Ultimate Goal Of Almost All Companies Commerce Essay


The ultimate goal of almost all companies whether it is a multinational organisation or a small corner store is sustainability. While stability is the foundation of an organisation's culture, an organization will encounter many changes, either by choice or force, as it grows and adapts to its environment. According to Daft (2007), there are four stages of an organisation's lifecycle, and at each stage, organisations require both stability and change in order to survive. The long term straregies of many organisations involves change, but although it may appear paradoxical, the unstated objective of a organization is to retain its core values (Paton & McCalman,2008). In this essay, the paradoxical nature of organisational culture as incorporating elements of both stability as well as its contribution to organisational change will be discussed.

Firstly, the literature review will provide a more detailed analysis of existing literature on change and stability and its contribution to organisational culture. The definitions of both stability and change will be explained. Then, the paradoxical nature of organisational culture with reference to the relationships between stability and change will be exaimined. In addition, the contribution stability and change have on

Literature Review

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Although, Sackman (1992) argues that there is not a universal definition of culture, Buchanan and Huczynski (2004) insisted organisational culture has wider and deeper concepts, something that an organisation 'is' rather than what it 'has'. Culture in an ORGANISATION can also be defined as its personality. (Brown, 1998). As a result, culture management systems that one ORGANISATION employs successfully may fail in another ORGANISATION. Martin (1992) studied the level of members' acceptance toward ORGANISATIONal culture and stated three different cultural paradigms: integration, differentiation and fragmentation.

The literature will focus on stability, change and the paradox of organization culture. The idea of organisational stability in conjunction with change is not a new concept. The model that Lewin (1947) created identified the coexistence of forces of resistance with forces for change. Weick (1969) famously described "organisation" and "change" as two sides of the same coin. He believed that human systems are always stabilising and destabilising simultaneously. There are also punctuated equilibrium models of change (Gersick, 1991; Leanna and Barry, 2000) and adaptive/maintenance models of organisational culture. There appears to be a human tendency to destabilise stable situations and seek stability in unstable environments. Although, it may seem essential Srivastva & Fry, and associates, few academic writers have focused on organisational continuity.

The definitions of paradox found in the literature emphasise the contradictory and yet interdependent nature of two apparently opposing concepts. Van de Ven and Poole (1988), for example, define paradox as the real or apparent contradiction between equally well-based assumptions or conclusions. Taken singly, each is contestable, yet taken together, they are inconsistent. Lewis (2000) defines paradox as contradictory yet interrelated elements that seem logical in isolation but absurd and irrational when appearing simultaneously. Cameron and Quinn (1988) describe paradox as contradictory and mutually exclusive elements that are present and operate equally at the same time.

Sackman (1992) argues that there is not a universal definition of culture, Buchanan and Huczynski (2004) insisted organisational culture has wider and deeper concepts, something that an organisation 'is' rather than what it 'has'. Culture in an ORGANISATION can also be defined as its personality. Like with a person's personality, although there may be similarities, no two are the same. If all company cultures are different, then how are can they be to manage? Managining culture can be compared to the work of a psychologist. A psychologist uses his/her experience to address individual problems. Similarly, management tries to engineer a culture to fit the context (Brown, 1998). As a result, culture management systems that one ORGANISATION employs successfully may fail in another ORGANISATION. Martin (1992) studied the level of members' acceptance toward ORGANISATIONal culture and stated three different cultural paradigms: integration, differentiation and fragmentation. To control the different types of cultures, many academics recommend a strong culture. there are many benefits to having a strong and united culture. Quantitative analysis that was carried out by Kotter (1992) showed that strong cultures outperform firms with weak cultures by facilitating coordination and control, emphasizing common goals and increasing employees efforts.


Srivastva and Wishart (1992) associated stability with terms such as centralisation, conflict reduction, conformity, consensus, consistency, security, continuity, control, formalisation, hierarchy, integration, maintenance, order, status quo and standardization. There are elements of stability that can be found in ceremonies. At Disneyworld the staff members ('cast members') are taught at Disney University and learn all aspects of the role such as formal practices, formal structure, identity, mission, policies, quality and information, standard operating procedures, rituals and symbols Cockerell, L. (2008) . It should also be noted that any "change" initiative quickly becomes a. stabilising (refreezing) force as soon as it replaces the "old" institutional behaviours and language (O'Reilly & Tushman,1997). In addition to the terms associated with stability, it should also be recognised for its contribution to organising and managing enterprises, consolidating gains made, and gaining efficiencies for profitability. Furthermore Collins & Porras (1998) stated more humanistic approaches are such as providing regularity in organisational life, giving meaning and security to organisational members, providing uncertainty reduction, knowledge accumulation, trust, reliability and cooperation.


