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Change in
Change in Romanian Romanian
organizations: a management organizations
culture approach
747
Maria Viorica Grigoruţă
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iaşi, România

Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify means and opportunities available to managers in
Romanian companies in order to successfully undergo the process of integration in the European
Union, by accepting the cultural diversity in the global organization in the twenty-first century.
Design/methodology/approach – The objectives have in view the identification of the
characteristics of change in Romanian companies by means of the organizational culture, the
development of organizational culture in an unstable, changing environment and the identification of
the present values and of those desired by the Romanian employees as managers or subordinates. The
practical research took place by means of the questionnaire and the interview used for 26 managers
with hierarchical positions in various companies in the city of Iasi. During their careers, they attended
at least one “organizational development” course, they used questionnaires for 6 subordinates and are
in the stage of research for the processes of product change in the management activities of the
organization from the perspective of management culture.
Findings – In the end, the observations were made on 84 valid questionnaires and they allowed for
the discovery of the ways of understanding and expression of the dimensions of organizational culture
at the present moment and of the future level desired by the employees, in their relations with their
co-workers and with the managers in the analysed companies.
Research limitations/implications – The way it was performed, the research allows for a series of
common conclusions related to the way in which the management activity is currently conducted,
especially in the Romanian companies which functioned under the authority of the state until 1990 and
have preserved a series of traditional management mechanisms. Considering the evolution of the
Romanian society, the steps that will be taken in knowing and applying the new tendencies and
dimensions of management and organizational and individual development, the research will continue
in the future, aiming at making suggestions regarding the adjustment capacity of Romanian
companies, relating to the organizational culture, among others.
Practical implications – In the organizations which were analysed for the research, the paper
identified a preoccupation for the aspects connected to the dimensions of organizational culture and an
orientation towards individual and organizational change concerning the “acceptance” of a new
system of values.
Originality/value – The choice of the subjects and the conception of the system of values of the
organizational culture led to a certain degree of originality of our research, allowing for the offering of
necessary information and resources to the interested parties, as well as for the opening of future ways
of analysing the change processes which will occur in the management of Romanian companies.
Keywords Organizational change, Organizational culture, European Union, Culture, Romania
Paper type Research paper

Journal of Organizational Change


1. Introduction Management
Vol. 19 No. 6, 2006
Organizational culture develops and manifests itself differently in different pp. 747-752
organizations. One cannot say that one culture is better than another just that it q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0953-4814
differs in certain aspects. There is no ideal culture, only a good culture, appropriate to DOI 10.1108/09534810610708396
JOCM the organization. This means there cannot be a universal recipe for managing the
19,6 culture of any organization, although there are certain approaches.
Culture management refers to the implementation, the refreshment of the existing
culture of an organization or the change of an obsolete culture. The approach of
organizational culture is be characterized by several general considerations.
Considering the previously mentioned aspects, we can conclude that culture
748 management is an analysis and diagnosis problem, followed by the managers’ carrying
out a series of adequate interventions, aimed at transforming the organization.

2. Theoretical basis
2.1 Defining organizational culture
Peters and Waterman’s (1982) work, In Search of Excellence, uses the term corporate
culture, invented in the 1970s. As soon as organizational culture became a fashionable
subject, at the end of the 1980s, the management literature also popularized the concept
of excellence, as the common way in which the members of an organization think, act
and feel (Hofstede, 1996, p. 34).
According to the two academics, excellence, superimposes a strong organizational
culture. An extremely simple definition is presented by T.E. Deal: the organizational
culture is the way things take place in an organization. (Bonciu, 2000, p. 79).
Although based on a series of values characteristic to a national culture,
organizational culture is made of practices, behaviors and attitudes defined in relation
with a series of concrete situations. (Mereuţă et al., 1998, p. 24). Even if the use of the
term culture both for nations and for organizations suggests the two kinds of culture
are identical, they are different (Hofstede, 1996, p. 209).
Simion Mehedinţi identifies two types of culture: organic and inorganic.
Culture is a sum of presuppositions about the way the world works. It represents a
set more or less coherent, more or less articulate, of values, organizational behaviors
and practices and of orientation of the organizational behavior.
Johns (1998, p. 227) considers that at an informal level organizational culture can be
understood as the style, atmosphere or personality of an organization. It includes the
shared beliefs, values and hypotheses existing in an organization.

2.2 Analysis and diagnosis of organizational culture


Schein (1987, p. 198) suggested the most powerful mechanisms to implement and
refresh an organization’s culture are:
.
what managers seek, appraise and control;
.
managerial reactions to critical incidents;
.
deliberate role modeling; and
.
fair rewarding and promotion criteria.

Since, cultures develop over a long time, and are usually deeply rooted, they are also
difficult to change. When in the organization there is a weak or weakly supported
culture, this presents the opportunity for change. It is hard to for people change
attitudes and long held conceptions. All managers can do is to help facilitate
behavioral change to reduce the dysfunctional elements in a culture and introduce
functional ones.
Organizational culture has history and structure, and that is how it can remain Change in
unchanged for a long time despite the coming and going of an employees. It is born out Romanian
of the experience of the situations when internal and external pressures acting on the
organization are acted on. Culture is an integral part of the process of selecting organizations
personal options. It influences what the organization feels, its concerns and its ability
to deal with problems. Organizational culture is a force that allowed a series of large
companies, like IBM, Delta Airlines, Kodak, British Airways to become successful 749
corporations. Culture analysis and management action diagnosis must take place on
the permanent basis of observing and studying the behavior that indicates the
prevailing norms and values of a society.

