Researchers at Ohio State University have concluded a study of 286 businesses that were spun off from the parent company between 1980 and 2005. Looking at 10 policy areas, they found a remarkable connection to the policies of the company from which they were spun off.
This further exemplifies the difficulty with which culture can be changed. Corporate cultures are well ingrained at all levels of an organization. New people to an organization they complain about certain elements of a culture, but once they start to follow the accepted culture of the organization they begin to find success. The more they follow the culture, success continues.
When they reached the upper levels of the organization, any proposed change to the culture is a threat – why would they want to change a culture that made them successful? So how do you change the corporate culture?
Actually there are two ways that cultures can be successfully changed.
From entry-level up. Most experts will tell you that this is impossible. They are incorrect. Cultures have been change from the ground up when the culture has been so oppressive a mutiny occurs. Workers at the lowest level of the organization can create a culture that slowly passes up. It is a very difficult and very rare process, one that is not recommended.
From the top down. To be successful in changing a corporate culture, it has to be sponsored by the highest levels of an organization. Sponsorship does not mean approval – it means participation. Unless the top levels of the organization truly want change, it will not happen.