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The greek philosopher Heraclitus said "there is nothing permanent except change." There are both internal and external forces for change. Listed below are the main force that drive change (Marchington & Wilkinson (2002).

External Forces- macro environmental


new technological developments that change the industry (the PC, the web)

major changes in customer preferences or in demographics (increasing diversity of the workforce).

Internal Forces - forces arising from within the organization:


changes in goals or strategies

desire to increase reputation (Stern)

poor performance

Paradoxical Nature of Organisation Culture

To explore the core dynamic tension between the need to change and the need for stability in organisations and the ramifications of what happens when either change or stability is predominant in organization While it is important for organisations to change, it is also important to retain aspects of their philosophies, learning, knowledge, systems and practices that contributed to their past success. In short, they need to change, but at the same time they need to maintain some of those stabilising elements that served them well in the past and may preserve them in the future. "We have made the point in previous work1 that "change* has become a mantra or battle cry for managers to the point where any questioning of a change agenda is dismissed as "resistance to change" Leadership qualities are highly associated with an ability to deal with change, particularly that of a transformational nature. Being associated with change can be viewed as career enhancing, whereas being associated with stability with its transactional nature might be considered career limiting.

The point we hope to make here is that organisations need stability as well as change in most competitive environments, especially if we hope to create sustainable organisations for the future.

Contribution to Organization Structure

Balancing stability and change

In general, staff who are rewarded for maintaining quality and consistency are likely to develop mindsets and practices associated with stability, while staff who are rewarded for learning, risk taking and innovation will be more likely to develop mindsets and practices associated with change. Repeated patterns of stability and change actions in organisational life become part of the culture, which in turn influences future stability and change practices.* Organisations can be profiled through the use of change-stability dimensions,1* and a number of authors" view stability and change as key dimensions in organisational studies. It has also

Organisation behaviours associated with stability and change.orientations help promote new process and product innovation. Stability orientations help promote aspects such as regularity in systems, practices and organisational mission. Ironically the institutionalisation of change promoting characteristics is an example of a stability orientation. Organisations with a profile in the Conservative quadrant have a low concern for change and high concern for stability. They can be quite efficient and profitable providing they have few competitors and operate in a stable environment; unfortunately most firms do not have the luxury of such operating conditions. Organisations such as libraries, city councils and those with regulatory responsibilities often typify this quadrant. If two firms operating in the same industry within a competitive environment were profiled as hxvingMature and Conservative orientations respectively, then the latter would be more likely to struggle in the longer term due to being less responsive to environmental changes. In terms of lifecycle theory, firms in competitive environments with Conservative profiles may be in the decline phase, as their ability to facilitate necessary change has been stilted by factors causing them to stay essentially the same.

Firms operating in the Radical quadrant have a high concern for change and low concern for stability. Such firms more typically have short cyde times, high product obsolescence, face intense competition and operate in a rapidly changing environment. Examples might include the computer and IT industries, and firms making high technology electronic consumer products such as iPods. The work demands on their staff are often high, as they invariably need to accept continuous rapid change and high levels of uncertainty. This quadrant is better characterised by industry rather than a single firm in an industry, as external factors relating to the market and technology drive the characteristics of the industry. In terms of organisational lifecycle theory, the Radical quadrant may be more associated with the growth phase where the emphasis is on carving out a market share and refining product and business processes.

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Firms in the Laissez-faire quadrant exhibit a low concern for both stability and change. Such firms more typically represent an organisation in either its start up phase where stability-change patterns have yet to be established, or when the firm is in for wealth generation and/or acceptable economic performance. Firms with conflicting or dysfunctional senior management teams can exhibit such characteristics and be in a state of drift with low adherence to previously set standards. "The business is usually no longer developing or going forward. Small and family-run businesses

firms operating a retrenchment strategy can also find themselves in this quadrant. Within any given industry, firms in the Laissez-faire quadrant may find themselves candidates for takeovers or lionidation.

A recent study of a firm in the express delivery transport industry*5 showed a profile more consistent with the Mature quadrant. Its stability orientation was high, but it also had a higher overall orientation towards change


Stability and change