Organizational Culture Report
Write a 14-16 page (excluding charts, graphs) paper that diagnoses an organization's culture and then present a plan to change it to a culture that is more conducive to that of a learning organization.
The formal paper should include the following sections, which should be headings within the paper (with a Table of Contents):
I) Brief history and background of the organization or organizational subunit to be examined with a mission statement included.
II) Assessment of the current organizational culture with specific linkage to Schein's (including cultural levels), Cameron & Quinn's, and Senge's disc
III) Emphasis of the learning organization: Make the case for why an organizational cultural change is necessary or needs to be reinforced and what organizational aspects need development for the organization or organizational sub-unit to become a (stronger) "learning organization"
IV) Change or reinforcement plan: Given your assessment of the current organizational culture and the need for organizational cultural change or reinforcement, develop a plan to develop the culture to a "desired, attainable, and maintainable state." This should include: Max 6
(A) vision statement of the organization as a learning organization culture: what it needs to be like and why it needs to like that
(B) a "gap analysis" to determine which components need to be changed or reinforced and in what ways
(C) a plan to change or reinforce the organizational culture to that of a "learning organization" that includes methods, strategies, and timeline to make the changes needed.
(D) actions necessary within the organization to support, embed, and maintain the organizational learning cultural strategy. This should reflect linkage to the theories and models you present above.
(V) define how you will evaluate the success of your organizational culture development plan: include indices/metrics/criteria that you would use to measure its impact on the organizational culture.
This report should include a thorough analysis of the organization using the Cameron & Quinn model and Senge's five disciplines.
You are to develop a powerpoint presentation that summarizes the highlights of your report. This presentation should be no more than 12 slides presenting highlights of your report.
Atlanta Public Schools Background
Atlanta Public Schools is large school district serving over 47,000 students. The school
district employs thousands of teachers, support staff, and managerial staff. The organization
offers benefits to all employees who work at least 20 hours per week. In its mission statement
Atlanta Public Schools claims it strives to maintain high academic standards and high standards
for its educators and employees. Yet, in 2010, a cheating scandal in which teachers were urged
to alter test results was exposed through an investigation conducted by the state. Some reports
point the blame at teachers, who lacked integrity and worked only to achieve bonuses and high
salaries. Many teachers interviewed claim they were forced into taking such actions. One
interviewee claimed the school system was run like the mob (Toppo, 2011). Many teachers
responded that they feared for their jobs if they did not do what was necessary to keep test scores
high, regardless of student performance on tests.
Though the focus of the investigation was on test scores and cheating there were other
symptoms of a dysfunctional organization. Teachers received large bonuses if students achieved
higher test scores. It was also reported that teachers often belittled students in the classroom by
calling them names and by labeling them as unable to learn. This toxic culture allowed business
men and women who comprised The Blue Ribbon Commission, to protect, shield, and bury
Atlanta Public Schools' deceit all for the sake of economic development and the almighty dollar
(Joyce, 2011). The culture of the organization affects the community and the success or failure
of economic growth efforts. In this instance, the culture of deceit fooled the community, whose
members often voted for school levies, assuming the funding would improve schools and bring
about positive economic changes for the community.
Cameron and Quinn's Competing Values
The structure of the organization most resembles a hierarchy. This type of structure
serves a large organization well when decisions that affect the entire organization must be made
at a higher level. For example, policies regarding employment or related to students made at the
top levels may affect all staff or all students. This type of structure provides benefits of
improved coordination of procedures and policies (Edge & Remus, 1984). However,
disadvantages include individual sacrifice of needs for the good of the organization and lack of
autonomy for those at the lower end of the hierarchy. According to Cameron & Quinn's
competing values, the hierarchical structure is highly organized and designed to achieve
standardization throughout the organization (Tharpe, 2009). The other competing values,
market, create, and collaborate are not evident in discussion about the organizational culture
during the time of the investigation.
In a hierarchy those at the top level often convey expected behavior, if not explicitly
through words or verbal communication, through actions. The actions that conveyed a message
to teachers that test scores mattered above all else sent a strong message that encouraged
unethical behavior. Unfortunately, those at the top did not receive as much blame for teacher
behavior as teachers themselves. The school board sent a strong message that all staff members
involved or named in the cheating scandal should either resign immediately or they would be
fired. A hierarchical structure can be effective in an organization as large as Atlanta Public
Schools, if leaders send the right messages to those lower in the hierarchy. It can be a means of
encouraging system-wide ethical standards and of conveying organizational goals that everyone
can strive to achieve.
The mission statement on the human resource page of the organization's website
describes a goal of creating a "world class workplace" (Atlanta Public Schools Human Resource
page, 2011). However, the language is vague and there is no description to define a world class
workplace. The ethics portal of the website discusses the organization's movement toward
ethical standards and urges reporting of unethical behavior in the workplace. Again, the
definition of ethical and unethical behavior is not clearly defined. The website appears to be
promoting the organization publicly, though it lacks clarity.
Schein's Levels of Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is often conveyed at different levels. Schein (1984) describes
levels such as artifacts, values, and basic assumptions. At the highest level are artifacts, or
evidence of the culture that is visible. The high number of eraser markings on students' tests
is a visible sign that teachers may be behaving unethically. Large bonuses for educators based
on high test scores is another visible sign of what is important to the organization. The values
conveyed by those at the top level are evident when they stress to teachers and principles that
high test scores and academic achievement are more important than actual learning. At the basic
assumption level one can surmise that Atlanta Public Schools was more concerned about
appearance and improving the community at all costs, including the costs to students, who
received a less than optimal education.
The mission statement is vague about how it expects to achieve its goals. There is little
evidence that a plan exists at the top or visible level of organizational culture. Therefore, it may
be assumed that teachers and others responsible for administering education lack a well thought
out plan or guidelines in moving forward. The values level is open for broad interpretation, with
little concrete evidence of specific goals. The plan for ethical standards is somewhat clearer.
The Human Resource department has developed a program to educate new and existing
employees about what is considered ethical behavior. This is the visible level that shapes
However, the ethical portal comes from the Human Resource department. The organization's mission statement does not align with the HR department's ethical behavior training ...
The organizational culture reports are examined. An emphasis of the learning organization are determined.