What Is Meant by ‘Cultural Grain’?
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Before implementing a particular strategy, an organization should examine the peculiarities of a cultural change process within its structure. In order to understand the specifics of organizational culture, a particular emphasis should be put on the development of leadership competencies, analysis of critical incidents disclosing the patterns of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, effectiveness of working relationships among team members, and, finally, organizational environment assessment (Watson, Gallagher, and Armstrong, 2005, p. 196). With regard to these aspects, schemes of cultural shifts can be too complicated if culture has been developing for a long period of time. Being firmly embedded within an organizational structure, it can be quite difficult to introduce changes quickly and provide a new platform for strategic and cultural development. Furthermore, rapidly introduced leadership competencies can go discordantly with initially established cultural norms and values, or the co-called ‘cultural grains’, that were introduced and formed long before the implementation.
The above-presented discussion reveals that a “cultural grain” phenomenon can present the greatest challenge for the managerial stuff to work out organizational priorities. Owing to the fact that organizational culture and development are often based on processes and actions carried out within the structure, practice and experience rather than theoretical models serve as the basis for cultural formation of an organization. In other words, cross-cultural aspects and shifts must be considered extremely carefully to meet people’s needs and values and weave all changes in a cultural story (Ulrich and Brockbank, 2008, p. 19). Defining behavior patterns, cultural priorities established in the past will contribute to a more comfortable and effective implementation of new patterns and priorities aimed at improving company’s strategic platform.
Effective Cross-Functional Involvement in Terms of Personal Development and Relation-Building
Effective cross-functional involvement should rely on acquiring specific cognitive, technical, and social skills. In particular, an organization should have a strict and comprehensive plan of personal development, the success of which will be based on the extent to which employee adjust to cultural and strategic changes occurred to company (Horn, 2010, p. 25). According to Megginson and Whitaker (2007), the managerial staff should develop clear goals and activities for employees to be engaged as well as work out specific concepts and theories to describe the change process and understand what challenges this process can undergo. All these plans of relation-building and personal development should be aimed at enriching working members’ experience and motivations and advancing organizational competence and profitability.
While taking all the above-discussed developmental issues, cross-functional involvement should be largely dependent on the analysis of learning opportunities and recognition of development solutions in terms of cultural and technological risks to be taken to increase company’s performance (Megginson and Whitaker, 2007, p. 66). Organizational learning and development will turn out to be much more effective if the major focus is made on the analysis of person-oriented policies (Winstanley, 2005, p. 13). Particularly, the personal development orientation should be aimed at improving employees’ awareness and professionalism and fulfilling cognitive and experience gaps in relation to ongoing changes. Relation-building and decision-making can also be improved via establishing the essential match between the demand of a position and job candidates for identifying more comprehensive learning needs and striking the balance between performance and reward (Whiddett and Hollyforde, 2003, p. 24). Introducing these cross-cultural schemes makes it possible to provide a link between people management practices and business objectives.
Horn, R. (2010, May). The business skills handbook. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.
Megginson, D., and Whitaker, V. (2007). Continuing professional development. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.
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Ulrich, D., and Brockbank, W. (2008). HR competencies: mastery at the intersection between people and business. Washington, DC: Society for Human Resource Management.
Watson, G., Gallagher, K., and Armstrong, M. (2005). Managing for results. London: CIPD Publishing.
Whiddett, S. and Hollyforde, S. (2003). A Practical Guide to Competence: How to enhance individual and organizational performance. London: CIPD Publishing.
Winstanley, D. (2005). Personal effectiveness: A guide to action. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.