Every organisation has its own unique way of doing things, be it management, employment, or compensation to investment. When two firms seek to merge, customary differences are more than likely to crop up. Structured-entrepreneurial, proactive-reactive, centralised-decentralised, formal-informal or extravagant-economical, each firm has its own firm belief in what is right and what’s wrong. This is where cultural differences emerge. Management has always devised a set of ethics on which the company and its employees perform. This is the organisational culture. The practice continues till the company becomes non-existent. Culture cannot be changed within a company, unless there is the influence of an external factor. This so-called external factor is either a merger or an acquisition. Partnerships are the association of two companies working within a set of rules and regulations, for the benefit of each (The Hindu, 2007).
Culture change management is a tough volley and can be successful only when employees ascribe to it. However, predisposed workers lose motivation and experience job insecurity in the face of a merger. So, leaders should use persuasion, not coercion, to mobilise the apprehensive workforce. Culture within an organisation is equally important in the context of organisational success. Culture is built over years of practice and cannot be changed overnight. The culture that one wraps around people can not alter them as individuals, but will definitely influence their behaviour. Culture shapes the way one invests his/her energy, adjust their capacity to absorb change, and affect their desire to do more than expected. Culture does make a difference in the way a company functions. Culture cannot be thought overnight, it comes with continuous practice and certain external drivers. Drivers are instigators that lead to harmony, unity, performance, and loyalty. In an organisation, behaviour is driven by a set of drivers.
Irrespective of the incentives or motivation, certain levels of employees are bound to revolt cultural and structural changes. When an organisation makes adjustments to its existing work ethics (culture), workers tend to interpret this as being provocative. No organisation would like to be at the lower rung of popularity in terms of production or quality. With the advancement of science and technology, new ideas and machineries have enhanced production and quality. The import of such technology or idea may not find favour with the working class of some organisations. This culture invasion can be seen as a provocation into their privacy or termed an identity crisis. In such situations, workers take a rigid stance to block entry of technology or idea that make them insecure and go on the defensive. It is in such situations that HRM needs to address the concerns of these workers. HRM policies must support employee grievance and at the same time be pro-employer. Using various HR techniques, HRM should be able to bring these workers to understand the importance of any new development that the organisation initiates, and that with the growth of the organisation, they grow too. Cultural changes are imperative in this world of globalisation. Global competition means performing to global standards. This can be achieved only if the workers; the backbone of an industry, makes a strong effort to absorb these changes. This can be done by proper management of human resource management. HR plays a vital role in the development of organisational culture. Molding an individual to perform to the organisation’s benefit is what organisational culture is all about. In order to attain this, HR has to implement the following:
- The way performers and non-performers are identified and treated.
- The influence of supervisors and managers, and what objectives are placed before the team.
- The nature of work, and the degree to which these tasks are mechanised.
- The structure (Neville Lake, 2002).
There are many ways to impart training with success, but training in culture is a different proposition altogether. Culture comes with age and repetition. It’s easy for somebody to stand up and say that this has got to be done this way or that way, but unless it is put to practice, and I mean real practice, the exercise will be one big letdown. Being upfront and sharing information about intentions, targets, benchmarks and the course of action is the way to develop organisational culture. As managers, they need to establish a rapport with their colleagues and explain the organisational needs and the reason for any imminent changes and at the same time, letting them voice their views, concerns, queries and doubts. This will make the job easier and more successful to implement.
Highlighting the new market opportunities, professional satisfaction and financial rewards will help employees change their style of working to suit the new cultural initiative of the organisation.
Organisational Culture: Organisational culture is made up of three important components; values, rituals and leadership. An organisation’s culture is made up of the certain elements that combine to define organisational purpose and deliver organisational goal. These elements are intricately related to enhance:
- Organisational values and beliefs.
- Human attitudes and behaviour patterns.
- Organisational structure (MGS Debenham, 2004).
Organisational culture is not time bound. When changes to organisational priorities take place, organisational culture too changes. This is a continuous process and cultural changes have to be embedded in the workers mind and attitude always. This is the work of HRM.
Organisational Structure: There has been a lot said about what an organisational structure stood for. Every organistion has an entity of its own, be it its logo, work ethics, product or service, and motto. They all work with a varying level of professionalism. This comes about through the level of expertise and experience shown by the people who matter; the people in power. The ability to cause something to happen is in the realms of these men. It is these men who form the organisational structure (Mann, 1975, p.84)1.
Many SME could possibly have a CEO heading the organisational hierarchy. The CEO has a team of managers heading various production, marketing, and administrative functions. These managers are assisted by junior managers, officers and supervisors. Then we finally have the general workforce at production and maintenance level. This forms the structure of the organization.
However on the case of La Maison, a fancy French restaurant at Coogee, Sydney, Diana, instead of spending her summer vacation at her parent’s house in Queanbeyan, decided to take the job of waiting on tables. The pay of $15.50 per hour, plus tips was an instant attraction. Considering the kind of money she could make, she plunged into the job head-on.
However, Jean-Pierre Godot, owner of La Maison, and who hired Diane, emphasised that he expected excellence from his staff. He spoke about his vision for his restaurant and the importance of working as a team. She thought that Jean-Pierre Godot would be the ideal man to work under. Godot seemed dedicated and industrious, but he had his flaws. Emotional outbursts wrecked whatever image he had of being a team man. His negative attitude toward his employees also did not help. “Depeche-toi! Tu es un escargot paresseux; ma grand-mere peut faire la cuisine plus vite que toi!” was no way to motivate or encourage better employee participation. Instead, it only led to further restraint on the part of the employees to stay away from trouble and under-perform.
1 HRODC Ltd, Organisation Structure.