Communication Conflict Essays and Research Papers

Instructions for Communication Conflict College Essay Examples

Title: Communication Patterns Impact Conflict

  • Total Pages: 2
  • Words: 580
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  • Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: , answer the question of how do differences in communication patterns impact conflict? Discuss dialogue as a method to address communication conflicts; provide examples to support your position. Incorporate two peer-reviewed references to support your analysis.


References

Deutsch, M., Coleman, P. T., & Marcus, E. C. (Eds.). (2006). The handbook of conflict
resolution: Theory and practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN:978-0-7879-8058-0

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Title: An essay shoud detail 1 An introduction give a general theoritical background cultural values communication styles Use Hofstede dimensions 2 A section specifically examines thai Thailand culture terms cultural values communication style

  • Total Pages: 11
  • Words: 2822
  • References:15
  • Citation Style: APA
  • Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: An essay shoud have the following detail :
1. An introduction in which you give a general theoritical background on cultural values and communication styles .Use Hofstede dimensions.
2.A section which specifically examines thai /Thailand culture in terms of cultural values and communication style. How do people talk to one another? Are they direct or indirect?Are they from a high or low context culture? How are they supposed to speak to elders, bosses, subordinates and member of the opposite se?
3.A section which specifically examines the culture of hong kong ( china main land should be ok ) and the rest the same as no.2.
4.Religion - how might a person's religion shape their worldview? for example, what type of view does the person's religion take of the individual? Are they thought to be basically goofd or evil? Is nature something that we should live in harmony with or control? Think about the points about the differences between the East and West. Hongkong - catholic, thailand - buddhism
5. A secion which contrast and compares the two culturesin terms of cultural values and communications styles.
6. A section which highlight potential communication conflicts between the two cultures and that offers somes possible solutions.

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Bibliography

Brett, J.M., & Crotty, S. (2007). Culture and Negotitaion. Management and Organizations.

Clyne, M. (1994). Inter-Cultural Communication at Work: Cultural Values in Discourse. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Coverdell, P.D. (n.d.). Styles of Communication: Direct and Indirect. Retrieved April 14, 2012, from Culture Matters: http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/educators/enrichment/culturematters/Ch3/stylescommunication.html

Geert Hofstede. (2011). Hong Kong. Retrieved April 14, 2012, from Geert-Hofstede: http://geert-hofstede.com/hong-kong.html

Geert-Hofstede. (2011). Thailand. Retrieved April 14, 2012, from Geert-Hofstede: http://geert-hofstede.com/thailand.html

Hall, E. (1977). Beyond Culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press.

Hall, E. (1983). The Dance of Life: The Other Dimensions of Time. Garden City, New York: Doubleday.

Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE Publications.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Hong Kong Government. (2011). Hong Kong: The Facts. Information Services Department.

Kwintessestial. (n.d.). Thailand - Thai Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette. Retrieved April 14, 2012, from Kwintessential: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/thailand-country-profile.html

Mind Tools. (1996). Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions: Understanding Workplace Values Around the World. Retrieved April 13, 2012, from MindTools: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_66.htm

Riedel, S.L. (2008). Communication. In A.R. Febbraro, B. McKee, & S.L. Riedel, Multinational Military Operations and Intercultural Factors (pp. 6-15). NATO Research and Technology Organization.

Smith, P.B., Peterson, M.F., & Thomas, D.C. (n.d.). Handbook of Cross Cultural Management Research . SAGE.

Stark, F. (1999). Styles of Communication. In C. Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out (pp. 75-108). Boston, USA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

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Title: Leadership and Human Resources

  • Total Pages: 3
  • Words: 820
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Essay Instructions: Sunflower seems like it had a corporate culture that was neither sunny nor floral. Actually, it sounds like a pretty nasty place to work. And then they changed.

Please read the article below. What do you think? Describe the changes made at Sunflower and tell if they reflect the kind of cultural leadership you would use.

Please write three pages.

