Barriers to Cultural Change essay

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Cultural change is an expression that is mainly used in public policy making to define the influences that are brought forth by cultural capital. The changes are usually on an individual or a society as general. The main stress is put on the communal and social capital determinants that are used in decision making. It also focuses on how these factors relate to one another and the availability of information plus monetary incentives that drive individuals to engage in certain behaviors. The cultural influences that are discussed include the role that the parents play, families and the guardians in overall. In addition to this, the cultural change is additionally influenced by the organizations that an individual operates in. They include the neighborhoods and the work places. The last factor that influences cultural change is the social media that an individual is exposed to. Therefore, the cultural capital becomes obvious in various ways. This is through values, attitudes and the social standards in overall. These means are a pathway which the behavioral purposes are adopted with by an individual. These are important in making decisions or rather in just guiding the individual. The culturealchange is additionally important in creating behavioral interactions through financial incentives and legislation. The paper discusses barriers to cultural change.             

Theoretical Aspects of the Topic

In the general perspective, the term culture usually has many definitions. However, another accepted term for the word is the norms that are held sacred by a certain society. This means that they cannot be broken-down as they are a rule. It is also noted that it is always in the human nature to resist change (Harrison, 2006). Therefore, as a norm, human beings always want to get comfort in the habits that they have rather than change over. This was a criterion that was observed by Dr. Claude Brouder. On the other hand, change is a fundamental aspect of the human life. Therefore, having a general change is usually a hard perspective. The issue of resistance is brought forth by many issues. It is very important that these issues be looked upon carefully. This is because at other times it is not usually visible, since it can take various forms and shapes. Therefore, filtering out opposition is usually a complex matter, since even when trying to filter it out, there is still opposition. An example is the change in the work process. This can be a difficult affair for both the manager and the employees, since it involves some minor and major changes all at once (Chapin, 1928). Therefore, change and its opposing forces always have a knock on effect, since it means that it may lead to the construction or the overall destruction of the business. The most evident resistance to change is always exhibited through fear. This phenomenon will be discussed later in the writing. Therefore, resistance to change can be broadly grouped into two main categories. The first one is the organizational part which was discussed briefly in the first part of the paper. The second one is the individual barriers to change. In order to effectively discuss these two aspects, there is also a need to introduce ways and means of conquering them.  

Organizational Barrier

The first and foremost opposition under organizational barrier is an organization having undefined goals and objectives. If an organization does not have defined goals, this means that it does not have the adequate resources to fight the opposition to change in terms of ideology. Therefore, it will force it to have strategies and ways of outlining its goals and roles of individuals in the organization in order to ensure that there is a smooth work flow in the organization. In addition to this, the organization should also specify the performance standards that it wishes to have. This is a good way of tackling the opposition that comes with lack or delay in setting the standards. The other barrier to cultural change is always brought forth by financial issues and the environment (Dawson, 2010). If an organization lacks enough capital, it may face opposition from within, since it cannot function properly and, therefore, will face opposition to change. This later makes it hard for the organization to introduce ideologies that can make it stay ahead of its competitors. In the real sense, this is a factor that can make a small company fail in its initial stages. Through this level of opposition, there is always a high chance of redundancy. This means that the organization is always susceptible to poverty. The other factor that creates a lot of opposition in the organization is the lack of adequate finance. The lack of finances is factor that leads to various factors that add up to opposition. The first one is fall in demand in the monetary market. The other factor is the rise in competition. If an organization has the adequate funds, this means that it faces little opposition, since it can control the way it operates. The other and most devastating factor is security. If an organization cannot control the security of its assets, therefore, they are vulnerable to a lot of attacks. This can be given a case example of the September 11th attacks (Alvesson, 2007). This is a factor that lies squarely with the government. Such an event can cause a lot of opposition in the market as there is a shift in the mindset of investors. The matter can be further summarized by the figure below:

Lack of resources and unplanned resource allocation can also be a barrier in the cultural change in the organization. If an organization lacks the adequate financial power, this means that it cannot have the environmentalist and financial analyst on its sides and, therefore, the problem sets in. This will in the long run mean that the organization cannot have the best of its interests looked after and this is a clear onset of barriers to cultural change. If an organization further employs its resources badly, this is mostly brought in by managers making unprecedented decisions which lead to a lot of problems (Naylor, 1996). The poor allocation can be witnessed through time, machinery and also the wrong placement of the staff. This, therefore, calls for greater imagination by the managers in order to bring out the clear picture of the existence of the organization in a business world. This further is helpful in avoiding conflicts in an association. There are also structural oppositions that are brought forth under the barriers to cultural change. An organization which follows the traditional hierarchical structure is usually the one that is most affected by conservatism. This is as opposed to an organization that has flat structure which is not conserved. The communication that passes between the employees and the head of departments is usually not favorable in former structure which makes it rather complex. This difficulty in the long run creates a rift between the employees and the management. When it comes to cultural change, communication is also a major factor. In this sense, there are two forms of communication.- internal and external. Internal communication encompasses the employees and the management of an organization (Gilley, 2001). External is the one carried out between the business members and the suppliers and the customers. If an organization does not enlighten its employees of the operations that it has, it means that there is a risk of high resistance that is caused by the lack of information.

The matter of keeping information from employees is also a key factor that undermines change. This is because the employees can view the hidden information as a conspiracy between them and, therefore, they will crate an ice atmosphere in order to gain their perceived rights. This in the long run creates an uncouth atmosphere for both parties. On the other hand, an organization that does not have the adequate mode of communication with customers and suppliers risks ending up in a failure. A good example is the BP Company that was once a major company in the world. This is due to the fact, that the company opened up many branches that would mean it would gain more profit. Unfortunately it did not inform its customers of these changes (Thomas Group, 2009). In the long run, although the company stayed in business, it faced a lot of financial difficulties which meant that it failed to achieve its goals. This was a barrier and a perfect example of a company that failed due to the opposition it had in cultural change of hiding information. The overall lack of leadership or bad leadership is also a factor in an organization that leads to barriers to cultural change. A good and strong leadership is always symbiotic to a good and strong business. This means that if an organization does not have the right form of leadership, it faces risk failures. This is because they do not inspire the employees in the workplace and, therefore, the employees end up becoming invalid as they do not have a strong stepping point to enhance their work and upgrade their standards. Employees need guidance in order to succeed in their work.

The other barrier is lack of preparation in the process of new roles. This means that there is an overall failure in the organization phase in the business. In an adage, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If change is implemented and there is no action of teaching the employees the way that they can change is usually a factor that leads to the overall failure. This factor also gives the overall rise in resistance. These aforementioned factors all fall under the cultural issues of the organization. That means they are unwritten rules and, therefore, they are meant to be followed to the latter (Robabdul, 2007). The management of the organization has some set of rules that the employees are asked to follow all the time. This in the end means that there is a high possibility that when it tries to change these norms, there is a chance of opposition, as aforementioned. The way the management is carrying out tasks in the organization depends heavily on the culture of the organization. Therefore, if there is a change, there are always high resistance margins. This is because the employees are comfortable with the current settings. Culture virtually affects every aspect of the organization - speech, behavior and even thought. The theoretical part of this essay tries to focus on the need of cultural change and the agents of culture in a simplistic theoretical way as discussed by many scholars. When it comes to a change in organizations, the most prevalent barrier to cultural change is always the expectations to meet the requirements that are set forth by the stakeholders.

