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The Project Culture

The Project Culture

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Published by: Daisy on Nov 17, 2008
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The project culture is discussed in a different context in Section 2.8.Culture is the set of refined behaviors that people have and strive to-ward in their society. In this section culture is defined as the synergisticset of shared ideas and beliefs that is associated with a way of life in theteam-driven enterprise. Some of the likely key cultural features to be foundin an organization that uses teams comes from:
The management leadership-and-follower style practiced by key man-agers and professionals
The example set by leaders of the organization
The attitudes displayed and communicated by key managers in theirleadership and management of the organization
The assumptions held and communicated by key managers and profes-sionals
The organizational plans, policies, procedures, rules, and strategies
The political, legal, social, technological, and economic systems withwhich the members of an organization interface
The perceived and/or actual performance characteristics of the organi-zation
The quality and quantity of the resources (human and nonhuman) con-sumed in the pursuit of the organization’s mission, objectives, goals, andstrategies
The knowledge, skills, and experiences of members of the organization
Communication patterns
Formal and informal roles. (Paraphrased from David I. Cleland,
Stra-tegic Management of Teams
(New York, NY: Wiley, 1996), p. 100).
Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.
8.1.1 Cultural Strength
A strong working culture is like magic. The organization believes andpractices a philosophy of creativity and innovation, facilitated by a partic-ipative leader and follower style. In addition, the following characteristicstend to exist:
As employees serve on teams, they welcome the opportunity to partic-ipate in influencing the organization’s purposes.
Employees find that their opinions are valued and they feel as if theyare being treated as thinking adults and key organizational members.
A strong feeling of interdependent relationships emerges among peoplefrom different functional entities and organizational levels.
An enlightened feeling of the acceptance of change in the organizationdevelops. Several strategies are required to enhance the team focus inthe management of change in the organization. These strategies include:
Enhancement of the organizational culture so that people at all levels,and in all specialties are encouraged to bring forth ideas for improve-ment in their areas of responsibilities.
Development of an organizational culture that seeks to abandon thatwhich has been successful through the continuous improvement of existing products, services, and processes.
Become a learning organization through explicit recognition that allorganizational members will have to retrain and relearn new technol-ogies and professional strategies to escape obsolescence.
Organizing the organization’s resources so that explicit opportunity isavailable to bring a team organizational focus to the development andimplementation of new organizational initiatives, that will bring forthnew products, services, and processes.
Providing a strategic management capability by which organizationalleadership is proactive in providing the resources, vision, and disci-plines to manage the future through the use of product and processprojects. (Paraphrased from David I. Cleland,
Strategic Management of Teams
(New York, NY: Wiley, 1996), p. 102)When the managers of an organization elect to use alternative teamsin its operational and strategic strategy, significant cultural changes willultimately come about. Empirical, practical, experience-based evidencesuggests that when alternative project teams are used the before-teams andafter-teams cultural characteristics look like those described in Tables 8.1and 8.2, respectively. There are more characteristics described in Table8.2 than in Table 8.1. The current fascination of using teams described inthe literature probably accounts for this.
Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.
8.3TABLE 8.1
Cultural Characteristics Before TeamsThere are formal rules and procedures to govern individual behavior.There is hierarchical managerial authority.There are narrow definitions of work responsibility.There is a bureaucratic culture.Change comes about through top-level-directed programsThere are more organizational levels.Leadership comes out of the organizational hierarchy.Reorganizations come from the top.Individual efficiency and effectiveness are paramount.Authority and responsibility flow within the hierarchy.There is a command-and-control mentality.There is considerable risk of over-managing.Organizational and system boundaries are preserved.There is individual responsibility for decisions.The organization is non-team oriented.There is individual thinking.There is blurred organizational identification.Individuals are reluctant to assume additional responsibility.Individuals identify primarily with individual goals.People follow their leader.People feel a limited degree of involvement.People are given responsibility.People are managed.Managers assume responsibility for execution of the management functions(Planning, organizing, motivation, leadership, and control).Managers assume responsibility for quality.Managers are responsible for the performance of their subordinates.Managers make the decisions.People are reluctant to seek additional responsibility.Managers supervise.There is limited participation by people in the affairs of the organization thataffect them.The titles of superiors and subordinates reflect the culture.There is limited sharing of organizational results.Rewards are based on individual performance.Problems are owned primarily by the managers.People tend to withhold their opinions until the manager gives his or her opinion.Responsibility for strategic decisions rests primarily with the managers.Project management is viewed as a special case of management.People are reluctant to change because they usually have little participation in thedevelopment of the rationale for the change, the selection of the strategies tobring about the change, or in the execution of change strategies.
David I. Cleland,
Strategic Management of Teams
(John Wiley and Sons, NewYork, NY, 1996), p. l06
Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

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