Using the power of corporate culture to achieve results: A case study of sunflower electric power corporation
Management Quarterly; Washington; Summer 2001; Justin W Schulz; L Christian Hauck; Rita M Hauck;



Abstract:
An in-depth analysis of the attempt by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, a generation and transmission cooperative, to change the culture of the organization from the top down. Sunflower was the first of several G&Ts to default on senior debt obligations. In 1988, the morale of Sunflower people was at an all-time low, as they faced an uncertain future with a debt structure thought by many to be only a temporary fix, with local newspapers leveling charges of mismanagement and corruption. At the core of Sunflower's change in approach was the deliberate redevelopment of its corporate culture. For Sunflower, the whole, its people and culture, would become more than the sum of the parts.


Sunflower Electric Power Corporation was the first of several generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts) to default on senior debt obligations. Sunflower was driven to renegotiate its financial obligations with its creditors, including the Rural Electrification Administration, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, and the Bank for Cooperatives. The debt restructuring agreement was signed just days before CEO, Chris Hauck, was hired in 1988. Sunflower and its eight members faced a plummeting local economy, doubledigit interest rates, and the problem of what to do with their brand-new $500 million coal-fired Holcomb power plant, loaded with expensive cutting-edge pollution control equipment and sized to meet an anticipated booming demand for energy that, even today, has not fully materialized. In 1988, the morale of Sunflower people was at an all-time low, as they faced an uncertain future with a debt structure thought by many to be only a temporary fix, with local newspapers leveling charges of mismanagement and corruption. In those days, some employees even feared cashing their paychecks in their local communities, as they felt they were blamed for the bad situation. This article summarizes the dramatic story of Sunflower's fresh approach to "business as usual."

At the core of Sunflower's change in approach was the deliberate redevelopment of its corporate culture. For Sunflower, the whole, its people and culture, would become more than the sum of the parts. In reflecting on Sunflower's development from the late 80s into the 21st century, the management team identified three key elements that made the transformation possible. First, many midmanagers were ready for a change and they knew it had to be deep, not superficial. Second, the Sunflower Board of Directors brought in a new CEO committed to breaking down organizational walls between work units as well as opening up decision processes to encourage participation from everyone. Third, the new CEO brought in an organizational consulting team to help develop the processes that would make Sunflower a more effective organization.

THE COMPELLING EVENT

When he joined Sunflower, Hauck discovered that his predecessor had enforced an intense command-and-control culture that encouraged managers to fight over and protect turf. Power was used to advance the self-interests of this previous CEO and some managers who followed his lead. Other Sunflower managers were stifled in their efforts to do their jobs properly. Concerns about the financial condition, and questions of mismanagement, resulted in an investigation by the Kansas Corporation Commission and the Commission's support for the dismissal of the incumbent CEO.

Hauck's prior employment experiences had taught him what he did not want in a job or a company. From his past employment in senior positions, Hauck had seen bosses and work environments that no one should tolerate. He knew that as the new CEO he wanted to create an environment in which people would thrive, not just survive.

Shortly after his arrival, the new CEO had to deal with the residual effects of the previous management style. One of his senior executives was a particularly abusive manager. The manager frequently engaged in the practice of berating one supervisor until the man became physically sick. This supervisor and his group were so fearful of the executive and his predictable reaction to any mistakes they might make that they avoided taking the reasonable business risks that were necessary for them to succeed. Their work performance was dismal. Hauck dismissed the executive and made clear to all employees that he counted on them to use their judgment, including taking thoughtful risks. As the group came to believe that it really was part of their "job description" to risk reasonable mistakes, their performance improved dramatically, and these improvements led to significant, and much needed, rate reductions.

Dismissing the abusive manager and setting a different tone set the stage for building a better work climate, but there was more to do. Hauck found that Sunflower's entire executive management was seriously misaligned. The misalignment was evident in the conflicts over decisions, recurring turf issues, and the withholding of information by managers. To help address these problems, Hauck, with the support of the senior staff, began looking for a consulting firm with the expertise to help the company better align its management. Eventually, Sunflower developed a sound, long-term relationship with a Denver-based firm, Applied Behavioral Sciences, PC. This marked a new direction in how Sunflower would conduct business.

