Understanding The Culture At Fairisle Polytechnic Commerce Essay

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Fairisle Polytechnic was a school in the United Kingdom, which was to be upgraded to the university in 1980s. The Polytechnic was being controlled by local authorities' institutions and was providing non-advanced further education courses. At that time, Fairisle's campus was situated at Fawley Ridge, an area of prime residential land, which was rapidly appreciating in value and set at the price of 1.5 GBP as a piece of land alone. The new university was in need of such a land to be able to build its campus facilities; unfortunately the land was being used by local businesspeople attending their language and business-related NAFE courses. At that time, Paul Kost was chosen to be a new director and who was about to face some very specific challenges. 

Organizational culture is an idea in the field of Organizational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. It has been defined as "the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization."

Strong culture is said to exist where staff respond to stimulus because of their alignment to organizational values. In such environments, strong cultures help firms operate like well-oiled machines, cruising along with outstanding execution and perhaps minor tweaking of existing procedures here and there. Conversely, there is weak culture where there is little alignment with organizational values and control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy. This type of culture had occurred at Fairisle Polytechnic before Kest became a new director

Where culture is strong-people do things because they believe it is the right thing to do-there is a risk of another phenomenon, Groupthink. "Groupthink" was described by Irving L. Janis. He defined it as "...a quick and easy way to refer to a mode of thinking that people engage when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in group, when members' striving for unanimity override

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their motivation to realistically appraise alternatives of action." This is a state where people, even

if they have different ideas, do not challenge organizational thinking, and therefore there is a reduced capacity for innovative thoughts. This could occur, for example, where there is heavy reliance on a central charismatic figure in the organization, or where there is an evangelical belief in the organization's values, or also in groups where a friendly climate is at the base of their identity (avoidance of conflict). In fact group think is very common, it happens all the time, in almost every group. Members that are defiant are often turned down or seen as a negative influence by the rest of the group, because they bring conflict.

In our case, Paul Kost was about to become the core person of a big change for the entire Polytechnic. He was a brilliant public speaker, with a great outgoing personality, but also blunt and ruthless once he made up his mind. He inherited a structure of what was basically 16 baronial fiefdoms or empires with several scandalous situations - finical and academic - ready to explode. Change of culture in the whole institution was needed. Kost realized that Fairisle Polytechnic was an inappropriate organizational structure with inadequate financial accountability, inadequate monitoring of quality, inappropriate physical accommodation, underperformance in research, and staff who were highly unionized and politicized and who had tried to resist the acquiescing of resources.

An organization that is established as an instrument or means for achieving defined objectives has been referred to as a formal organization. Its design specifies how goals are subdivided and reflected in subdivisions of the organization. Divisions, departments, sections, positions, jobs, and tasks make up this work structure. Thus, the formal organization is expected to behave impersonally in regard to relationships with clients or with its members. 

According to Weber's definition, entry and subsequent advancement is by merit or seniority. Each employee receives a salary and enjoys a degree of tenure that safeguards her/him from the arbitrary influence of superiors or of powerful clients. The higher his position is in the hierarchy, the greater his presumed expertise in adjudicating problems that may arise in the course of the work carried out at lower levels of the organization. It is this bureaucratic structure that forms the basis for the appointment of heads or chiefs of administrative subdivisions in the organization and endows them with the authority attached to their position.

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The dominant leader of the organization was Cyril Lancashire and many of the stuff felt strong allegiance to. He was a one of the main casual factors which shaped the organization's culture. The director's order at the department of continental management was to remove Lancashire, although he was thought to be an honest and well intentioned employee. 

According to Schein's theory: "Leader can create, reinforce, or change the organization's culture'. That is why Kost knew, he needed to replace the old leaders and replace them with new ones.

The new director, started restructuring the inefficient institution. He assigned departments to facilities, combining some of them. He also removed some of the 16 heads of the former departments and made others reapply for their posts. Kost required his new heads to suspect everything and trust no one. They were supposed to scour out the corruption of the old guard and identify any slack or underperformance in teaching commitments. Kost also removed some deputy directors, created new heads who were his political affiliates and who were entirely accountable to him, as the director.

In prehistoric times, humanity was preoccupied with personal security, maintenance, protection, and survival. Now humanity spends a major portion of waking hours working for organizations. Our need to identify with a community that provides security, protection, maintenance, and a feeling of belonging continues unchanged from prehistoric times. This need is met by the informal organization and its emergent, or unofficial, leaders.

Moreover, Edgar Schein lists three levels of culture, which were to be changed be the director in order the entire culture of the organization. First level of culture is Artifacts - visual physical objects, processes, structures, followed by Espoused values - expresses goals, strategies and philosophies. The third level is basic assumptions - unconscious, taken for granted thoughts and feelings. 

