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Organisational Culture

Culture, politics and power represent much of what is included in the informal organisation; they play an important role in aiding or hindering the process of change as Morgan (1989 as cited in Senior and Swailes 2010, p. 129) holds: “The culture and politics of many organizations constrain the degree of change and transformation in which they can successfully engage, even though such change may be highly desirable for meeting the challenges and demands of the wider environment.

” Hofstede (1981 as citied in Senior and Swailes 2010, p. 129) defined culture as “the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values. ” Culture is something that is ingrained into a group of people and as such there is likely to be resistance to change.

Culture can be managed or it may be manipulated, but culture cannot be consciously changed (Ogbonna and Harris, 1998 as cited in Senior and Swailes 2010, p. 130). This is the case at Tatil’s Client Services department. The mindset of the staff has already been programmed into accepting the ways of the senior staff and past

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Managers, including staff from other departments in the company, in terms of practices, behaviour/opinion toward management, team activities etc.

With the advent of a new Manager and Assistant Manager and revised strategies, staff are now required to change what they’re grown accustomed to: start reporting to their respective AM, being a team player, meet deadlines/perform duties more efficiently with the new procedures, and respect the Manager’s decision to reform the department because it is all in part with meeting the organisational objectives of Tatil. With staff cooperation and the shared vision of the Manager and her Assistant Managers will ultimately aid meeting the company’s, as well as, the customers’ needs.

The following is a list of elements of organisational culture that can support and/or defend against change, which is reflective of the culture of the staff in the CS department and their ability to change: It was observed by the author, that even though there is a Manager in CS, the power seems to lie with the senior staff that has been resisting change. The Manager makes her decisions and in some cases had to review those decisions to accommodate the opposition from the senior staff.

This shows her inexperience as a Manager, denying herself her authority and positional power, and allowing subordinates to influence her managerial duties. As a result of this imbalance, there is notable conflict amongst staff in CS and whilst the Manager tries to find ways to deal with the conflict, the department still suffers from the adverse effect of resistance to change. The author observed that in the early stages, the Manager had exhibited an inclination toward the unitary frame of reference by attempting to suppress conflict. However, this did not last long as staff proved to be ‘fearless’ of the attempt.

The Manager has since shown that she is in favour of resolving conflict. Perhaps she was made aware of the Conflict Management Grid (Blake and Mouton 1970 cited in Senior and Swailes 2010, p. 205) which suggests that the techniques of conflict management can be mapped on two dimensions, concern for production and concern for people. This is where an individual can score from low to high to determine their conflict-handling style. Each conflict-handling style has an outcome in terms of its ability to tackle the content of the conflict and the relationship with the other party.

The five styles for this model are:Further study into leadership behaviour by the University of Michigan and Ohio State resulted in two independent dimensions of leadership, which is actually a combination of all four types of behaviour: consideration and initiating structure. The degree to which a leader builds trust and mutual respect with subordinates, shows respect for their ideas and concern for their well being; this is consideration. The degree to which a leader defines and structures their role and interactions within the group towards the attainment of organisational goals is initiating structure.

At Tatil, the executive management display a directive leadership style. This is not a wise strategy by management, as the author has observed that staff are reluctant to cooperate when decisions are made; especially when it comes to change. In terms of Client Services, the Manager had come in initially with a combination of concern for task and directive leadership styles. However, as this had proven to be unsuccessful, the Manager has shifted toward a more participative leadership style with a concern for task and people.

This has significantly improved the environment in the department but there is still the battle with senior staff that is proving to be most challenging. 5. Conclusion It is not accurate to say the Manager of Client Services is unfit to be in that position; nor is it accurate to say that staff are completely resistant to change. In fact, the few significant changes in Client Services with the establishment of a second Assistant Manager and training of new staff and general concern for subordinate satisfaction, the staff seem to be adapting to change better than originally expected.

It was said once by staff that things tend to get worse before it gets better, and in the four years of change, though the hurdles have been high and strong, the department functions smoothly and efficiently, proving that they can come together as a team despite differences; they are breaking barriers and are pushing through to meet the organisational objectives and maintain the customers’ satisfaction.

The commitment by staff and management to continue to dialogue and strategise is a positive move that is developing bonds amongst colleagues and building trust in each relationship. This will ultimately assist the department to be more successful and valuable to the Tatil. The author noted that regardless of the differences amongst staff and management, there is still warmth, teamwork and a sense of family at Tatil, even in the midst of change; as their tag line states Tatil is the type of organisation “… where people are people”.

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