Slide 1

Michael Mainelli

[A version of this article originally appeared as "Vision into Action: A Study of Corporate Culture", Journal of Strategic Change, Vol 1, John Wiley & Sons (1992) pages 189-201.]


Large organisations that have evolved over time to become successful in their target markets refine their strategies, business and systems to match their environment and to contend effectively with their competitors.  They become perfectly adapted - so perfectly, in fact, that sudden, unexpected and continuous change, of the kind that we are currently seeing in global markets, must inevitably kill them, unless they change their behaviour.

In responding to this problem, organizations are variously described as engaging in the management of change, organization development, corporate renewal or total quality management.  These are, in essence, all attempts to produce in organizations the fundamental capacity to redirect business rapidly to secure some competitive advantage.  The common thread linking these initiatives seems to be the phenomenon called 'organizational culture'.

The interest and vigour with which organizations have pursued culture change at times seems ill-matched to its capacity to really produce cost-effective and positive change.  Yet, the fashion for culture change continues unabated - given voice in academia, the media and the pronouncements of chief executives.  Perhaps the strongest impetus was provided by Peters and Waterman (1982) in the now famous In Search of Excellence.  One of their central findings was that

the dominance and coherence of culture proved to be an essential quality of the excellent companies.

Over the past decade, the main concern of managers and consultants has been how this concept can be used as a tool - in short, how it can change an organization.  Indeed, there is no shortage of managers and consultants who will swear that culture change dramatically improved the functioning of a particular organization.

However, at first blush, there appear to be as many approaches to culture change as there are consultants.

It is because of this complexity and confusion that BDO Consulting initiated this study.  Our intention in conducting the research was to focus on culture change from the point of view of what large organizations were actually doing - that is, the practical considerations and processes of culture change.  Some of the guiding principles we adopted were:

  • to sample a wide range of large organizations; 

  • to understand the patterns or themes common to organizations engaging in culture change; 

  • to emphasize a qualitative approach in order to capture the essence of culture change in individual organizations.

The results of this undertaking are set out in the following pages.  First, however, we must mention the participants (Appendix) in the research who freely gave their time to a series of interviews between February and August 1991, and made the findings meaningful by their considerable candour and openness.  We are indebted to them.

Our approach

The research consisted of in-depth person-to-person interviews of 1-4 hours duration with individuals who were involved in undertaking, leading or planning large-scale change initiatives in their organizations.  As can be seen from the list of participating organizations, the 28 interviewees were all senior managers who could provide a detailed view of change programmes in their organizations.

We intended to draw together a sample that covered a wide range of business sectors, including recently privatised organizations.  Another consideration was that the organizations should be large - either in terms of turnover or numbers of employees.  Our focus on large organizations was based on the belief that large organisations are necessarily complex and that the challenges of implementing change are equivalently complex and therefore instructive.

The final list of participating organizations therefore covered the following business sectors:

  • manufacturing; 

  • electricity generation and supply; 

  • transport (public and private); 

  • retail; 

  • mining; 

  • entertainment; 

  • financial services; 

  • telecommunications; 

  • construction.

Interviews followed a predetermined schedule of questions that sought to expand on the following areas:

  • the meaning of culture and culture change (in an operational sense); 
  • trigger events; 
  • methods of culture change used in the organization; 
  • issues arising out of culture change

The interview discussions covered these areas and usually considerably more.  An important feature of the research was the verbatim comments of participants - many of which have been incorporated in this report.  Indeed, it is the words that senior managers use to describe their organizations' cultures and change efforts that truly capture the essence of the phenomenon.

Finally, the interview data was qualitatively analysed to examine trends and common themes, differences of opinion and differences of approach.

The findings

Ten primary themes emerged.  They were:

  1. Direction from the top. 
  2. Emphasis on incremental change. 
  3. The crisis point as a trigger. 
  4. Culture change as an act of faith. 
  5. Involvement of staff. 
  6. Visibility of leaders. 
  7. Living with change. 
  8. The management development spiral. 
  9. Alignment of terms and conditions. 
  10. Decentralization and delayering.

This list seems, at first glance, to have something of the 'how to' about it.  This is encouraging.  It suggests that different organizations face similar challenges and deal with them in similar ways.  But this is also misleading.  If there is an overarching truth to be learnt from this research and from our own experience of culture change assignments, it is that culture change should be determined primarily with reference to the nature of the organization involved.  If this sounds circular, then that is the essence of culture.

