Culture Change Through Systematic Promotion from Selected Subcultures

The strength of the midlife organization is in the diversity of its subcultures. Leaders can therefore evolve midlife organizations culturally by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different subcultures and then biasing the cor­porate culture toward one of those subcultures by systematically promoting people from that subculture into key power positions. This is an extension of the previously mentioned use of hybrids but has a more potent effect in midlife because preservation of the corporate culture is not as big an issue as it was in the young and growing organization. Also, the midlife organization is led by general managers who are not as emotionally embedded in the origi­nal culture and are therefore better able to assess needed future directions.

Whereas the diversity of subcultures is a threat to the young organiza­tion, in midlife it can be a distinct advantage if the environment is changing. Diversity increases adaptive capacity . The only disadvantage to this change mechanism is that it is very slow. If the pace of culture change needs to be increased because of crisis conditions, systematic planned change projects of the kind that will be described in the next chapters must be launched.

Source: Schein Edgar H. (2010), Organizational Culture and Leadership, Jossey-Bass; 4th edition.

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