Organizational culture is a key element of organizational success. It plays a vital role for encouraging innovation and creativity in any company. The focus of this paper is to assess and profile the dominant culture of OMD using the Competing Values Framework as a tool. The same will help diagnose and expedite change in OMD's culture especially that our success depends on the extent to which our culture meets the demands of the competitive environment.
OMD Lebanon, Omnicom Media Group's media specialist arm and most strategic SBU, has been chosen for the analysis. OMD is an integrated communications agency delivering media planning, buying and marketing solutions locally and regionally.
In the following pages, we assess OMD existing and preferred cultures using the Organizational Culture Assessment and Competing Values Framework instruments. The report begins with revealing the main aspects of our current Hierarchy culture and preferred Adhocracy one. The same is followed by an analysis of our key success factors and key elements to preserve from our existing culture and steps to follow to achieve the desired culture. Afterward, key success factors and elements from our current existing culture are examined; elements such as human talents, work specialization and structured rules and procedures.
Major findings and conclusions:
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Understanding how OMD's different elements are aligned with one another, and in what ways transformation might be instigated are all significant outcomes from this brief examination of profiles. After closely reviewing all aspects, the report results indicate that hierarchy culture is OMD's dominant culture type. The assessment of the culture as a whole and the preferred one in particular provides a sound context within which insightful conclusions resulting from the current state and future of OMD.
II OMD's culture assessment
A - OCIA results
The OCIA assessment indicates that OMD is characterized by a Hiearchy culture where formal rules and policies have always held the organization together. The same is paralleled by OMD's basic assumptions, styles and values that prevail. Concurently, the management's preferred culture type is mirrored by an Adhocracy culture nature using OCAI as part of an orderly process to identify what the measures of culture mean in terms of action while helping us creating a cultural change strategy.
C - OMD's Competing Values Framework
The paper develops as well the Competing Values Framework to incorporate a process by which OMD's managerial behaviors can be altered to strengthen the culture change process. The analysis shows the following results:
D - Current culture
The assessment clearly reveals that OMD is dominated by a hierarchy culture (38.08 points), as demonstrated by large number of standardized procedures, numerous hierarchical levels and an importance on rule prominence. It is a very formalized and organized place to work for. Strict procedures and policies govern what employees do and hold the organization together. The management's long-term objective has been always stability and performance with well-organized and smooth procedures. Our key principles center on sustaining efficient, reliable and first class media solutions to our clients. Followed by clan culture (28.49 points) which confirms that OMD is a very satisfying place to work where employees share a lot of themselves and commitment and dedication are high. In addition, Adhocracy culture (17.42 points) exists mirroring an energetic, entrepreneurial, and creative place to work. Market culture is present as well (16.01 points) revealing result-oriented, production, goals and targets and competition environment.
E - Preferred culture
Does OMD culture effectively map our environmental demands? What alterations are required to bring our culture into alignment with the industry changes? Are we emphasizing enough on what our customers expect from us as communication consultants? In what fields are we underdeveloped? In what areas might we be overdeveloped or placing unnecessary emphasis? In what areas do we have an unique advantage? Where does our fundamental capability lie?
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
As think-tank communication specialists, a key challenge for OMD is to produce innovative media solutions and services and to adapt quickly to new opportunities. Consequently, the adhocracy culture is the preferred one to embrace to be able to anticipate the future and overcome all prospect challenges. The same will be applied through a strong emphasis on individuality, risk taking, flexibility, creativity and predicting the future. All these principles are vital in the advertising industry especially where all stakeholders are involved, be it from the selection of media type, strategies and other marketing related matters.
To beat the competition and drive the business forward, OMD's culture should be characterized by a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and creative workplace. Employees need to stick their necks out, take risks while emphasizing on being at the leading edge of new knowledge, products, and services. It is vital to be ready and adapt for market changes to be able to meet the new challenges. The advertising and media industry is a very dynamic and competitive one and OMD's success means being innovative, predicting the future and producing unique products and services accordingly.
By embracing an adhocracy culture, we will be providing our clients with creative solutions and cutting edge ideas to their marketing challenges, outsmarting the competition and expanding to new territories. Novelty and new concepts create new markets, new clients and new openings.
At this stage and despite the fact of having a strong culture, OMD is being effective by being inflexible and ensuring an error-free environment. This approach served well OMD for a certain period of time. However, with the fast pace the advertising industry is moving, a systematic approach to business will impede the organization from outperforming the competition, growing market share and securing superior levels of financial return.
C - Current culture elements to preserve
What we know for sure is that there are key elements we need to preserve in our existing culture. Elements such work specialization, controlled and structured rules and procedures governing the workplace and emphasis on long term stability. Those elements were the grassroots of OMD's success and are extremely important to the entire business ecosystem, be it employees, management, media suppliers and clients.
Moreover, it's really the people that make OMD the kind of company it is. We hire people who are smart and strong-minded, and we favor aptitude over experience. Consequently, taking care of our talents is the most important aspect of our existing culture that has to be always maintained.
