Book – Corporate Culture: Getting It Right

corporate-cultureInterestingly, this book left me with two powerful ideas that can explain many of strange experiences during my career.

The first idea is a comparison of corporate culture with climate, which explains climate and cultural enclaves that can be significantly different from the general climate of the region or culture of larger organization.  The author suggests that there is no general culture of the organization; the organizational culture is a combination of existing sub cultures.

The second idea is effect of a strong organizational culture – it helps company to succeed during stable times, but not as helpful during the time of change.  This perception seem to make sense – strong culture establishes the best way to operate under certain circumstances, but the environment can change more quickly than the culture of the business.

Other interesting points from the book:

  • D-CCultural issues are contributing significantly to loss of value companies experience in M&A (one of the most famous examples is Daimler-Benz merger with Chrysler).
  • Culture of the organization is constantly changing independent of any management efforts, and at the same time it is very difficult to change in a desired direction.  Most orchestrated culture changes are doomed into failure.  (TQM culture changes – 70% were unsuccessful)
  • Culture change programs may have unintended consequences
  • Culture change is needed only when it is important for the company’s strategy and should not be implemented lightly.  Sony had to change from manufacturing culture to knowledge-based culture – a reinvention of the business model itself.
  • A new employee needs to learn the new organization and its unwritten rules quickly – the success is higher when the employees receives help rather than navigates the process independently.  Even job shift from one department of the company to another one can require learning new culture.