The 3 Main Conclusions and Findings About Culture Change
  • Home /
  • Blog /
  • Blog /

The 3 Main Conclusions and Findings from New Research about Culture Change in Organisations

Continuing on from my culture change post last week New research and a new understanding about culture change in organisations, today I look at the findings from this paper. Members get the full references and links to obtain the paper.


Be impressively well-informed

Get your FREE organizational and people development research briefings, infographics, video research briefings, a free copy of The Oxford Review and more...

Be impressively well-informed and up-to-date

Powered by ConvertKit


Where people take their cultural cues from at work

Culture change: The researchers found that in an organisational setting most people take their cultural cues for behaviour and beliefs from the following areas of their life, in order:

  1. The culture of the organisation
  2. The culture of their profession
  3. Experience (Age)
  4. Their family values
  5. Their nationality and ethnicity equally
  6. Whether they come from an urban or rural area, so rural or urban cultural values
  7. Hobbies
  8. Religion

Where people take their cultural cues from at home

This however differs considerably from their non-work lives. The influence of the differing cultural values looks more like this:

1. Family values
2. Their nationality
3. Rural v urban cultural values
4. Ethnicity
5. Their age / experience
6. Hobbies and pastimes
7. The organisation they work for
8. Their profession
9. Religion
10. Political affiliation, which did not appear in the organisational cultural ranking.

3 Main Conclusions

There are a few things to note from this.

The first thing is just how situational our behaviour and thinking can be. That we can behave in very different ways in different situations based on the culture.

Secondly this study shows just how much of a cultural shift people are making at work. This explains why people can behave so very differently in a work environment to how they would otherwise.

Thirdly, just how dominant the organisational culture is at work and the impact it has on our thinking and behaviour. This weighting of the organisational culture and the professional culture together accounts for almost ⅔ (61.33%) of all of the possible cultural influences on behaviour at work.

These finding show that many people are able to switch from one cultural setting to another and change their behaviours more or less to fit in with the operating culture of the moment. Also that variations in behaviour and thinking within organisations can be explained by membership of external cultures. Interestingly, this shows that just over one third of people are less influenced by the predominant organisational culture for their behavioural cues than say family or national cultural background.

Implications for culture change

Given the ability of people to switch to fit the predominant organisational culture, any thoughts that a poor organisational culture will fix itself, doesn’t look very likely. Just running workshops on culture to raise awareness is unlikely to make much difference for example. Culture changes through behaviour.
Incremental culture change is hard. As noted here, culture is about behaviour. The leaders really need to start and lead any culture change initiative, but it’s not what they say it’s what they do that will make the difference.

References – avaliable to members

Be impressively well informed

Get the very latest research intelligence briefings, video research briefings, infographics and more sent direct to you as they are published

Be the most impressively well-informed and up-to-date person around...

Powered by ConvertKit
Like what you see? Help us spread the word

David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page

  • Umesh Prabhu says:

    Very well said David. We transformed our Trust by defining our values, culture, appointing many value based medical leaders and implementing robust governance and excellent staff and patient engagement. Today anyone can see the benefit.

    50% of our medical leaders are Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and 25% women! This reflects the ethnicity of our consultants! All were appointed for their values and nothign else! In a value based organisation the diversity and inclusion thrives. Values based leaders are ethical leaders for whom their behaviour matters and they lead by example and lead from the front and are role models for their team and for their organisations and in such an organisations patients and staff are happy and culture of happiness is what makes NHS safer and better.

  • >