Changing Complex Corporate Cultures

Complex corporate cultures are often the result of multiple sub-cultures that exist among distinct groups, divisions, and offices of one company. For a variety of reasons, organizations with complex corporate cultures often look to unify the organization by proactively addressing cultural differences. The task usually seams daunting, but with the correct approach it can be simple compared to the complexity of the organization.

Changing by accident
Individuals are the DNA of corporate culture. Over time our cultures are formed as people work and adapt a culture that helps them to achieve their individual and corporate objectives. Major changes to corporate sub-cultures can happen through generational differences, hiring ‘new blood’, and even through prolonged isolation. In each of these cases, as it is with most cultural changes, these changes usually happen by accident.

Individuals make up culture
The good news is that, because individuals are the foundation of corporate culture, these individuals are also the ones that can change the culture. To achieve success when changing corporate culture companies must focus on individuals, even in companies with thousands of employees. The key is to use the positive principles of behavior modification to begin adapting the culture at its source.

Don’t destroy existing cultures
This said, the goal in complex cultural change is to unify existing cultures rather than to replace them. A company that begins by identifying the goals of the cultural change can clearly identify the aspects of each sub-culture that need to adapt. This should also help identify the aspects of each sub-culture that should be embraced, providing groups, divisions, and offices with individuality.

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