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#WFH: Can Your Organizational Culture Change?

All change to organizational culture requires participation and cooperation on the part of the employees. Clayton Christensen et al. (2006), in an article for the Harvard Business Review, The Tools of Cooperation and Change, discusses different tools to achieve cultural change based on the type of organization and agreed-upon results. He discusses tools for power, management, leadership and culture. The tools that will be the most effective in the virtual workplace are the management and culture tools. Power and leadership tools, not so much. Management tools focus on process and coordination. Cultural tools focus on a deep consciousness of priorities and a set of actions that will allow a company to achieve those priorities that are clearly communicated. In other words, clearly communicated priorities and expectations are essential to the success of the company and the individual.

We can’t change organizational culture with-out knowing what the organization wants and what needs to change. Most importantly, to create a culture that supports a productive virtual workforce it takes planning and effort to ensure that the desired performance becomes a reality. People need to re-place old values, assumptions and behaviors with new ones. This starts at the top and requires a commitment from leadership. It takes training…and then more training. One workshop on the virtual work-place and communication planning is not enough! Communicating to employees what is expected is critical to success. The organization should train managers to develop performance objectives and effective communication plans that are real and shared. These plans need to be regularly evaluated and revised with input from the virtual worker. The virtual workplace requires commitment and processes to ensure success. The final note on this topic is that organizations need to look at their cur-rent systems and infrastructure and ask if these are supportive. Work systems such as employee promotions, pay practices, performance management, hiring, training and development, and internal support resources need to be evaluated to see if they are applicable in the virtual workplace (Heathfield, 2014).

Ask Yourself a few Questions:

What are the expressed and unexpressed expectations in your organization’s culture? Is it the same in all departments? How do these cultural expectations influence leading in the virtual environment? What conceptual influences exist in your organization (intangibles, branding, shard perceptions, views, semantics and dialectics)? Do they support working in the virtual environ-ment?  What transactional influences exist in your organization (mission statements, performance requirements, process manuals, organization charts, information systems, political structures)? Do they support working in the virtual environment? What actual influences exist in your organization (interactions between workers, leaders and workers, leaders and leaders, infrastructure, performance tasks)? Do they support working in the virtual environment?

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