Comparisons across organizations are useful but merit caution.  Different organizations emphasize different things.  Culture seems extraordinarily resistant to formula and mechanism and highly responsive to conviction and leadership.  As Nietzsche wrote:

"Men believe in the truth of all that is seen to be strongly believed in."

In short, it would be dangerous to think of the 10 themes as a simple flow chart to success.

Key findings - I

Change cannot be divorced from the personalities that lead it.

The trouble with mission statements and statements of values is that all companies aspire to the same things.  But you still need them! They're the starting point for action.

Some business leaders just have an instinctive feel for the right things at the right times - they understand whether something is going to work or not.

Vision or direction is the chief executive's main job in managing change.  Otherwise the whole programme would end up going 45 degrees to where it should be going.

The need is to be single-minded about change.  Forget the scars.  Just keep going.

1.  Direction from the top

It seems a truism to suggest that culture change programmes need steerage from the top management of an organization.  However, it was startling to learn that in almost all the participating companies, change was frequently driven by a single person.  Often, a new chief executive had taken over the reins or had determined, virtually single-handed, that a new strategic agenda was called for.  As can be seen from some of the verbatim comments, much of this role is about setting the broad vision.  As one managing director put it:

"My philosophy about change is straightforward: I'm the boss.  I'm right.  This is my view and this is what we're going to do."

However, at least as much of the role is concerned with managing the ongoing process as simply setting the agenda.  This means being seen to be part of the change process - demonstrating in behaviour the new values and beliefs of the desired culture.  Many of the participants pointed out how isolated the leader of change becomes and how frequently he or she must defend against both criticism and legitimate concern for the short-term difficulties that inevitably accrue once a change programme begins.

It is typical of organizations that most managers, even those at senior level, find it difficult to keep thinking strategically, to strike the balance between reacting to pressing problems of immediate impact and driving forward with long-term changes that are often neither popular nor well understood.  The success of a senior figure in carrying colleagues with him not infrequently rests on his willingness to clear the field of antagonists.

Indeed, on more than one occasion, participants hinted at the progressive early retirement of those senior directors either opposed to change or holding diametrically opposed views.  Unanimity of vision is clearly vital as change proceeds.

Key findings - II

One of the first questions we asked ourselves was: 'How much organizational energy do we have to make this massive change?'

The problem we faced was setting change targets that were sufficient to get us to our overall final objective but not mega-targets of such a magnitude that no one would believe they were achievable.

We saw the change programme as a series of incremental changes to the behaviour of people that ultimately achieved a critical mass.  Once the critical mass was there, we started to see real change.

It's critical to make changes of an order of magnitude.  Don't do salami-slicing - a bit of this, a bit of that.  Does not work.  Confuses people.  Allows them to adapt to change without changing.

2.  Emphasis on incremental change

There has been much debate over the issue of evolution versus revolution in organizational change.  It is unsurprising therefore that the debate was also a theme amongst the participants.

Most argued strongly for a phased approach to change, but simultaneously stressed the need for objectives that were highly challenging and that would effect substantial change.  Getting this balance right is difficult.  There is the danger of simply taking too long, with the result that people 'adapt to change without changing'.

Likewise, there is the mistake that one organization made during the planning stage:

"We had no idea, at first, just how deep the culture was and how pervasive."

The result? An unacceptable delay, while senior management had to start from scratch and faced the considerable problem of lost credibility.  People had begun to say,

"Oh, it's just another fad…"

This anecdote suggests that getting the pace of change right is initially dependent on understanding the organization's culture and sub-cultures.  Hofstede (1991), writing about cultures and organizations, has warned against senior management assumptions about how well they know their organisation's culture.  Organizations, of course, look very different from the top than they do where the work is done.  Indeed, several participants commented on the wishful thinking of senior managers during the early phases of change programmes.

Alternatively, rushing through a change initiative (or at least accelerating the pace) can have both positive and negative outcomes.  One participant described how the blistering rate of change was essential in itself to achieve the overall objectives.  It left people in no doubt that senior management were serious and that those who fell by the wayside would not be part of the new culture.  Brutal and pragmatic, yes, but it was appropriate for the organization at that time.

Within a very different context, a senior manager commented:

"When the top management team is highly stable - in other words there are no changes in the key figures for many years - then change is also slow."

Given an organisation of this type and the culture that surrounds it, it is understandable that massive changes at high speed are likely to be unacceptable and that the casualty list is very high.

