CHAPTER 18Organizational Culture, Leadership, Change and Stress

Manfred Kets de Vries and Laura Guillén Ramo

INSEAD, France

and

Konstantin Korotov

European School of Management and Technology, Germany

Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing his mind (W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage)

‘Any company can become a great place to work’. This is an appealing statement, but how are ‘great places to work’ characterized? At the heart of the definition of a great place to work are trust and mutual respect between senior executives and their employees, and value-driven leadership – performance with purpose. Great places to work show a strong commitment from CEO and senior management (who walk the talk), a genuine belief that people are indispensable for the business, active communication among the entire organization, the perception of a unique culture and identity, a well-articulated vision, and values that are lived and experienced at all levels of the organization (Schrage, 1999; Kets de Vries, 2001a, 2006).

But even if many executives know what characterizes a great place to work, they fail in their attempts at creating one. Why are these organizational characteristics – in theory quite clear – so difficult to attain? How do organizations become and remain great places to work? What can leadership do to motivate people to create a better organization? And how do high performance organizations keep stress among their employees at acceptable levels? In this ...

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