Creating a Climate and Culture for Sustainable Organizational Change

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Author: Schneider, Benjamin & Brief, Arthur P & Guzzo, Richard A

Title:Creating a Climate and Culture for Sustainable Organizational Change

Year of Publication:Spring, 1996

Journal:Organizational Dynamics

Volume: 24 Issue: 4


Keywords: business, change, crisis, entrepreneurship, management, new combination, organization, philosophy, revolt, remember, theory oriented

Abstract: This article argues that only when organizational change is accompanied by changes in the psychology of the people in the organization will it be successful. Whether the change is sustained depends on two factors: (1) the prevailing conditions at the start of the effort and (2) the way the change is introduced. Culture and climate, particularly employees beliefs and values influence their interpretations of organizational policies, practices and procedures and are critical to change taking root. The case of AT&T's divesture, and the creation of Saturn as a GM venture are illustrative of companies which implemented changes in their organizational structures, technologies and culture. According to the authors, only by altering the everyday policies, practices and routines, and thereby impacting the beliefs and values that guide employee actions can change occur and be sustained. The role of leadership and executive perceptions in creating such cultures is also discussed. The authors propose an approach, TOC - Total Organizational Change - which is intended to address multiple levels, functions, and persons of the organization, in contrast to a "silver bullet" approach. The article concludes by describing three approaches to TOC: the human potential philosophy, the socio-technical philosophy and the total quality management (TQM) philosophy. A summary of weaknesses in management which inhibit change, and the true potential of TQM is discussed.