Again, it is instructive that in those participating organizations where large-scale change was fastest, demanning was usually greatest.

Key findings - III

Culture change was considerably easier when we had our backs to the wall.

The truth dawned that it was not all sweetness and light.  It was about hard facts and often unpalatable decisions - grasping nettles, if you like.

We used privatisation as a way of telling staff that if we didn't change we wouldn't survive. 

Management gimmicks like TQM and culture are useful in the sense of providing a new trigger for change at an appropriate time.

The HR function should be the catalyst for the Board's change initiatives. 

3.  The crisis point as trigger

Why do organizations change? Do they start the process or are they pushed into it? We might answer that it's a bit of both.  Yet several of the participating organizations seemed, on occasions, to have deliberately created crises for the purpose of triggering radical change.  The reason for this is that people in organizations are good at hiding from the need to change.  They need a justification for change.  They need to be pushed.

In the 1980's the UK had its share of crises - the government's privatisation plan, which forced the power generating organizations and others into the new reality of competition; the impact of Big Bang on financial institutions; the globalization of markets and increasing international competition.  These themes continue in the 1990's.

"One of the triggers," confessed a participant, "of the fad for change management is that Britain managed to isolate itself so effectively until about 15 years ago that it has only recently woken up to the real competitive world.  Culture change offers a panacea that seems to have rescued other organizations from the brink elsewhere in the world."

But external crisis points are still external and not all large organisations rely on such events to provide them with the need to change.  A crisis point is a trigger and a justification.  In fact, amongst the participants it is more a justification than a trigger.  It is true that people respond more favourably to change when there is a compelling reason to do so.

Deliberately inducing a crisis has a lot to do with forcing staff to operate above the comfort zone.  The crisis is about offering a reason or incentive to take the step that brings change.  This immediately places people above the comfort zone where further change can be sustained.  A crisis, whether real or manufactured, creates uncertainty (if not fear) and seems, at least among the organizations participating in this study, to enable senior management to lever the cultural boulder that single inch that gets it moving.

An induced crisis may take many forms, but frequently it appears to be a clear enunciation, from the top and down throughout the organization, of imminent decline in comparison to competitors, even if this is untrue.  This supplies the justification for 'sub-crises' - the appointment of a new business unit head to shake things up, redundancies or overhead cost reductions.

There was also a strong belief among some participants that the role of human resources (HR) in the 1990s must become more strategic, must start to force new, often radical ideas into line management under the stewardship of the senior executive team.

Key findings - IV

A 'strategic' decision to change is usually nothing more than gut-feel dressed up in numbers and rubber-stamped by some committee.

Culture change means changing people.  People are fallible.  That's why culture change isn't as easy as it should be.

Evaluating success in culture change is like measuring goodwill in the balance sheet.

In a long-established, stable organization really fundamental change can be very dangerous - the downside risk is much greater than you might anticipate.

4.  Culture change as an act of faith

Most large organizations would be right to ask, "Where will culture change take us?" Most come to the conclusion that the entire venture will be an expensive best guest - an act of faith.

One of the reasons for the interest in change management, and the 'learning organization', is to try to tackle the act of faith by making organizations much more reactive.  If the organization responds rapidly to external pressures and demands, and is liberated internally from bureaucracy, then long-term culture change becomes unnecessary.  The conundrum is how to become a learning organization without going through a fundamental culture change.  There is not an answer to that.  Clearly, one must follow the other.

The participants were unanimous in saying that there were no guarantees of a positive outcome of any particular change programme - 'positive' being loosely defined as, at minimum, some payback on the investment, evidenced in improved overall business performance, reduced costs and higher quality products.  However, there was a keen awareness that culture change itself needs to be justified, even if it is an act of faith.  One participant, with only a touch of cynicism, cautioned:

"It's not just about change.  It's about trying to make more money."

It is a comment on the difficulty of measuring success in culture change, even indirectly, that few of the participants had set in place any evaluation mechanisms.  Those who had, emphasized that direct costs can be tracked fairly tightly; estimates of the management and staff time involved are possible; and it is feasible to attach a negative cost to failure.

However, in the participating companies, the focus was more frequently on qualitatively assessing things like:

  • the preparedness of managers for more senior appointments; 

  • customers' perceptions of improvements in service; 

  • greater control over unions; 

  • is the whole organization pulling in the same direction - i.e.  one culture rather than warring sub-cultures?

Key findings - V

You need to make people obsessive about change: show them the new values then nag them persistently until change has happened.

