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Leading Cultural Transformation

Summary: This article describes three underlying features of cultural transformation: the nine organizational systems, the complexity of culture, and the building blocks of culture. The author warns that if these features are not taken into consideration, superficial attempts at culture transformation fail, and that the trouble with shallow culture initiatives is the lack of real transformative change. Culture is but one of nine major systems of an organization. These nine organizational systems, or fronts, need to be led to accomplish performance transformation and growth. Leadership must understand which organizational front to leverage at which time to achieve success in guiding performance improvement efforts within the organization. Culture has several building blocks; how individuals think, how they view the world, and their beliefs form the base. From the base, the next layer includes the block of expressed mission, vision, and values and the level of both personal alignment (within the individual) and structural alignment (within the organization). Also found at this layer are occupational or environmental culture influences. The third layer is composed of organizational influencers; powerful tools of change if the base is addressed. The article includes a case study focusing on the Botswana Prison Service in southern Africa.

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  • Topics: Leadership
  • Keywords: Organizational culture, Corporate culture, Cultural change, Culture, Transformation, Leadership, Culture pyramid, Case study, Africa
  • Author: Hacker, Stephen K.;
  • Journal: Journal for Quality and Participation