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2015-03-06

Red Onion Squad – Cultural Change
Group Members
Chris Grabski
Anita Parboji
Derek Riel
Pierre Michaud
Vanessa Malach
Colin Legasse

Implementing Cultural Change
When given the task to implement cultural change to an organization we were familiar
group, my group chose to go with one of my (Chris Grabski) previous jobs at a musical
education center. I was a guitar teacher at an establishment in North Kildonan throughout high
school.
The broad problem with the culture was that it felt more like business than a school.
Although it is a business, to the staff and students, it should feel like a place of learning.
Specifically, the owners led the culture in this direction by prioritizing profits above student and
staff satisfaction. The teachers’ cheques were withheld until every one of their students had
paid at the end of the month; the teachers were also responsible for harassing the students for
the payment, which should have been a task delegated to someone else.
Twice a year, the organization held recitals: teachers would work with their students to
develop a piece to perform. Although the students were not required to participate, they were
strongly encouraged. This would be a terrific example of a ceremony or ritual except that the
true purpose of the recitals was to critique the teachers, not to educate the students. After the

2015-03-06

recitals we would have meetings where teachers would get praised or condemned based on
their students’ performance. This caused the teachers to strongly influence the piece of choice
of their students in favour of the teacher. The organization had no reward system for the
teachers or the students of any kind for any achievements or progresses. Employees were
chosen on musical ability solely and were expected to learn to teach as they progressed which
created frustration almost immediately. There was no Christmas party, nor were there any staff
oriented ceremonies that I can think of.
The only social interaction between teachers was a common discontent with the
organization. The dress code was business casual for the teachers, unless the boss thought you
had a “rockstar” look about you, in which case the code did not apply. The rooms were
decorated to positively affect the culture once they renovated in my last year, but were grey,
plain, and abysmal before that. There really was no formality with management
In conclusion, the culture was terribly negative. The establishment was solely
performance driven with poor management and without reward. The students and teachers
were disgruntled and normally developed poor relationships. My job was to keep the student
coming back, and nothing else; I personally felt like I was ripping the students off at some
points.