This chapter deals with the natural processes by which culture evolves and changes as organizations grow and age and also discusses how change leadership can influence those processes. Such influence can come about by deliberately redesigning the structure of the organization to give subgroups different environments, changing some of the organizational processes and thereby “coercing” new kinds of behavior that may or may not lead to new beliefs and values, or taking advantage of natural events such as disasters or scandals that force new behavior among organization members. These changes are generally not planned and are not usually preceded by formal cultural diagnoses or assessments. Rather, they result from how change leaders’ react to emergent events.
In the following chapters we take up the cases in which change leadership perceives a specific problem to be addressed and launches a managed-change process that will inevitably involve culture in some manner. Leaders need to understand the normal evolutionary change processes to be able to steer them.
The mechanisms and processes by which culture can and does evolve depend on the stage at which the organization finds itself. These mechanisms are cumulative in the sense that at a later stage, all the prior change mechanisms are still operating, but additional ones are becoming relevant.
Understanding how these mechanisms work is especially important for formal leaders, because the best ...