In implementing change we worked on the rule of thumb that it was a good thing to have as many change initiatives going up the organization as down.  This generates both the commitment and momentum crucial to success.

A great problem has been the 'Mafia subculture' - a sort of informal network of resistance based on the principle: 'You cover my back and I'll cover yours'.

Change doesn't happen because top management want it to happen.  It only occurs when it is deeply embedded in the people you want to change

5.  Involvement of staff 

Participants agreed that changing culture was about changing the people involved.  Some had been more systematic in this endeavour than others.  For example, there was the view that it was important to create a network of change agents in key positions at all levels and by this means to build up sufficient momentum to overwhelm resistance.  Most participants also identified the role of consultants as indispensable in providing either an objective diagnosis of culture and change requirements or assistance with downstream implementation of new values and systems. 

A salutary note was also sounded by a senior personnel figure: 

"There is at least as much danger in copping out and letting consultants dictate culture change as there is in doing it yourself… You need aid from consultants, not substitution of staff and management effort."

In fact, several participants expressed concern about vast information technology (IT) implementation projects that absorbed the full-time use of large numbers of consultants.  Such projects clearly required the expert assistance, but were seen to be in danger of unwittingly fostering a new culture - not of self-sufficiency and initiative, but of dependence and uncertainty. 

Getting everyone in an organisation involved in change is something to which most organizations, and all writers in the field, will pay lip service.  The benefits are obvious, practical implementation is not quite so easy. 

More than two-thirds of the participants mentioned the difference between an intellectual involvement and a true commitment to change - 

"What you tell me makes sense, but why should I change? "

Alignment of terms and conditions to support the new cultural values (discussed later) is part of the solution.  However, a number of participants pointed to the difficulty that incentive schemes tend to degrade over time as staff learn how to manipulate them. 

Where participants felt change had so far been successful, this had frequently involved the widespread communication about, or even inducement of, a crisis-point, as we discussed earlier.  It seems that getting things started by providing a need to change is largely the key to the process. 

Resistance to change was handled in different ways.  Several participants discussed circumventing the resisting factions.  Few had tackled them head-on and a number partially resolved the problem with early retirements and redundancies.

Key findings - VI 

For top management, and ultimately all managers, culture change is about learning to 'walk the talk' - that is, being consistent to the espoused values. 

We found that training wasn't very effective except where management behaviour was in harmony with the training. 

On reflection, the key facet of success in the programme was the style of the MD - in other words, 'Get out and do it!' 

We changed our culture by being highly consistent in management action - doing what we said we'd do. 

6.  Visibility of leaders 

'Do as the boss does,' is perhaps one of the primary mechanisms of acculturation in organizations.  New employees are influenced by both the formal and informal behaviour of their bosses.  The impact of peers should not be underestimated either, but managers usually possess an automatic authority to sanction (sometimes unwittingly) or punish certain patterns of behaviour. 

Certainly participants felt very strongly that managers, first at the very top then lower down the hierarchy, should be the primary change agents.  But achieving a real change in behaviour (learning to 'walk the talk') is not easy.  It requires continuing, visible adherence to a new set of behavioural norms.  'Do as I say, not as I do' is no longer good enough.  Old values such as 'information is power' need to be seen to be replaced by the real sharing of information. 

Nonetheless, old habits die hard.  This is why a singleminded focus on the new culture by the chief executive is so important.  If the signs and symbols distinguishing the new values are seen to waver at the top, how much greater is the wavering down the rest of the organization. 

In one participating company the statement was forcefully made that employees had a right to expect certain behaviour from managers - behaviour that embodied the new values.  Seeing the evidence of changed behaviour in senior managers builds the conviction that the new behaviour is right.  We come back to Nietzsche's words again that people will have faith in the truth of those things that are seen to be strongly believed in. 

As distasteful as it may be to British managers and British organisations, there is enormous power in the almost evangelical adoption of new cultural norms by senior management.  Undirected leadership training is not the answer - though many companies still try this.  At the heart of culture change must be a core of values that are truly held and provide the backbone of the organization.

Key findings - VII 

Continuous change is about anticipating problems. 

Culture change isn't something you can drop and then take up again when you wish! It needs constant managing. 

You must keep the organizational 'strain' up above the comfort zone.  This is essential.  Without 'strain', jobs get into a rut.  And the maintenance of strain is equivalent to ongoing change. 

People like comfort and hate displacement - even something as simple as having to move their desk! 

