This paper addresses the impact that a CEO transition has on organizational culture. In many of the scholarly writings to date (Barnard, 1938; Ouchi & Wilkins, 1985; Schein, 1999), organizational culture is deemed to be highly resistant to change and incapable of radical and rapid change. This paper is written from a practitioner’s perspective and offers an alternative view by connecting the findings of authors’ combined experience to the scholarly writings on organizational culture, leadership and change. More specifically, the creation of a theoretical framework is presented to explain these connections and to provide some insights to scholars and practitioners on the impact that changing leadership behavior at the CEO level has on organizational culture. Challenging some of the mainstream thinking on organizational culture, the authors concludes that a shift in different leadership behaviors at the top often results in profound and rapid change in the organizational culture. This paper develops the relationship between leadership and culture by focusing on cultural change that results from a change in CEO. The paper draws upon the expanded conversation of Weisbord (1987), and Gersick (1991) for a comprehensive understanding of how planned, punctuated change impacts the organization as a whole and relies on Burns (1978), Bass (1990) and Yukl (2002) to help us understand the role leaders play in shaping organizational culture. The conclusions point to the need for further study on the proposed resilient nature of organizational culture and reinforce the notion that cultural change is punctuated rather than gradual and continuous.
|Keywords:||Culture, Leadership, Change|
President, ConocoPhillips Qatar, Upstream, George Washington University, Doha, Qatar
Human and Organizational Learning, George Washington University, USA
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