In his decision making strategy, Derek Elliott - the head of the department of continental management - was using the 'democratic climates' strategy which is characterized by collective decision processes, assisted by the leader. Before accomplishing tasks, perspectives are gained from group discussion and technical advice from a leader. Members are given choices and

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collectively decide the division of labor. Praise and criticism in such an environment are objective, fact minded and given by a group member without necessarily having participated extensively in the actual work. That was a great occasion to discuss possible futures and priorities with his staff on all three on which the department operated. 

Kost was not only a great leader but he also knew how to handle issues with his customers, in this case, with the students. When their frustration started exploding, he directed their anger at the government and suggested them to organize a lobby, for what he was cheered by the students. His main goal was to remain very high standards and quality of the education. So whatever decision he or his top management were taking, he was assuring them, that everything is negotiable as long as it does not negatively affect the quality of education, so there was a difference after the move in the culture of this organization, which became of high quality and sort of clean.

Question 2 Power (15 points)

Please analyze the case of Fawley Ridge in terms of power. You might include the concept of discourse or stakeholders or other relevant terms?

 

Ed Grimley, the president of the the Students Union agreed to come with representatives of the committee to an open meeting to be held with William, the deputy director, Derek, the head of the department of continental management and David Burland, the dean. They are project stakeholders because they had an interest in moving the institution to an other place. It was a verbal exchange where both sides had their opinion about the topic. The understanding was that Students Union representatives and staff had priority admission, then any available space could be taken up by students. It was an important issue because the student demonstration could have blocked the institutions. Whether the conflict occurs, depends on importance of issue. Ed warned the leaders that this move would be unpopular and the union would fight for it. Three days before the meeting the students mounted a virulent campaign. Anti-move stickers were printed and appeared all over the campus. On the day of the meeting there was a large demonstration outside

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the meeting room with banners and chants of over 200 students.

In the meeting room, William and Derek felt the pressure and stress in front of the big crowd. It was a physical force from the side of the students because they were trying to stand over the leaders showing that the number of students can influence the decision made by the institution. SU gave threats such as demonstrations, occupation because they did not want to leave to an other building. Now the expert power was came into action when William outlined the pressure on the Shaws Park site and the problems of finding alternative accommodation. He also pointed out that Fawley had lots of daytime space and plenty of complementary resources. He also added that the purpose was to help to support the move not to push it through regardless, and that it could not go through without the support of everyone. William had the knowledge as an expert and he was trying to use logic with evidences of the facts. He also had the power of argument because he was able to let the students know about the advantages of moving.

Then Derek took over to propose that each group would look at its own position and requirements, staff relocation, resources, transport and decide on its criteria for evaluation of the move. Then the group representatives would meet together and gain an overview of the move as a whole. This way, the student group was left to its own professional judgment to decide what things were required to make the move a success and William and Derek would negotiate the resources with the institution. 

The working party went away, came up with recommendations and William, Derek followed up what they could. They then held another question and answer session. In this part an exchange influence came into consideration because of the bargaining and negotiation. Individual staff were encouraged to come to see Derek if they had concerns. Derek also visited the site frequently to talk to staff there. Gradually the case had changed because no group, no students saying that it could not go ahead.

 

Question 3 Change (15 points)

Please analyze the move as a change process! You might use theory from more than one chapter.

 

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According to Ken Ogbonnia, "effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available resources within the internal and external environment for the attainment of organizational or societal goals."Leadership is about capacity: the capacity of leaders to listen and observe, to use their expertise as a starting point to encourage dialogue between all levels of decision-making, to establish processes and transparency in decision-making, to articulate their own values and visions clearly but not impose them. Leadership is about setting and not just reacting to agendas, identifying problems, and initiating change that makes for substantial improvement. In our case, Paul Kost was about to become the core person of a big change for the entire Polytechnic. He was a brilliant public speaker, with a great outgoing personality, but also blunt and ruthless once he made up his mind. He inherited a structure of what was basically 16 baronial fiefdoms or empires with several scandalous situations - finical and academic - ready to explode. Change of culture in the whole institution was needed.

There are a number of methodologies specifically dedicated to organizational culture change such as Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline and Arthur F Carmazzi's Directive Communication. These are also a variety of psychological approaches that have been developed into a system for specific outcomes such as the Fifth Discipline's "learning organization" or Directive Communication's "corporate culture evolution." Ideas and strategies, on the other hand, seem to vary according to particular influences that affect culture.

Burman and Evans argue that it is 'leadership' that affects culture rather than 'management', and describe the difference. When one wants to change an aspect of the culture of an organization one has to keep in consideration that this is a long term project. Corporate culture is something that is very hard to change and employees need time to get used to the new way of organizing. For companies with a very strong and specific culture it will be even harder to change.

Cummings & Worley give the following six guidelines for cultural change; these changes are in line with the eight distinct stages mentioned by Kotter.

1. Formulate a clear strategic vision - in order to make a cultural change effective a clear vision of the firm's new strategy, shared values and behaviors is needed. The intention and direction for

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the culture change.