7.  Living with change 

Today, we have all become aware of and concerned about change.  Contemporary organizations face a highly competitive business environment.  Public sector organizations have been thrust into increasing accountability.  Affecting all of us is the accelerating rate of technological change, and we find ourselves in a physical and social environment that has become highly volatile, subject to both political and ecological imbalances. 

To remain competitive, organizations cannot stand still.  As a point of comparison, it is estimated that the total accumulation of scientific knowledge is doubling every 10 years.  The impact of this on society is dramatic.  Yet most participants in this study believe that employees dislike change.  How then are organizations to cope? 

The process of organization development (OD) was defined by Bennis (1969) as: 

"a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of organisations so that they can better adapt to new technologies, markets, and challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself.  "

That was in 1969, but the description still applies perfectly in 1991.  So are organisations any closer to dealing effectively with the pace of change? Have methods of OD had an impact? 

Well, at least half the participants in this study felt that an acceptance of continuing change had been inculcated into their organizations, where previously stability was the order of the day.  In addition, there was a growing belief that the imposition of sufficient organizational strain was necessary to keep employees operating above their comfort zone.  Such strain might take the form of increasing standards of performance, shifting work groups, and doing more with less. 

Perhaps this is a result of a new realism.  A participant admitted: 

"We thought of ourselves as highly sophisticated.  We were arrogant about our success and reckoned our competitors were useless.  We were only ever used to an expanding market.  That was our Achilles' heel - we were, in fact, naïve.  In the world markets of the 1990s we know we have to be radical, pragmatic, even brutal.  It's not enough for people just to understand the intellectual argument; they actually have to do those things." 

Key findings - VIII 

Most large organizations like ourselves spend great sums of money on outplacement counselling.  The question we've started asking ourselves is why we don't spend the same on career development counselling when people are still with us! 

Management development stops people thinking just about activity and starts them thinking about achievement.  Achievement is what makes the company successful! 

Our prime process of change has been management development - not simply the provision of training courses but hard, factual analysis of the people and skills the business requires and a long-term strategy for developing them.  This had to be company-wide rather than divisional, so that a company culture was fostered and not a series of warring cub-cultures. 

8.  The management development spiral 

In Japan (and in many Japanese countries outside that country), young management trainees are moved from one job to another every 2 or 3 years and may be transferred to other offices or plants. 

In a national culture that values and promotes service longevity (as in Japan), it is sensible to expose managers to as many new organizational and business experiences as possible and also to ensure that they have solid grounding in every function - finance, production, marketing, personnel, sales and research and development.  The long-term objective is to develop managers who will be more valuable as they go up the organizational hierarchy.  This can be represented as an upward development spiral across different experiences and functional departments. 

In the West, we often lament the shortage of true general managers.  Organizations in the UK in particular have tended to develop managers as functional specialists who, in the current business world, are poorly equipped as they reach senior positions. 

There was a growing recognition among the study participants that the long-term development of general managers was crucial to sustained competitive success.  At least a third of the participants saw management development as one of the main initiatives to change the organisational culture.  The focus was not so much on training managers to be better in their current jobs, but on identifying management talent and developing the general managers of the future.  Such a strategy must be very long term.  It necessitates forward-thinking and succession planning, as well as the establishment of competencies against which individual development can be measured within the development spiral.  It is categorically not about short-term training initiatives, but rather about the merit of experience.

Key findings - IX 

We want to be able to fine-tune the organization in an ongoing fashion - not have to do major surgery every so often.  This means the culture has to be one that accepts change, isn't bureaucratic, isn't tied down to tradition and history. 

A great danger is that operating management believe they know what the existing culture is - without finding out in some objective way.  Then they wind up not understanding the vested interests of staff and have no idea how to change this.  They simply end up out of touch….. 

To get staff to provide good service we have to show that management has regard for them. 

9.  Alignment of terms and conditions 

Once the agenda has been set or change has begun to happen, maintaining it becomes an issue. 

Most of the participants spoke of modifying terms and conditions as part of this process.  Still, organizations do this in small ways all the time.  But success in building and sustaining more effective 'high wire' performance among employees as part of wide-ranging and deep cultural change, demands that personnel terms and conditions owe as little as possible to historical factors and as much as possible to the new, desired values.  In other words, the appraisal system, bonus and incentive schemes, policy statements, remuneration, and promotion all must have a role in helping to support and drive the new cultural values.  They are themselves mechanisms to change behaviour, not simply organizational baggage. 

