There is a nice piece about the strength of organizational culture in the Sloan Management Review. Researchers looked at “spinoff” companies to see if they could measure corporate culture and whether the spinoff companies had cultures that were different from the parent companies. They concluded that most of the spinoff companies looked remarkably similar to the parents (not a shocker). Interestingly, the cultures were similar even when the spinoff brought in a new CEO. Think about this the next time you are brought in to do a “turnaround.” According to the researcher:
Even if [senior managers] recognize there is something about firm behavior that is not the way they’d like it to be, they have to respect the fact that the shared norms, beliefs, and values of different employees will take a long time to change.
You can make the change, but it will take time, and constant effort. A memo to all staff isn’t going to cut it.