Fairisle Polytechnic was a school in the United Kingdom, which was to be upgraded to the university. The Polytechnic was being controlled by local authorities institutions and was providing non-advanced further education courses. The land where the campus was situated was being used by local businesspeople attending their language and business-related NAFE courses, which was to be changed as new regular students needed new facilities for attending their courses.

2. Display Top-management commitment - it is very important to keep in mind that culture change must be managed from the top of the organization, as willingness to change of the senior management is an important indicator. The top of the organization should be very much in favor of the change in order to actually implement the change in the rest of organization. 

Paul Kost was chosen to be a new director and who was about to face some very specific challenges. He had to introduce new way of management and leadership, which are very important while changing the culture of a company.

3. Model culture change at the highest level - in order to show that the management team is in favor of the change, the change has to be notable at first at this level. The behavior of the management needs to symbolize the kinds of values and behaviors that should be realized in the rest of the company. It is important that the management shows the strengths of the current culture as well, it must be made clear that the current organizational does not need radical changes, but just a few adjustments.

Management operates through various functions, often classified as planning, organizing, leading/directing, and controlling/monitoring. Planning, means basally deciding what needs to happen in the future (today, next week, next month, next year, over the next 5 years, etc.) and generating plans for action. Organizing is making optimum use of the resources required to enable the successful carrying out of plans. Staffing describes job analyzing, recruitment, and hiring individuals for appropriate jobs. Leading/directing is determining what needs to be done in a situation and getting people to do it. Controlling/Monitoring is a process of checking progress

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against plans, which may need modification based on feedback. For that reason Kost required his

new heads to suspect everything and trust no one. They were supposed to scour out the corruption of the old guard and identify any slack or underperformance in teaching commitments. Kost also removed some deputy directors, created new heads who were his political affiliates and who were entirely accountable to him, as the director.

4. Modify the organization to support organizational change - the fourth step is to modify the organization to support organizational change.

Kost realized that Fairisle Polytechnic was an inappropriate organizational structure with inadequate financial accountability, inadequate monitoring of quality, inappropriate physical accommodation, underperformance in research, and staff who were highly unionized and politicized and who had tried to resist the acquiescing of resources. Firstly, the new director, started restructuring the inefficient institution. He assigned departments to facilities, combining some of them. He also removed some of the 16 heads of the former departments and made others reapply for their posts.

5. Select and socialize newcomers and terminate deviants - a way to implement a culture is to connect it to organizational membership, people can be selected and terminate in terms of their fit with the new culture.

Kost new that in order to change the culture of the organization, he had to remove the dominate leader of the organization, as hew was a one of the main casual factors which shaped the organization's culture. The dominant leader's name was Cyril Landashire and many of the stuff felt strong allegiance to. The director order his head of the department of continental management to remove Lancashire, although he was thought to be an honest and well intentioned employee. 

According to Schein: "leader can create, reinforce, or change the organization's culture'. That is why Kost knew, he needed to replace the old leaders and replace them with new ones. In contrast to the appointed head or chief of an administrative unit, a leader emerges within the context of

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the informal organization that underlies the formal structure. The informal organization expresses the personal objectives and goals of the individual membership. Their objectives and goals may or may not coincide with those of the formal organization. The informal organization represents an extension of the social structures that generally characterize human life - the spontaneous emergence of groups and organizations as ends in themselves.

6. Develop ethical and legal sensitivity - changes in culture can lead to tensions between organizational and individual interests, which can result in ethical and legal problems for practitioners. This is particularly relevant for changes in employee integrity, control, equitable treatment and job security.

In his decision making strategy, Derek Elliott - the head of the department of continental management - was using the 'democratic climates' strategy which is characterized by collective decision processes, assisted by the leader. Before accomplishing tasks, perspectives are gained from group discussion and technical advice from a leader. Members are given choices and collectively decide the division of labor. Praise and criticism in such an environment are objective, fact minded and given by a group member without necessarily having participated extensively in the actual work. That was a great occasion to discuss possible futures and priorities with his staff on all three on which the department operated. 

Kost was not only a great leader but he also knew how to handle issues with his customers, in this case, with the students. When their frustration started exploding, he directed their anger at the government and suggested them to organize a lobby, for what he was cheered by the students. His main goal was to remain very high standards and quality of the education. So whatever decision he or his top management were taking, he was assuring them, that everything is negotiable as long as it does not negatively affect the quality of education, so there was a difference after the move in the culture of this organization. 

Change of culture in the organizations is very important and inevitable. Culture innovations is bound to be because it entails introducing something new and substantially different from what prevails in existing cultures. Cultural innovation is bound to be more difficult than cultural

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maintenance. People often resist changes hence it is the duty of the management to convince people that likely gain will outweigh the losses. Besides institutionalization, deification is another process that tends to occur in strongly developed organizational cultures. The organization itself may come to be regarded as precious in itself, as a source of pride, and in some sense unique. Organizational members begin to feel a strong bond with it that transcends material returns given by the organization, and they begin to identify with in. The organization turns into a sort of clan.

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