Meshing cultural drive-wheels with the cogs of HR systems is never easy.  Nonetheless, the lesson would seem to be to do it fast.  Long drawn out modifications to HR systems, delayed by poor industrial relations or by fears of too much too soon, frequently enable employees to adapt to change without changing.  The aim here is to institutionalise the changes by means of HR systems, to begin to synchronize individual and organizational values.  However, it scarcely needs to be said that HR systems or the structure of the organization are not the only mechanisms of sustaining change.  Management style and leadership are the elements that establish the social context within which the HR systems motivate employees.  A number of the participating organizations had overhauled their HR systems in less than 18 months - not without considerable pain, but with a high degree of success. 

Key findings - X

We want a race-horse culture.  Those people who can't run fast enough are simply in the wrong race - they need to go.

Moving people about helps to reinforce the new decentralized culture.

The legitimate interests of staff are not always the same as the organization's.  This means that some people get left behind….it's inevitable.

In this company and in many others, the role of the middle manager hangs in the balance.  IT is both changing their traditional communications or buffer role and replacing them.

One or two of the old top team objected to my style.  They've gone.

10.  Decentralization and delaying 

One of the trends in assessing the success of culture change is to ask: 

"Are we doing more and better with less resource?"

In almost all of the participating organizations, culture change had produced delayering - that is, the stripping out of one or more management levels, with the consequent redundancy of many of those managers.  None of the participating organizations ruled out redundancies in the future as part of their culture changes.  It is important to note that this was viewed not as a response to recession but to the need to be more competitive and, though brutal, to remove individuals unsuited to the new culture or unwilling to adapt quickly. 

Delayering was closely related to decentralization and the shift of autonomy and accountability to operating units.  As operating units get more authority and accountability, so head office functions shrink. 

But why do this? Centralization used to work.  The primary reason is that decentralization places strategy and operations closer to the market, or rather closer to strategy and operations.  This has to be a good thing: it forces managers and employees to be more attuned to the real world and competition. 

In the UK, this has become very fashionable.  It was not true, however, of all the participating organizations.  Those that had always been decentralized were somewhat amused by the rush to decentralize.  In fact, the decentralized companies were keen to exert more central control - particularly on activities such as management development, purchasing and some overarching areas of policy such as personnel, IT and finance. 


The idea of organizational culture first took the stage in the 1960s.  At that time, there was confusion about its meaning, a problem not helped by its rapid adoption in business and media parlance. 

In the 1990s, we cannot deny that culture has become a fad.  Fads come and go with the generations of managers who populate organizations.  On this count alone, we might be tempted to dismiss the idea.  But that would be a mistake.  All but one of the participants in this study stated that they believed culture was both important and useful.  The point was made eloquently by one person: 

"Describing an organization in terms of structure and finance is rather dead.  Culture brings it to life."

In this sense, corporate culture is an attempt to deal with all those aspects of organizational life that are irrational and paradoxical but no less important for it.  Our opinion, having completed over 60 hours of interviews and three times that time sifting through the data, is that major UK organizations are making good use of the concept.  It is both possible and desirable to change the culture of organizations.  The difficulties, of course can easily be underestimated and careful thought needs to be given to the strategic objectives of such an endeavour. 

We hope that the 10 themes discussed in this report will demonstrate the practical and ambitious initiatives that large UK organizations have undertaken, their concerns and indeed fears, and sometimes even their failures.  Beyond all that, however, we hope that it shows the commitment of senior managers in choosing to take control of culture and implementing their vision. 


  • W. G. Bennis, Organization Development: Its Nature, Origins and Prospects, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts (1969). 
  • G. Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, McGraw-Hill, London (1991). 
  • T. Peters and R. H. Waterman, In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best Run Companies, Harper and Row, New York (1982)


The participating organisations

  • Alfred McAlpine Group 
  • AT&T 
  • Istel 
  • BAA 
  • Balfour Beatty Group 
  • Barclays Bank 
  • British Steel 
  • The Burton Group 
  • Eastern Electricity 
  • London Underground 
  • National Power 
  • The Nestle Company 
  • P & O Group 
  • Prudential Corporation 
  • The Rank Organization 
  • Rank Xerox 
  • Rolls-Royce 
  • The RTZ Corporation 
  • Smith Kline Beecham 
  • Pharmaceuticals UK 
  • Southern Electric 
  • Vickers Defence Systems 
  • Westpac Banking Corporation 
  • WHSmith Group

Fieldwork conducted in 1991