Cultural change in organisations and the implementation of family-friendly policies
Using a grounded theory approach, two case studies were carried out in large organisations which have recently implemented family-friendly policies. The studies asked whether or not cultural change has taken place as a result of the implementation of these policies. Using Shein's (1992) three level model and definition of culture, attention was focused on underlying assumptions or 'root' facets of organisational culture (and conceptual distinctions made between culture, image and identity). After establishing which facets are present and how they exist in combination with each other, shifts which have taken place as a direct or indirect result of the introduction of policies were identified. Especial interest was taken in the way the primacy of work was expressed through the ideal worker type and the extent to which this type has been replaced by the integrated worker type (Rapoport et al 2002), which acknowledges that family and other commitments are as legitimate as occupational demands. Both studies conclude that, as yet, there have been only slight adjustments in the construction of this ideal worker type and that employees do not make a permanent shift towards the integrated worker type but `toggle' between these two types. Explanations are developed for shifts in other cultural facets, such as the importance of autonomy, emphases on equality or individuation, sense of entitlement and attitudes to change. The utility of the notion of purposive cultural change is considered, given that high levels of anxiety are released when unconscious and shared mental structures are destabilised in such processes of organizational learning. The merits of a more evolutionary model are explored.