REDEFINING THE PROBLEM

Hauck initially defined the management difficulties as "people problems" that would go away if individuals could just be given the right psychological assistance to help them "fix" their personal shortcomings. But Sunflower's new consultants, Drs. Justin Schulz and Tom Traynor, emphasized that organizational development isn't just a matter of changing individuals. Rather, they explained the importance of interviewing the entire executive and senior management group, along with conducting an assessment of the company as a whole, in order to have an understanding of the organizational environment and to grasp how effectively it functioned in decisionmaking, communication, and utilization of human capital. The consultants explained that to attack the most aggravating symptoms, such as "misalignment" and "dysfunctional behavior," without an understanding of what triggers and perpetuates them can lead to changes that make the problems worse, rather than better. Schulz and Traynor interviewed the entire Sunflower management team and administered an objective behavior survey throughout the company. A week later, they met with the Sunflower executives to report the results, and, as one may have suspected, there was much more to the story than the executives had grasped.

While there had been a recent improvement in the overall climate, there were still significant deficiencies. Simple rejection of problematic practices of the past had not created a new organization. While the practices of the old regime had been renounced, people were not clear on what to do instead. The work environment did not include any new coherent cultural values or norms of expected behavior. Rejection of the old practices had created a vacuum. While operating in this vacuum, managers still engaged in unproductive conflict and withheld information, micromanaged staff, and blamed others.

In spite of Hauck's desire to create open, honest work relationships, an overall lack of trust prevailed, especially between work units. Many people expressed frustration at not being able to have more latitude in how they did work, as well as at the lack of progress in creating an emotionally safe and open work environment.

One thorny issue was the behavior of a particular supervisor. Although highly regarded for his knowledge and experience, the supervisor's behavior had triggered numerous complaints about his combative, and disrespectful manner. If the company managers were going to "talk the talk" about having a better work environment, something would have to be done. But what?

THE CEO's DILEMMA

Hauck had approached the management alignment problems as a problem with "them." The assessment of how the organization was functioning, as done by Schulz and Traynor made it clear that the problem was with "us," that is, the entire company. Addressing the perceived shortcomings of individual managers might provide some temporary improvements in specific cases, but the benefit would have little impact on the larger functional problems that involved the entire company. Creating a healthier, more effective company would require an entirely new approach by management.

Hauck realized that to create the kind of company he envisioned, he would have to give up control in exchange for leadership. This posed a serious dilemma when he considered his own business skill set. In all of his professional life, he had come to understand that the role of executives was to be in charge - to "make things happen." The last thing a real executive did was to give up control - especially in the tradition-bound electric utility industry where being in control was the way utilities were always run.

With consultation from Schulz and Traynor, Hauck redefined his job. The concept of servant leadership struck a sympathetic chord with Hauck and his personal belief system. As a servant leader, Hauck saw that he, and all of the Sunflower executives, were accountable to Sunflower as stewards in a much larger community. Hauck, and his executive team, began to approach their jobs as being responsible for managing the assets of their members and helping employees do their jobs. Since their jobs were now to help people get their work done, they could devote their efforts to supporting staff rather than managing them.

Hauck also realized that to effectively lead the entire team to accept the concept of servant leadership, he would have to lead by example. Acting on his belief that this was the right direction, Hauck laid out a new ground rule for doing business-- from now on, everyone in Sunflower was to hold him accountable to act consistently with his stated values, and if anyone disagreed with his decisions, they were to confront him directly.

Reflecting on their collective responsibility, the executive team identified a core value that would be the overriding principle for how Sunflower would conduct its business: Above all else, people are to be treated with dignity and respect. In the following years, this principle would prove to be a true benchmark for guiding actions that Sunflower could rely on time-after-time.

