Saturday, October 20, 2012

Altering the Corporate DNA: Article Review

Management Organization Development By Mr. Valerian B-K. Masao II

Deoxyribo-Nucleic Acid (DNA) is the biological (genes) and chemical makeup of all living things. It encodes and transmits genetic information that is important in identifying living organisms and components of organisms, which is a hereditary process (Le Page, 2011).    Corporate DNA is made up of complex and unique individuals of an organization. To understand the term DNA,  how it functions as one system or as subsystems collectively and working together as one system/organism will help the OD professional by analyzing functions of a single employee that translates to groups and whole organization’s employees collectively in a systemic way.  An organization is made up of people with cultures and beliefs, which are the underlying aspects that will need to be addressed by the OD professionals during corporate culture change (Fagiano, 1994). Any small misunderstanding from the OD team can cause a growing seed of resistance. Also, it is very important to clarify such misunderstanding at an early stage. Thus, OD professionals must understand how to persuade each and every individual at all levels within the organization, as well as, cooperating and implementing the OD functions, which are the organizational goals.
The article, Altering the Corporate DNA, is the reinvention of corporate culture, which in many cases is when an organization changes the way its employees are carrying out their daily duties by making production of goods and services more effective and in an efficient way. This process is the main function of the OD. Fagiano, (1994), said that “to shift a culture you must shift a collection of belief” (4).  An OD professional must understand that implementing OD is not only to merely make general declarations and expressions about the need for the organization to change, but also to follow up these words with actions of change.
However, according to Brown, (2011), corporate culture is a structure that allows employees to share values and beliefs and build norms and behaviors on how to carry out their daily activities i.e. rituals, reward system, heritages, assumptions, aspirations, behaviors, performance, and communication. A successful OD system must touch these values and beliefs in such a way they become tools that incentivize its employees to become efficient and effective. The challenge for OD is to win the employees minds and hearts to adopt changes and challenges that are brought up by the environment based on time and space because humans tend to become comfortable and settle easily after one or a few successful achievements.
Fagiano, (1994), spoke about requirements for creating a successful corporate culture change that is apart from not only just statements or philosophies, but also from the OD team, leadership and management collectively. In order to consistently back up what they say with their actions, they are in need of strengthening the “change” attitudes at all levels and on the daily activities within the organization. This will provide positive results of change on OD because it will bring about culture change that is rooted from the corporate culture DNA. Thus, a corporate culture that is consistent with the environment will provide the organization with positive culture that allows growth, which will also manage to change the way employees behave, prioritize their tasks and carry out their daily duties (Brown, 2011).
This article did not make the mistakes, in which, many internal OD practitioners make by self-fulfilling prophecies that culture change is an easy or partial strategy to pursue. Addressing the status quo, Fagiano, (1994), said organizational change is not going to be easy and there will be two echelons of resistances that OD professional will encounter i.e. active resistance is predominantly from the top management and leadership level, and passive resistance which is found at lower level employees who receive orders.  
He further states that active resistance here is strenuous at top management and leadership levels because they are old-timers in the organization and are the architectures of the existing culture. Therefore, anything but their ideal culture could be taken as hostile toward them personally. Also, there could be an indirect resistance that distorts the OD message toward culture change progress. Whereas, passive resistance is mainly found at lower level employees who takes orders from the management and tends not to see the actual difference of their actions or given orders if their daily activities are ultimately to produce goods or services that predominantly characterize the organization. The OD team needs to be careful and able to distinct between the existing culture and its proposed ideal culture’s efficiency and effectiveness on the employees’ daily activities. No doubts that Information Technology (IT) is the ideal organizational change today because it cuts inefficiency by increasing effectiveness and spark growth.
Therefore, it is imperative for the OD professionals to have a thoroughly thought through mechanism of how they will cultivate the corporate culture and articulate the differences and how to implement these changes. It is worthwhile to notice that strengthened leadership and management with the empowered and skilled labor will help to overcome the challenges of OD throughout changing environments and transformations (Trignano, 2010). Understanding these factors will help and strengthen the organization to accept and implement changes as they come. The corporate culture change and alteration of its DNA should be within the organizational goals, plan of action and vision that continuously produce success from its DNA alteration that allows change and growth sustainably. The OD team leader is the person who is charge of change and corporate DNA branding should be capable of energizing and promoting the change force within the organization to spark growth and success (Brown, 2011).

Brown, D.  (2011). An experiential approach to organization development, 8th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Fagiano, D. (1994). Altering the corporate DNA. Management Review, 83(12), 4.
Le Page, M. (2011). The elusive gene: What defines life's building blocks?. New Scientist, 210(2813), 31-32.
Trignano, L. (2010). The change challenge: Guiding your team through transition. Financial Executive, 26(9), 56-59.

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