) accepting the intend desired organisational cultural change as been proposed through the PACE Project , which would change the hierarchical authority structure and bureaucratic style of leadership to a democratic leadership style that would encourage employee participate style in making decisions in organisation .