IT TAKES A MANAGEMENT TEAM

To DEVELOP A COMPANY

At this point, Schulz and Traynor began coaching the executive group on leadership practices that would demonstrate a commitment to treating people with respect and dignity and, at the same time, increase accountability. In the course of this phase, the executive group determined that they needed to be more proactive in addressing problematic behavior on the part of managers or supervisors. After more thorough consideration of the problems they were having with a key manager, they determined that, in fact, part of the problem was a mismatch between the manager's personality and style and what they were expecting him to do. They had put the wrong person in the position. Rather than trying to "fix" the manager, they decided to rotate him to a demanding senior staff position that would capitalize on his considerable technical talents, while changing the interpersonal dynamics of his work to better suit his interpersonal style.

Moving the manager meant finding a replacement for a key position. The executive team decided to promote a supervisor whose interpersonal style seemed more in line with the environment they wanted to nurture. Using the personnel change to shake up "the old way of doing things" and implement cultural change, Hauck's team wanted to unleash the potential of people that was not being tapped.

Hauck's vision involved an organization where people, at all ranks and in all positions, took initiatives without fear of reprisal. Leadership was not to be top-down, but a responsibility shared by everyone. To introduce the operational managers and supervisors to a new way of looking at running the business, Schulz and Traynor designed a four-day leadership development program for all Power Production and Transmission (Operations) management - thirtyfive managers and supervisors. Not until the fourth day of the program would Hauck and his executive group participate. On that last day of the program, the participants would share what they had learned and devise a plan for implementing new practices.

This program did not resemble training, as everyone knew it in the past, but was a bold test of the executive group's belief that leadership could come from all ranks. The program, The Spirit of Leadership, was convened at an executive conference center 250 miles away from Sun flo we r's center of operations. With all operational managers at the program , Operations' functions would be the total responsibility of line staff for that week. If the most vital operations could be managed on a day-to-day basis without management, both the line staff and the management staff would have to rethink their roles and business operations. And rethink it they did, beyond anyone's expectations.

This management leadership program became a watershed event for Sunflower. The goal had been to promote a more open, participative style and to put an end to the turf battles and micromanagement that had stifled employees. By the third day, the operations supervisors and managers had "caught the fever" and had changed the workshop agenda. The management group started to become a cohesive team, and as a team they set as their highest priority the task of creating a set of principles for guiding their daily actions. When Hauck and his executive group joined the participants on the last day, they encountered a more cohesive management team with a new set of practices for conducting the business-their Management Commitment Statement. The management team had drawn a line in the sand; a standard for their accountability (See page 9 for a copy of the statement).

A follow-up assessment by Schulz and Traynor revealed that change had begun, but there was more work ahead, especially in one unit. The most noticeable improvements had occurred among managers and supervisors. For example, line employees noted that the management group was being much more cooperative with one another, but this had not extended to substantial improvements in the working relationships between managers and supervisors. Line employees believed that they were listened to more and that their input was solicited, but they were unable to tell whether their input made much difference. Line employees also perceived that this newfound enthusiasm for openness, respect, and dignity was driven entirely by the CEO and was not widely embraced among the executive team or among the broader senior management group. Sunflower now had to take the next step to extend these changes.

The next phase of development was targeted at expanding the increased cooperation and improved communication vertically. This phase included training for line personnel, first-line supervisors and ongoing process consultation for the Operations Managers. Individuals were given training in conflict resolution, and learned strategies for working with others. By April of 1993, the anticipated changes were beginning to take hold. Six months before, many employees had stated, in effect, that "nothing really changes, they just paid lip service." Now, the complaints were aimed at the small number of managers and supervisors who were still not acting to give employees more say in managing their work. At the same time, it was apparent that there was conflict within the executive team, including very sensitive interpersonal conflicts. These conflicts were not getting addressed, much less resolved. An underlying "hot" issue that continued to impede the executive group's development was Hauck's own management style. While endorsing a more open, participative work climate, his fellow executives often felt intimidated and unable to confront him when they had serious differences of opinion. The realization that the executive group was not yet a team brought home to Hauck that change really would have to begin at the top. The realization of the development needs of the executive group led to the next phase in Sunflower's development - process consultation with the executives.

