Senior Leaders Must Engage Culturally

A cultural consultant has a daunting task each time hired by an organization. The first thirty days of analysis can be instrumental for gaining a clear picture of an organization’s culture, but regardless of how clear that picture may be, a thirty-day analysis is not enough to give a complete cultural picture. In order to have a complete and clear perspective, and to implement meaningful change, requires a great deal of time, possibly years, in order to see true lasting results of cultural change. Though effective, it is possible such time is not always available for an organization since cultural analysts are often called upon after problems are beyond the ability of senior management to correct. (Buono, 2005)

The focus should not be time, whether thirty days or subsequent months and years. Focus should be on the source of cultural change. Failure in cultural change is often due to executives having it as a low priority, (Angwin, 2001) executives mishandle cultural policies and adjustments, (Weber, 2012, p. 289), and executives lack understanding about what culture is. (Weber, 2009) With this in mind, a quicker approach to cultural merging, shifting, and developing lies in stronger training of cultural understanding, awareness, and leadership for top executives.

Schein argues the most important way to stay focused on cultural health and growth is to continue exploring how leadership and culture are “fundamentally intertwined. “ (Schein, 2010, p. 192) His argument is three-fold. First, “leaders as entrepreneurs are the main architects of culture”, leaders determine what sort of leadership is possible in culture once established, and in times of dysfunction leadership “must do something to speed up culture change.” (Schein, 2010, p. 192) Though consultants can help, the growth and involvement of senior leadership is absolutely necessary for cultural health in any organization.

References

Angwin, D. (2001). Mergers and acquisitions across European borders: National perspectives on preacquisition due diligence and the use of professional advisers. Journal of World Business, 36(1), 32–57.

Buono, A. F. (2005). Consulting to Integrate Mergers and Acquisitions. The Contemporary Consultant: Insights from World Experts, 229–249.

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Weber, Y., & Shlomo Yedidia Tarba. (2012). Mergers and acquisitions process: the use of corporate culture analysis. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 19(3), 288–303.

Weber, Y., Tarba, S. Y., & Reichel, A. (2009). International Acquisitions and acquisitions performance revisited – the role of cultural distance and post-acquisition integration approach. Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions, Vol. 8, 1–17.

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