When we talk about managing change in companies we are referring to changing the organizational culture, as to take place the first is required to foster a new way to understanding of production processes, connections among employees, as well as the relationship with customers and society in general.

The organization seeks to find a balance between two systems that conforms its identity. One is determined by the structure of itself, which is formed by the policy, strategy, processes and regulations. The other system is formed by the culture of the organization, leadership, customs and rituals of people, their values and the power game.

The structure belongs to the company, and emanates from a few of its members, while culture belongs to the people and is determined by all members of the organization.

Types of organizations depending on the balance between its structure and culture

 

According the contributions of the Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management we can identify four typologies of organizations:

  • Clan. They are organizations with a high level of culture, but with under structure, which entails a direction based on relationships and the power game. The absence of regulations or procedures and the importance of the connections between its members can become very inbred and seen as disconnected from their environment.
  • Adhocracy. They are entities with low levels of culture and structure, which can lead to a more flexible and anarchic way to operate, that could cause waste of the knowledge learned and a low loyalty among its members or loss of synergies.
  • Bureaucracy. In this case we found low levels of culture but high in structure, which means an environment that tends to manage complexity and uncertainty through procedures, policies and regulations and also at the same time showing little sensitivity to the needs and concerns of people who are part of the organization.
  • Cosmopolis. They are organizations with high levels of culture and structure. In these environments you can be found high levels of diversity between people and the different production processes, so that the required management relies on a balance between the needs and “modus vivendi” of its members, and operational mechanisms that ensure the functioning of the organization.
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Changing the organizational culture

 

For a company to be successful in management of change must be aware of the following:

  • The structure must legitimize culture. The corporate policies or procedures must be established to serve the people, giving them the power and facilities to develop their vision and common goals.
  • The culture must give support to the structure. At the end it depends on the people or not to comply with the procedures and standards, as are they can accept integrally or reveal against them. That is why organizational leaders must seize all the good that comes from culture to build a structure that enhances their performance and meets their needs
  • Dependent systems. Structure and culture are not independent of each other. They need each other and if they cannot find their inner balance will cause an imbalance that affects the weakest system that will cause a “pain” in the organization.
  • Listen to both systems. In order to achieve a balance between the two, it requires great sensitivity to see, and understand, the demands of each of them to achieve their balance continuously. The organizational life and the cycle of market will continually challenge their good fit, so the organization will require mechanisms to check the status.
  • Culture is simmer. As we know, a process of cultural transformation requires a longer or shorter period of time. There is no valid fixed term for all processes of change, because it will depend not only of the moment of the organization but also of the market situation, and the conjunctural moment of the society. In any case, and as reference average is estimated “standard” duration in 3 to 4 years.
  • The leader as a change agent. The leader is not just someone who organizes the present, but also a bridge to the future. It is therefore imperative that has a good sense of smell and sensitivity to seek harmonious balance of the structure and culture of the organization.

 

 

Enric Arola