Organizational culture and change : assessing impact in British Higher Education
This study examines the efforts of British university management to cope with the rapid environmental change experienced during the past fifteen years. Central to these efforts has been the attempt to adopt a more business like approach to management and to inculcate a customer oriented culture amongst staff through training and development. This study explores key assumptions underlying this strategy of change. First, that organization cultures can indeed be managed by development and training initiatives. Second and more specifically, that training can produce the desired attitude towards customers. To do this, the literature on organization culture and change was critically reviewed to establish both a theoretical and empirical bases for the present study. From the review the operational definition of "culture as meaning" was developed and a distinctively eclectic methodological approach was created. Also an additional hypothesis was added, namely that research and instrument design crucially influence the recorded change in attitude and culture indicated by previous studies, that is, the apparent success of intervention was a function of the mode of measurement adopted. The results of the study indicate that, if measurement effects are controlled for, training has no systematic impact at all on attitudes. The key influence on attitude is the total experience of working within a particular organization (the "being there" factor), and that only a holistic approach to organizational development would be feasible. Ad hoc initiatives cannot bring about the desired change.