Organizational culture change, an elephant eaten with a spoon

Organizational culture change, an elephant eaten with a spoon

Product diversification, technology advancement, and increased global competition have given the business envi-ronment unprecedented dynamics. Performing in this climate are those companies that respond rapidly to change.

The strategies adapted to the culture of the organization are the most sustainable, because they influence significantly the chances of success of any change plans.

The more organizational culture is aligned with the mission and the values ​​of the company, the chances of successful change are greater. However, managers need to be aware that, for their colleagues, the real culture of the company is that resulting from the rewarded behaviors and implicitly transmitted as a message to all the staff in this way. That is why understanding a company's culture helps in two ways:

1. Facilitates decision-makers understanding the degree of acceptance of change, and

2. Identifies the root cause of the challenges that impede a higher performance level.

Employee's ability to influence

Compared to global companies, family businesses have some peculiarities. In general, the size of family businesses brings people closer. But the readiness of employees to propose and implement change is low. Most times, the owner and the management exercise their prerogatives without taking too much into account the employees' opinion. What is the consequence? The latter feel discouraged and lose their motivation to come up with ideas for improvement.


Even if these companies say that teamwork is essential, often the level of trust is low and precisely the cohesion and the teamwork are affected. Lack of communication and collaboration between the various functions of the company and even at the same hierarchical levels have a negative impact on the working environment. Confidence binds an organization and makes the behaviors and actions of those involved predictable. The security that group power gives to each employee in part leads to building a framework of cooperation that generates efficiency in achieving common goals.

Timely reporting

Since the way employees perceive the time is another essential dimension in evaluating an organizational culture, many family businesses have shown that past or present orientation influences the acceptance of change. Since change means setting the vision of the future you want to overcome the challenges of the present, focusing on the past was perceived as lack of a strategy, creating uncertainty, and generating dysfunctional behaviors.

Potential solutions

  • Providing employees, customers, and suppliers with the opportunity to contribute ideas that improve policies and workflows.
  • Internal forums for employees and the implementation of surveys on customer relationship quality and supplier satisfaction are very useful.
  • Organizing a strategic management group to meet weekly to discuss business challenges, to coordinate activities between functions in order to build trust and cohesion.
  • Establishing the vision of the company and the mission statement, with the participation of the management of each function, to encourage a sense of belonging.
  • Making a panel of company photos in the early years helps employees know the history and longevity of the company and encourages teamwork among colleagues.

In conclusion

Organizational improvements are unlikely without changing the company culture. But the change of culture is lasting, requires continuous interventions and is either too expensive or too time-consuming. That is why making the necessary structural changes can serve as an initial intervention for the change of culture. Improving collaboration, especially among the leadership team, creates the opportunity for a continuous dialogue between all colleagues and paves the way for this behavior to be incorporated into the day-to-day working relationships. Socializing can also bring a commitment to organizational values ​​and encourage a teamwork mentality. Changing culture is an elephant that should be eaten with a spoon.