Cultural Initiatives

Cultural Initiatives

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0240-3.ch006
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Abstract

Organizational cultural initiatives are not limited to the internal culture of the organization but are influenced by the external culture within which the organization operates. Organizational culture is a relatively new type of organizational analysis that is borrowed from the field of anthropology. It first was described as an organizational unit of concern by Pettigrew (1979). Competitive organizations maintain their competitive advantage through their ability to effectively ?leverage high technology and people in the workplace. High technology and people do not exist in a ?vacuum. How has the environment or culture influenced the use of technology and people? The purpose of this chapter is to: (1) review the cultural initiatives including embedded in environment, adoption of cultural norms, leadership by inspiration, and evidence based management; and (2) present an analysis of issues and concerns related to managing people and technology in an environment that focuses upon a cultural perspective within the organizational process.
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Introduction

Organizational cultural initiatives are not limited to the internal culture of the organization but are influenced by the external culture within which the organization operates. Organizational culture is a relatively new type of organizational analysis that is continuing to innovate after emerging from the field of anthropology. It first was described as an organizational unit of concern by Pettigrew (1979). Competitive organizations maintain their competitive advantage through their ability to effectively ‎leverage high technology and people in the workplace. High technology and people do not exist in a ‎vacuum. External conditions are always in flux (new competitors, new opportunities) and internal conditions continually change (new process, new employees). It is essential to understand the role of the workplace environment and available resources contribute to ‎the success of the organization. How has the environment or culture influenced the use of technology and people?

The stated and real objectives of organizations may diverge because organizations try to satisfy multiple stakeholders who evaluate the organization using different criteria. In addition, organizations are under pressure to state objectives that are socially desirable. These socially desirable factors often lead to restricted objectives that differ significantly from what the organization is actually accomplishing. Drucker (1994) discussed the effect of social changes on society and ultimately on organizations. He described how extreme social transformations of this century caused no stir whatsoever, whereas far smaller and slower social changes in earlier periods resulted in civil wars, rebellions and violent intellectual and spiritual crises. Although this century did have world wars, civil wars, mass tortures, ethnic cleansings, genocides and holocausts, they have proceeded with a minimum of friction, with a minimum of attention from scholars, politicians, the press and the public. He believed that the 20th century proves one thing – the futility of politics in the sense that none of the social transformations of this century were caused by the headline-making political events or the headline-making political events being caused by social transformation.

Drucker (1994) also described how the social transformation of farmers and live-in servants occurred without a stir, although the number of live-in servants was used to distinguish class status. Blue-collar workers in manufacturing industries became socially dominant, gradually displacing farmers and live-in servants. They were an extremely visible class and were very organizable because they lived in dense population clusters and in cities. Blue-collar workers were the first lower class in history that could be organized and could stay organized. No class has risen or fallen faster than the blue-collar worker. They gained political power through their unionization. The blue-collar worker was now being displaced by the technologist whom Drucker defined as someone who worked both with his hands and theoretical knowledge.

The rise of knowledge workers presented a challenge for industrial workers. The new jobs would require qualifications the industrial workers did not possess and were poorly equipped to acquire formal education, apply theoretical and analytical knowledge, learn a different approach to work with a different mindset, and develop a habit of continuous learning. A third of the American workforce would be knowledge workers and would force social change in society (Drucker 1994). The need for knowledge workers has also begun to force cultural change inside organizations. No worker with knowledge and ability can be overlooked if the organization would like to meet its required labor needs.

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