Role of culture and commitment in organizational change


In addition what recommendations would you make to maintain commitment in the change process? We live in a dynamic world where people, organizations, corporate bodies and entities are liable to change with the environment. Organization and corporate establishments respond to these changes in different ways. Hence ignorance and lack of understanding of the overly dynamic activities hovering around us as a people and as a corporate organization cannot be taken as an excuse for lack of development within an organization, but it should be noted as a resultant element which leads to failure and slow progress in the development of a business.

The word change is synonymous to remodeling, transformation, variance and refinement. According to this author 'Change is generally, a response to some significant threat or opportunity arising outside of the organization' (Vic, 1997, p.3)

Taken into consideration the life span of both a successful and an unsuccessful business organization, you would realize that no organization can survive if its day to day activities remains the same without improvement or its managerial contributions required for the successful running of the organization remain the same. There must be room for improvement. The world changes every day. An organization with a positive sense of direction who wants to sustain its place in the challenging market is bound to change. Competitors, customers, stakeholders are not left out. As a people we are prone to changes.

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A dormant organization or corporate establishment would not only limit its ability to grow but unknowingly has paved a path for their competitor who has responded to the market changes on time to take over the market. On a daily basis rival organizations embark on changes within and around its environment. They make decisions everyday as to what should be changed, which areas requires changes to enable improvement and profitability to the organization. All these are done just to maintain a competitive edge within the market place.

These changes experienced within an organization are a reflexion of the changes in the culture and employees' commitment and attitude towards their individual job roles.

The ways and manner in which people do things within and around an organization is termed the 'Culture' of that organization. The culture in any organization play a vital role in either making the company experience growth or projects a decline in the growth of the organization. Irrespective of the above, some academic scholars gave different definitions of culture. Culture consist in patterned ways of thinking, feeling and reacting, acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols, consisting the distinctive of human groups including their embodiment in artefact; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ( i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values ( Kroeber and Kluckholn, 1952, p.181)

It is obvious that the way and manner organizations operate depends on the culture of such organization. People perform certain roles as it is required to make the organization function. These roles changes over time according to the changes in managerial recommendation of how things should be done around the office environment. Culture is what is typical of the organization. The habits are included, also the prevailing attitudes within the organization. There is a set of understand among the people working together in an organization. This is more like a grown up pattern of accepted and expected behaviour within an organization. In a broader perspective, you would find out that organizational culture is characterized by member's identity which employees identify within the organization as a whole rather than with their own type of job or field of professional expertise.

The role of culture was and is still been adopted by managements of different organizations in different ways. Activities could be organized around groups rather than individuals. In some organizations, the management culture focus mainly on the people whereby management makes decisions after considering the effects of the outcomes of the people within the organization. Others focus on control whereby rules, regulations, direct supervision are commonly used to manage the people within such an organization.

Within some organization management cultivate the habit of encouraging employees to be aggressive, innovative and risk seeking. There are situations whereby rewards on the performance of employees are used as incentive to promote the commitment of such employees towards their jobs in an organization, this focus mainly on increase in salaries, promotions according to performance and not according to seniority. There are so many ways of doing things around a working environment which attracts an employee to be commitment to his or her job. Take for example, in an organization where employees are encouraged to air their views, conflicts at work, this pave way for openness and freedom of association within a conducive and accommodating environment. Criticism is made openly, this promotes self confidence among the employees and whenever they are around their respective offices. Employees are bound to be commitment to their job because they are so free and relaxed at work, the result of this is an excellent performance from employees.

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In some organization, management focus and belief that results or outcomes should be key factors to emphasize on rather than the techniques and processes used to achieve these outcomes.

Culture plays an important and vital role in every organization, the ways and manners these cultures are held, as well as how they are applied and strictly managed within the organization goes a long way in leading to a realistic change in an organization. Organizational culture refers to the pattern of belief, values and learned ways of coping with the experience that have developed during the course of an organization's history and which tends to be manifested in its material arrangements and in the behaviours of its members ( Brown 1998, p9; cited by Thornhill et al 2000)

It is quite noticeable that the culture of an organization will change if the belief, values and ways of the organization is altered. These changes would either result to a positive change or a negative change in the organization. What I am clearly implying is these values, belief and behaviour are patterned and these patterns would have been proven valid and effective before the management would recommend it as an accepted criteria which is introduced to every new employees of the organization.

In Essence, organizational culture is something which an organization has rather is. So far, culture change has helped changed less effective organizations to become effective and also it has reversed a more effective organization to become less effective. Rightfully, I would say certain positive outcomes are achieved in an organization. A strong culture is said to improve organizational performance. These changes are linked to performance. You'd find out that in some organization a weak but dominant culture with multiple sub cultures may become so controlling that there is little potential for the non conformity which brings innovation and the capacity to adapt to the change. Before any significant change could be made or experienced in an organization the culture must be managed accordingly.

Irrespective of the culture of an organization, does every employee find satisfaction with these ways and manners on how things are done in such an organization? How committed could an employee be in an organization? Is the commitment noticeable? The questions could be endless. Culture plays a vital role in organizational change. In a situation where the culture of an organization does not fit well with the needs of the outside environment or with its available resources, such culture is in need of change. In a situation where the organisation if not performing well and need changes the culture calls for a change too. It is quite possible to change the culture of an organisation but it is not easy as it may seem. It would require a tedious process when it comes to changing the culture of an organisation, most time it would require an efficient, effective and strong leadership to do so.

Culture and commitment plays very important roles simultaneously in organisational change. Generally, people do not feel comfortable and committed to changes when they are forced to accept or are persuaded to into accepting. In other situations, changing the attitudes and beliefs of employees does not equally result in a change in behaviour. The role of culture has to be handled with care and should be done intelligently with enough consideration of the employees. Take the change process into consideration the causes of these changes results from corresponding changes in organisational culture.

The culture and commitment are interwoven concepts in the change process. A failure to gain the commitment of employees could lead to a decline or probably the value of the venture. Alternatively, a very high and dedicated work force comprising of employees and management represents a significant competitive advantage. In a situation where crisis arises and the organisation is unstable or the organisation is experiencing changing conditions it becomes a liability to the organisation that rely on employees to wait to be told what to do. I would say a strong organisational culture develops commitment and intensity.

According to an author, organizational commitment is typically conceived of as an individual's psychological bond to organisations; including a sense of job involvement, loyalty and belief in the values of the organisation. Reilly 2001, p.17

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From this simple definition above there must co-exist some sort of acceptable relationship between the employees behaviour, belief in the culture of the organisation. What am I talking about? Where there is no acceptable bond (commitment) connecting the employees and the values (culture) of the organisation there will be either a negative or positive change in the organisation. Commitment was further broken down into three stages; Compliance, Identification, and internalisation. These three factors as I would call them indentify commitment respectively. In a situation whereby an employee is under the influence of others just for the main reason of getting paid or obtaining something from others is termed compliance. After taking a closer look at the second stage, identification could be described as a situation whereby an employee aims to maintaining an existing relationship as an employee of the organisation. And thirdly, the final stage of commitment is internalisation, whereby the employee feels a natural sense of belonging which they take to be essential. There is harmony of values of the employees and that of the organisation, some kind of agreement in values.