PROCESS CONSULTATION WITH THE

EXECUTIVES

Unfortunately, after much initial progress, development not only stalled, but a reassessment revealed that some units had actually regressed.

Some of this was due to Sunflower's vulnerability as a "single-- shaft" G&T with all of its base-load requirements produced at Sunflower's coal-fired Holcomb Station. The Power Production Manager felt significant pressure to keep Holcomb Station running with on-line availability expected at higher-than-average industry performance. The fear of "The Big Mistake" among Operations people seemed to contribute to an erosion of Sunflower's reputation for exceptional productivity rates. But most of the regression in performance seemed directly related to the avoidance of conflict among management.

After experiencing the satisfaction of being a more cohesive team, the management group found itself unable to address conflict openly and productively. As a consequence, accountability, as well as decisionmaking, deteriorated. Out of frustration, some line supervisors reverted to the old, abusive practices that had been displaced. Employees complained of feeling less empowered and resentful when people were not held accountable for living by The Management Commitment Statement.

Closer inquiry into the difficulty revealed that the accountability demanded by a more open, participative management practice was triggering significant personal conflicts for some managers and executives. Under the old commandand-control regime, many had been able to let someone else (i.e., "the boss") apply the heavy hand of telling people what to do; supervisors could sidestep feeling responsible for decisions as they implemented these directives knowing that they were just doing what they were told. However a more open process, based upon full sharing of information, weighing ideas by their merits and following through on commitments required a higher level of personal responsibility than most had been used to. A more open, participative management style now meant that everyone was responsible for holding each other accountable; a responsibility that made several key people extremely uncomfortable.

Additionally, some executives perceived that Hauck moved so quickly with new ideas that they did not have enough time to absorb them, or that he did not commit sufficient time to important considerations. As well as the personal style differences among Hauck and his executives further compounded the problem, as these differences generated communication conflicts that led them to question each others' motives. They were not sure how much to trust each other. The focus now had to be on building a greater degree of trust among executives and managers.

Because the changes that had been implemented had created personal developmental conflicts with several key people, individual executive coaching was added to the process consultation that Schulz and Traynor were providing to the executives as a group. This individual coaching helped these managers establish personal development plans to complement the work that the management and executive teams were doing on resolving their interpersonal differences.

During this phase, the executive group began to address their real perceptions of, and feelings toward, one another. In the process, they became much better listeners, "Seeking first to understand before seeking to be understood." They made the transition from being an executive team in name to becoming an executive team in fact. They also began to openly discuss how their own styles and ways of dealing with people and anxiety-provoking issues undermined the changes they were trying to bring about.

The Power Production managers and supervisors and the Vice President of Administration were soon given an opportunity to test their new skills when implementing a "no facial hair" policy for personnel whose jobs required the possible use of respirators as part of their fire fighting gear. In the past, a policy would have been announced, and if people did not like it, they would have been given a hostile reply of "Tough." But now, that employee input was sought and considered, making management apprehensive about how to implement a necessary policy that they knew would provoke intense criticism from employees very attached to their beards. The emotional attachment some employees had to their facial hair threatened to turn this seemingly minor policy into a major source of resentment.

The time spent developing themselves as a management team had paid off, as they tackled this thorny issue. As apprehensive as some were about the flak they expected to receive from some employees, as a team they were better able to use each other's ideas, collaborate and prepare the implementation of the policy. To avoid having the announcement be impersonal, they decided that the Power Production Manager would announce the new fire fighting gear policy at an all-hands meeting, rather than by written communication. That Manager felt confident that his managers, who had helped craft the implementation strategy, were fully supportive. As expected, there was some resistance to the policy. But the support he had from his managers made it easier for the Power Production Manager to announce the policy, listen to complaints without being defensive, acknowledge the anger that some might feel, and make clear that the policy must be implemented. Although there was some grumbling, it faded as people accepted the policy.

