‘Unwritten Ground Rules‘ (UGRs) are a way of understanding and managing a service culture. A study reported by Business Intelligence (1999), reinforces the power of corporate culture and change management….
A survey by Business Intelligence in 1999 (www.business-intelligence.co.uk/default.asp) unearthed some interesting findings about ‘Culture and Change Management’. Based on a survey that achieved responses from a total of 236 organisations in Europe, the US and other countries, some of the key findings were:
- Corporate cultures are not well defined – just over 10% of all organisations reported an ‘extremely well defined’ corporate culture, while almost half of the respondents (49%) reported that their organisational culture was not actively managed
- Companies with extremely well defined cultures are more inclined to have ‘positive’ cultural attributes
- Almost 99% of respondents feel that senior executives’ role modelling behaviours is a key to enabling culture to be changed
- Corporate values are extremely important, but they are not widely understood – while almost 9% of respondents stated that their corporate values were totally understood, over 85% believe that gaining buy-in to shared values across the organisation is essential to their future
- Only 11.6% of responding organisations believe their current cultures support their strategic objectives. Of particular interest is the finding that those companies with extremely well defined cultures showed a stronger ‘culture-strategy alignment’
- Almost 50% of respondents agreed that sub-cultures within their organisation posed a major barrier to gaining a unified culture
- While most respondents agreed that communication programmes were important in enabling culture to be changed, only 11.5% completely agreed that their internal communications are well managed
Together, these findings support what many of us have been concerned about for a number of years. On the one hand, corporate culture is not well defined, yet on the other hand, there is widespread recognition of the need for a positively oriented culture that supports strategic objectives. One of the most interesting findings from the Business Intelligence study is the very low percentage of companies that reported well managed internal communications – perhaps this is an insight into the aspect that most needs to improve to impact organisational culture.