One of the best ways that has kept our employees engaged is the frequent and frank discussions we always had regarding performance prospects, teamwork, leadership types and organization performance. It is imperative to keep on offering substantial work-life benefits for our employees as a means of getting and retaining talent. Furthermore, sincere concern and support, which has built a culture that results in additional commitment from our employees is crucial to keep on fostering.
OMD talents have been our biggest key to success; they make decisions, at the right time, about the right things. They make sound judgment calls, enhance the relationship with media suppliers and clients and echo our mission, vision and values.
All the above elements are needed to be preserved. Our goal has been always to provide first class media solutions to our clients. Accordingly, and if we have to maintain our leadership in the market and keep on outperforming our competitors, we need to be focused on our values vis-à-vis employees and adhere and enhance OMD's key media practices.
III Perceptions & observations of the TMT
OMD employees expressed that leaders of the organizations are support and advice providers to all teams to get things done the proper way. The top management's role is perceived to be a circle of procedures in which each element leads to the next. Getting things done efficiently and following OMD's policies is fundamental. Yet, they were all hesitant to take initiatives especially that all major decisions were taken by the top management team only. The same discouraged initiative taking process fearing the punishment from failure.
The great majority of employees said they were being restrained from taking risks and confirmed that the leadership of the organization had clearly sent the message that no initiatives and risks needed to be taken. The same hindered the innovative and creative atmosphere and delayed the organization to respond to market signals and client needs.
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In addition, there is a lot of frustration from the management style of dictating to employees precisely how to do their jobs. They confirmed that they are not encouraging the employment of skilled thinking people and OMD's strict policies and procedures repressed them by forbidding them to use their skills and abilities to make decisions.
It was clear that the communication at OMD flows downward. This style mirrored our culture by transmitting work-related information to all employees on different levels especially that employees required this information to perform their jobs and meet the managers' expectations. It was evident that most employees were extremely demotivated by this routine. For them, and despite being efficient while ensuring everyone is working towards common goals and objectives, it signaled a lack of openness between the top management and employees. Furthermore, they strongly believe that by the management simply informing those beneath them of what needs to be done, employees were imposed to any suggestions.
It was evident that all employees have a consensus about our existing culture profile. Our discussions confirmed that our culture is a hierarchy one and instigated immediate action towards an adhocracy culture style.
IV Steps to follow to achieve the desired outcome.
In order for OMD to progress towards the desired future Adhocracy culture, it is suggested that the management to implement the following strategies.
Change OMD's current vision statement since it does not provide both cognitive and emotional direction and it does it inspire creative initiative.
It is crucial to move from a hierarchical to a flexible structure that emphasizes on speed and agility. The media industry is a dynamic one and swiftness is a key component in our day to day activities.
Encourage employees to stay close to their clients, forecast their requirements on all points and find ways to exceed those requirements.
Set up a task force of first line employees to conceptualize new strategies for expanding markets and developing new business in the region (Levant).
Work closely with OMD Dubai (the region's headquarters) for practices continuous improvement finding out what has been done successfully in their region. The same will foster the existing creative thinking.
Craft and develop new systems to encourage, measure and reward innovation behavior at all levels of our system.
Put all employees through a training program that includes the practical applications of creative thinking, the strategic reasons for increased responsiveness, and the basic principles of organizational innovation.
Hold celebrations and internal meetings that allow employees to show off their new, underdeveloped, experimental ideas and media strategies.
Cultivate rewards that recognize the creativity and innovation of employees, teams, and units. Recognize not only good ideas but also orchestrating and sponsoring activities that help new ideas get developed and adopted.
Almost all organizations cultivate a dominant style of organizational culture over time. In fact, it is challenging to name a particular significantly successful company, one that is identified pioneer in its industry that does not have a unique, readily recognizable organizational culture. These culture types can be genuinely assessed using the competing values framework as tool. The same helps managers identify the underlying cultural dynamics that exist in their organizations.
Organizational improvements are unlikely to happen without culture change as an initial step in the process. However, culture change requires extensive management interventions, and, for many organizations, is either too expensive or too time-consuming, making successful transformation problematic.
At this stage, culture change is indispensable in creating and reinforcing OMD's organizational transformation and making necessary structural changes may serve as the first intervention for shifting culture. At OMD, changes in how new members are socialized may bring about a commitment to OMD's values and encourage a team-oriented approach. The impact of these initiatives on OMD is expected to result in norms that reflect organizational objectives. Focusing on improving collaboration and particularly among the management team, will result in continuous dialogue between members, which will hopefully become implanted in their working relationships. In conclusion, the shift from a Hierarchy to Adhocracy culture type will help the creation of structural advantages that incentivize the favored ways of reaching goals may be more effective in responding to ineffectiveness than a commitment to changing culture, which, over time, may certainly arise as shifts in behavior emerge.