Hauck also began noticing a change in the relationship of the executive team and senior managers with Sunflower's Board of Directors. As he noted, "We're talking more with the Board, now, rather than to the Board." Addressing the interpersonal issues within the executive team was, at times, uncomfortable, but it enabled them to create the kind of team they wanted. Decision making was more efficient, they were quicker to voice concerns or differences of opinion, they spent more time inquiring about one another's ideas and perceptions, and they had a better appreciation of their individual differences, needs, and perceptions. The executive team now had a shared vision: It was not just one CEO's vision; it was the executive team's vision, shared and supported by all on the team.

In the course of its develop-ment, Schulz and Traynor helped the Executive team see that they were evolving toward a specific type of organizational culture, one known as a Competence Culture. The essence of a Competence Culture is that it constantly pursues new frontiers; it is driven to excellence in new ideas and innovation. Effective leaders in Competence Cultures are visionaries and standard setters, challenging themselves and others to seek new achievements. In the Competence Culture, ideas are judged only by their merit. Anyone can come up with a "best idea." In contrast, in the Control Culture, the culture more commonly found in the utility industry, seniority and conservatism prevail in judging ideas; ideas from juniors in the organization must be carefully checked by those higher up to assure that they do not introduce risk or too much change. Status in Control Cultures comes from your position in the organizational hierarchy, not from the quality of ideas.

Having this clearly defined core culture as their goal, management now had a systematic way of thinking about their culture and the leadership practices that best suited the needs of Sunflower. Complex planning activities, such as outage planning or restarting a mothballed unit, are driven by those who have essential knowledge or insights about the issues, rather than by those who control turf. This leads to a high degree of information exchange with a common understanding of the critical issues. Because of the openness of the process and focus on best ideas, all those involved feel ownership for the decisions. The value of Sunflower's deliberate development of its core culture and leadership practices has been demonstrated time-and-again as decisions become increasingly complex, require a more thorough understanding of the issues, and require quicker reactions.

THE WORK CONTINUES

For Sunflower, organizational and leadership development are not events, but an essential part of the ongoing business. Because of its own commitment to developing as a leadership team, the Executive Team has become a cohesive, aligned group. Differences in ideas are not just expressed - they are thoroughly explored until there is a clear agreement on how to proceed. Ultimately, each idea is measured by how well it serves Sunflower and its stakeholders, and differences in psychological styles are seen as strengths, because the executive team relies on the different styles of its members to complement one another.

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For the year 2001 and beyond, the development plan is to further extend the circle of leadership in Sunflower beyond those in managerial and executive positions. To advance this development, Schulz and Traynor meet regularly with employees from both the supervisory and line ranks to improve significant work processes.

As Sunflower moves ahead, the Executive Team is beginning to identify leadership for the future as they plan for developing succeeding generations of leaders in the company.

THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Contrary to predictions in the late 1980s, Sunflower not only survived, but thrived. Today Sunflower employees flourish in an environment of trust and synergistic interdependence. Sunflower enjoys an exemplary reputation as a caring and productive community citizen, and, within the electric utility business, as an example of excellence in achievement in virtually every measurable operating parameter, including rate decreases to members over the period amounting to 34%, an 89% increase in megawatt-hour sales, generation performance that greatly exceeds industry statistical norms in availability, and in recording significant productivity gains.

An intended and important success of Sunflower's process has been the ability to approach important decisions confidently and efficiently. One important decision of the last decade was whether to reactivate Sunflower's mothballed 100 MW gas-steam generating unit, and if so, how to most efficiently deploy it in the power markets. The decision-making process that was used involved the participation of virtually all of senior management meeting together for a free exchange of ideas and strategies. The participants unanimously acclaimed the meeting as an incredible display of the synergy, which the team had acquired from the on-going management development efforts. Their collaboration produced rewards and opportunities beyond the wildest dreams of the group, providing the cornerstone of a business arrangement that led to more than an $8 million annual reduction in Sunflower's rates.

