Culture Change and Power Play

Opinion / Change and Organization

Culture Change and Power Play
Dr. Luis De La Cruz , Professor, United States

Power affects culture change ethics

Individuals with different interests who join integrate organizations, or form coalitions bounded by common interests as argued in the Carnegie model. One finds in most large organizations the presence of dominant coalitions (top, middle management, unionized workers). Each coalition has its own culture, and may engender sub-coalitions with their own pretensions. The pathology that affects the continuity of a traditional culture, or a culture paradigm shift rests in the power and influence of the coalition in control of vital and scarce resources. The scarcity of resources and diverse interests generate conflict between interdependent parties. Boldman (2003) sustained that a political frame culture mobilizes power and traffic of influence to obtain the resources needed to satisfy coalitions' interests. Side payments are part of the bargaining process between coalitions and among members, but open the door for abuse of power. To change a culture is not just about changing mission, or vision statements, and implementing other human relations mechanisms, but is about managing power and traffic of influence in decision making, which are powerful features of organizational cultures. Under this premise, how could a culture change avoid the corruption potential of power and influence inherent in a political frame?
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2003). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco, CA:

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