In order to meet these requirements, the individuals in the organization try as much as they can to fit into the classical economics that they were taught and, thus, they fail to change in the end. This is because one of the barriers to change in an organization is usually the factor of holding all other things constant so as to appease the key people of the organization. This, in turn, means that there is no leveled playing field for the employees as they can not freely participate in the cultural change (Team Technology, 2011). Therefore, this is a barrier to cultural change. Cultural change involves a lot of ideologies and not just one type of idea, therefore, this presents a barrier to the cultural change as it is a reengineering process that requires a lot of dedication, and it is normally hard to dedicate oneself to a lot of things at once. In such way, one of the main barriers that can be deduced from the two topics is the opposition that comes with organizational change. The other theoretical aspect of cultural change is the opposition exhibited by managers if not the employees. This means that with the opposition, there is likelihood that there will be no way the cultural changes can be practiced freely. In the modern society, the more some phenomenon is put forth, the more it will experience opposition, and that is the same with cultural change. This factor makes it hard for any person who wants to live in a certain way to practice whatever he or she thinks is right for him or her. In the modern day workplace, the more a person works, the best results will show up. However, this becomes challenging in the long run as there will be a lot of opposition from the mediocre workers exhibited. This then leads to the overall opposition in the workplace. And, thus, this is a part of barriers to organizational change. The organizational culture that is hard to change can be summarized as:

There are usually a number of factors that are associated with an individual that acts as a barrier to change. This is because, if there is a need for change, the best place to start is with an individual. The first and min factor is fear. If an individual thinks that the change ion the workplace can lead to more negatives than positives, it means that he or she has to look for ways and means of saving him or herself and through fear, a barrier will form. This is because they are afraid of failing in the new set of ideas in the organization and, therefore, they will fear that there is a risk of being fired. The risk of being fired due to restructuring creates a lot of fear in the employees. This discomfort is usually brought forth by pessimism and personal ambitions (Chapin, 1928). This is a great barrier to change. Lack of consultation in the change is also a major factor that leads to opposition. This is because the employees see that there may be a hidden agenda in the lack of ideas from them. The goals and objectives of an organization should be frequently redefined with an input from the employees to ensure that they feel secure in the organization. Lack of information and contribution regarding the goals and objectives and keeping in mind the crucial role that the employees play makes it hard for an organization to survive or have a clear change pattern. The company should also forecast a way in which there is a healthy relationship between the environment and the finances mixed with all the business goals that it has in order to reduce the number or intensity of change.        

How They Can be Overcome

An organization needs to have a contingency fund. This will be helpful in catering for shifts in demand. It is also helpful in forming a relationship with the loaners so that in case it needs a loan, it will get it easily. The concept of saving for the future is not evidenced in organizations and this is a clear factor that there is a need to change and help in the formulation of new ideologies which can counter act on the cultural barriers. If an organization wants to fight the cultures which it views are constantly pulling it back, the best way is imposing rules that will enable it to come up with a soft transition. Company should additionally focus on its suppliers. If it wishes to gain the best from them, the best way to do it is to create a pull of funds, which gives the suppliers the confidence that it can maneuver its way in and out of debts so as to gain more supplies at credit and to ensure its survival in business. In order to ensure that there is no opposition in terms of the set rules when they are being changed, the best way is to employ a spokesperson who is chosen by the employees. This will, in turn, ease the mode through which there is change as the employees can air their grievances through their spokesperson and create room for negotiations to ease the tension and to further simplify the process in general. The organization should additionally conduct analyses to know the mood swings and the changes that can be overly accepted by the employees. If the organization is not fully established, it can encourage its employees to speak out whenever they feel that they are being oppressed as opposed to creating barriers to change. It is always in the human interest to follow what they are told. And this means that when an individual is told to follow the rules by a senior worker, he or she does not hesitate and, therefore, the leadership has to be adequate and good. Leaders should lead an organization in a strong way and by examples. This will minimize the chances of barriers in the organization as a whole. The leadership and the employees are the backbone of sustaining a favorable leadership in the organization free of conservatism (University of Carlifornia, 2008). The organization should create plans in which the employees are taught on the new roles and prepare them adequately so that they do not oppose the changes that need to be brought about. A perfect organization can be depicted under this quality:
Figure 3

In conclusion, cultural change is an impediment that knows no time. In the modern day workplace, the need to diversify has been called for due to the need to increase the market value of a company. This, in turn, needs the cooperation of all the stakeholders of the company. The stakeholders can be either employees or managers. Therefore, there is a need for an adequacy and togetherness in creating an organization that succeeds. This is through conquering the cultural impediments.    

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