Sunflower pays attention to its culture and values. The benefit is not only to Sunflower as a company, it is also to its employees and their families. Family members have reported that the employees' experiences with cultural transformation have brought a significant improvement in the overall quality of their family relationships and quality of life. In several cases, an employee's spouse has reported that the employee's personal growth from on-the-job interpersonal skill development had carried over into their marriage, enabling their family to stay together.

IMPLICATIONS FOR OTHER

COOPERATIVES

The experience at Sunflower highlights important considerations for any cooperative that plans to develop its corporate culture as part of its strategy for success. First, cooperative executives must be clear about what culture they wish to create or strengthen. Looking back on the early days that set the stage for change, the managers were correct; the change they needed had to be deep. Pursuing "management de jour" - latching onto the latest management fad - would not be a path to real change.

One way of testing the depth of the transformation envisioned for executives is to ask some questions about the culture they will build.

* Upon what values or principles is this culture based?

* How deeply rooted are these values or principles, and who is committed to living by them?

* How can the desired culture be described to others so that they can understand what it is like?

* How do people act within this culture so that they know what will be expected of them?

* How will building or strengthening this culture change the way the cooperative functions?

* How will it make life better for people?

A second consideration is having a compelling event or circumstance to motivate people to pursue cultural change. In Sunflower's case, the compelling circumstance was its financial crisis that required debt restructuring and employment of a new CEO. Without a compelling event or circumstance, people are often too comfortable with the way things are to drive real change. Cooperatives that are threatened by the changes occurring in today's power markets may well feel so anxious about their future survival that they are ready to change.

A third consideration is about planning. Successful cultural change efforts have to be strategic and tactical at the same time. In Sunflower's case, development was evolutionary, in that the initial effort was focused on part of the company - Operations - and grew over time to be applied across all elements of the company.

Although the focus was not initially corporate-wide, it was always aimed at changing interpersonal and organizational processes to reflect the core value of treating people with respect and dignity, as well as building a competence culture. Whether initiating change in some parts of the organization first or going company-wide at the outset, we would argue that many attempts at major organizational change fail, either because the intended change has no real relevance to the company's core business strategy or because the change efforts are not integrated in a manner that creates a synergy among the change activities. Cultural change efforts are much more likely to succeed if there is a coherent developmental plan that aligns business strategy, culture development and leadership development.

Fourth, organizational and leadership development are ongoing. If these are treated just as occasional events or "training," they will not make significant contributions to the organization. Organization and leadership development are core responsibilities for executives and managers. Truly dynamic organizations cultivate leaders rather than managers. The ones that are most succesful at using the power of corporate culture are those who cultivate leaders who reflect their cooperative's core culture and values.

Fifth, executives are so close to the day-to-day activities that they need someone from the outside with a detached point of view to help them see their company objectively. Work demands can interfere with stepping back and being objective. People may fail to give executives a complete picture of all that is going on within the organization. Additionally, the size and complexity of organizations, and the work that goes on within them, are often more than one individual can absorb. In Sunflower's case, Chris Hauck found that he needed the outside point of view, as well as coaching from his consultants to fully appreciate his own thinking, personal reactions and effects on others and make the best use of his talents.

Developing powerful company cultures is real work, and it is strategic work. Like all effective strategic work, it requires a clear vision of where you are going, a plan for getting there, bold action, and a commitment to follow through to achieve results. And, as Sunflower discovered, it can pay off many times over.

[Sidebar]
MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT
October 8, 1992
Sunflower Management Workshop

[Sidebar]
We, the members of the Sunflower Management Team, are committed to work together toward the continuing improvement of Sunflower, the specific goals developed at

[Sidebar]
the October 1992 Workshop and toward the following general goals for Sunflower:

[Sidebar]
1. To have a positive attitude toward Sunflower, toward each other within the Sunflower Management Team and toward all other Sunflower people.
2. To cooperate when working with each other and to promote and support intra-department and inter-department cooperation.
3. To work toward total company alignment and to empower people to this result.
4. To trust each other and to earn the trust of the Sunflower people. To demonstrate the Respect and Dignity ideals of Sunflower,
5. To recognize that it is our responsibility to manage environments and things, not to manage people. Our responsibility is to empower people to manage themselves. We will ask, "What can I do as a member of the Sunflower Management Team to help people perform their work?"
6. To develop healthy, positive and more thorough communications throughout Sunflower.
7. To identify and resolve interpersonal problems at the most immediate and practical level.
8. To supervise and evaluate performance objectively, consistently and respectfully.

