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Fast Cultural Change

Dr. Martina Nieswandt, 2015

Fast Cultural Change, The Role and Influence of Middle Management by Dr. Martina Nieswandt, Palgrave MacMillan Publishers, 2015 Changing organizational culture is still a very important topic for organizations. At the same time, many change processes fail. These failures are often associated with a lack of or insufficient consideration of the prevailing organizational culture. Furthermore, it often seems that organizations deal with organizational culture when they are doing well. Culture issues are then managed as a kind of incentive designed to keep employee motivation and identification at a high level. Even when organizations recognize that working on organizational culture is important during a change process, they are often discouraged from doing so because the literature often indicates that culture change takes at least seven years, if not significantly longer. What organization has that much time? As a result, organizations work on strategy change and similar processes, but cultural aspects are only marginally addressed, if at all. This cannot be the solution, however, as organizations are giving away an important lever for successful and lasting change. To answer the question of how cultural change can be achieved in such a way that it takes a shorter time (without underestimating or negating the complexity and challenge of this undertaking), Martina Nieswandt conducted an exploratory study in a medium-sized company that was facing major strategic changes. In addition to strategic change, cultural change also had to be generated. The role and importance of top management in the context of cultural change is quite well studied. At the same time, research on middle management is only catching up in recent years. Middle management is often considered in the literature in the context of strategic change. In the explicit context of organizational culture change, research with a middle management perspective still seems to be lacking. An action research approach was adopted for this research. The results indicate that organizational culture change can take place in a significantly shorter time span than seven years and that middle management is a critical part of this change. Different roles could be identified with the role of the "Cultural Role Model" as the most important one. In addition, the roles assigned to middle management in strategy change in strategy research were essentially confirmed. The results were used to develop a model of actively integrating middle management into the change process to leverage their creative potential. In this process, middle management has acted as a catalyst of the cultural change process. Since conducting the underlying research, the author has accompanied cultural change in various other organizations (not only middle management) based on her model. Among others, a change process of the management culture within an organization with about 10,000 employees. PODCAST: LET'S HEAR IT FOR MIDDLE MANAGERS