THE FOURTH TASK OF LEADERSHIP: MANAGING THE CULTURE TRANSFORMATION
Corporate culture however is at the heart of any organisational system. It has history, a past and a present, and is affected by management systems, people, structures, processes and externally by society and the wider environment. The term 'social energy' seems to be at the heart of corporate culture. The corporate culture change therefore can take any of the above forms. It will depend on the status of the organisation concerned, its history, values, beliefs, systems and type of leadership.
Importance of culture
'Success in business is not determined by an executive's skills alone; or by the visible features - the strategy, structure and reward system - of the organisation. Rather the organisation itself has an invisible qualify – a certain style, a character, a way of doing things - that may be more powerful than the dictates of any one person or any formal system. Culture provides meaning, direction and mobilization, a social energy that moves the corporation into either productive action or destruction.'
'Culture is the social energy that drives - or fails to drive - the organisation. To ignore culture and move on to something else is to assume once again, that formal documents, strategies, structures, and reward systems are enough to guide human behaviour in an organisation - that people believe and commit to what they read or are told to do. On the contrary, most of what goes on in an organisation is guided by the cultural qualities of shared meaning, hidden assumptions, and unwritten rules.'
Categories of culture: There are two categories of cultures or modes of behaviour,
(i) Transformational dynamics: These represent areas which are mostly influenced by environmental factors (mission, strategy, leadership). These variables shape the corporate culture of the organisation.
(ii) Transactional dynamics: These represent the short term organisational changes. They include variables such as structure, management practices and systems (policies and procedures)
Distinction between transformational and transactional dynamics:
- The best way to distinguish between transactional and transformational cultures is the unit of time.
- Transactional change happens all the time, and is really a transitional type of culture.
- These changes can happen overnight and can last for as long as it is necessary or desired by management.
- Transformational change however is much more difficult and reflects corporate culture.
- Usually it is a long term objective and can take between 3-15 years.