[Sidebar]
We invite all Sunflower People to join with us in this commitment.

[Sidebar]
Types of Organizational Cultures

[Sidebar]
From years of researching the cultures of companies, Dr. William Schneider has identified the four following types of organizational cultures: Control, Collaboration, Competence, and Cultivation. These four cultures can be identified by their distinctly differing approaches to strategy, leadership, and organizational behavior.

[Sidebar]
Control cultures drive for predictability and order. Leadership is authoritative and conservative, with a high regard for "proper channels." The strategy for success is to create and enforce order throughout the organization and with customers. (Think: Exxon or Proctor & Gamble.)
Collaboration cultures pursue close relationships with customers. Mirroring this emphasis on the quality of relationships, their leadership invites high participation and focuses on building highly cohesive teams. Success comes from the quality of relationships, both within the organization and between the organization and its customers. (Think: Southwest Airlines or Charles Schwab.)
Competence cultures pursue excellence, innovation, being the first with new ideas. Leadership in competence cultures is visionary, sets high standards and encourages people to achieve new heights. The strategy for success is to be exceptional, unique. (Intel or the old Bell Labs would fit here.)
Cultivation cultures pursue life enrichment, for customers and employees. Leadership is charismatic and inspirational. (Examples: W.L. Gore and Habitat for Humanity.)

[Author note]
Justin W. Schulz, Ph.D., is a corporate psychologist and president of Applied Behavioral Sciences, a professional corporation providing organizational and leadership development services. He has assisted dozens of organizations in the electric utility, health care, manufacturing, oil & gas, and high tech industries with reorganizations, aligning organizational culture and leadership with business strategy, and with mergers and acquisitions. He played a key role in the decommissioning of Fort St. Vrain Nuclear Power Station for Public Service Company of Colorado. His numerous publications include articles for the electric utility industry in Nuclear Engineering International Ra"aste, and Public Utilities Fortnightly. He lives with his wife and children in Littleton, Colorado. He can be reached via email at justin_schulz@bigfoot.com.

[Author note]
L. Christian Hauck, is president and CEO of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, Hays, Kansas, a G&T that serves most of the wholesale power and energy delivered in the 34 counties of western Kansas. Prior to coming to Sunflower in 1988, Chris served in senior executive and legal positions at Colorado-Ute Electric Association, Florida Power & Light Company, Southern California Edison Company, Lockheed Aircraft International, Inc., and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He holds a B.A. in Economics from California State University at Los Angeles, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. He and his spouse Rita have two sons, both graduates of the United States Air Force Academy, who are currently on active duty, one an F-16 fighter pilot; the other a health care facilities officer.
Rita M. Hauck, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Technology Studies at Fort Hays State University, Hays, and Kansas. She holds an MBA in Management from FHSU, has taught in the University's School of Business, and has extensively studied management theory as a student, professor and consultant to her co-author. In addition to her substantive input to this article, Dr. Hauck also made significant editorial contributions.

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Greene, C., Everet, A, and Ebert, R. (1005). Management for effective performance. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Maxwell, J. (2003). Leadership by example is key to guiding a strong company. Houston Business Journal. Retrieved November 13, 2003 from Houston Business Journal Web Site: http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2003/10/06/smallb2.html

Schneider, B., Competence run amok. Retrieved November 13, 2003 from Hanigan Consulting Web Site: http://216.239.39.104/search?q=cache:frizEcXV4IUJ:www.haniganconsulting.com/competence_run_amok.pdf+%22Competence+culture%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

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