2.3 The role of the specialist in human resource management


One can distinguish the role of the human resource specialist in supporting and
developing the culture management within the organization. The human resource
specialist occupies an advantageous position to analyze the existing culture and to
produce diagnoses for top management. They can advise managers regarding the
setting of the values expected by the employees, the way these values can be
communicated to the employees and the way in which behaviors can be changed in
order to fit the modified values.
One extremely important aspect is that the human resource specialist can project
and help implement the change programs, especially those involving education and
training, performance management and even initiatives of reward management. In
many organizations, the role of the human resource specialists covers the internal
consulting regarding the culture management problems, as well as the introduction of
new human resource management systems. On a global level, external consultants are
still frequently used, since they have a detached, objective opinion, but they operate as
part of a team made of management specialists and human resource specialists and not
as independent individuals.

2.4 Consulting methods in support of culture management


As soon as the elements of implementing, refreshing or changing the organizational
culture are set, those who facilitate the culture management program will use consulting
methods for these processes. Schein (1987, p. 98) claims process consultancy,
suggesting either external consultancy or internal human resource management
specialists.
The consultancy of the process of implementation, refreshment or change of the
organizational culture supposes considerable abilities. It has to set relations with
management on all levels. The human resource expert, considered consultant during
this period, must observe and analyze the ongoing processes in the organization and to
work, to listen to the groups and consult them.

3. Methods and results


To support the above theoretical approach, we did a practical study on series of 26
managers occupying different hierarchical positions in the company Antibiotice S.A.,
Iaşi. The managers, most of whom attended a professional training course named
organizational culture development, were asked to complete questionnaire followed by
giving this questionaire to six of their colleagues. We recieved 84 usable questionnaires.
JOCM All the subjects were asked to specify:
19,6 .
the dominant values within the organizational culture;
.
the strong and the weak points of the organizational culture; and
.
what rapid changes should be done in order to exploit the strong points or to
improve the weak points.
750 In the structure of the questionnaire we listed from the beginning a series of 22 values
of the organizational culture which may become manifest within the organization and
the respondents were asked to select five of these values that they consider to be shared
and used most often, describing both the present situation and the refreshed situation
they would want in 4-5 years. The employees’ answers were then processed and
presented.

4. Discussions
Organizational culture is the basis on which a company’s existence is articulated. In the
Romanian experience after 1990 some companies started vigorously, but on their way
they began to slow the rhythm, and others climbed step by step the way of the success.
After a long period when in Romania the phrase – it works anyway became deeply
rooted, the companies with a long tradition adopted the – it does not work like this
anymore.
The managers who understood this began to build a new organizational culture.
Within the company SC Antibiotice S.A. there is a harmonious and balanced mixture of
the tradition of medicine producer and the orientation towards continuous innovation,
towards improved procedures and organizational change.
This is how it became obvious that under the present situation many managers and
subordinates respect the order and discipline, are interested in assuming responsibility
for their actions or decisions, consider quality as very important, show concern for
clients’ satisfaction and think that good results are achieved by observing procedures.
In a future projection of the organiszational culture values we notice a reversal of
the value hierarchy desired by the employees of Antibiotice. S.A. They place first the
orientation towards continuous innovation, towards improved procedures, the fair
appraisal of individual performances and merit recognition, stimulating team work
and they pay a minimum attention to the precise execution of superiors’ orders and to
mutual support.
It is difficult to achieve a general comparison between the Romanian management
and the European one, from the perspective of transformation dynamics, because it is
extremely clearly defined by the business environment.
The strong points of the researched organization’s management are good
knowledge of the local, internal and international business environment, the existence
of good training, the experience of the managers, the employee’s managers’ ability to
make effective decisions and efforts to adapt to the EU demands.
The identified weak points were: the top management’s reluctance to instruction,
the lack of knowledge of managerial theory and foreign languages, the absence of
effective training, the lack of communication, organizing deficiencies and the
reluctance to using the new market study methods.
The identified weak points may be cleared by: modifying the tax legislation
affecting the business environment, constant improvement, the ministry’s elaborating
sector strategies and supporting successful companies. When a company sends its Change in
employees to a professional training course, it does so in order to have better prepared Romanian
people, who will refine their abilities and discover new skills. If when coming back into
the company, the employee sees that he cannot use the acquired knowledge or that he organizations
is refused the opportunity of achieving performance, there is the risk of his leaving.

5. Conclusions 751
We consider that any one or more of the following approaches can be used to support
the management of organizational culture:
.
the mission details must be in accordance with explicitly stated values;
.
workshops that involve people discussing the new values and behaviors and
their practicing;
.
educational and improvement programs leading to acquiring new knowledge
and abilities; and
.
performance management programs that ensure appropriate placement
appraisals and awards supporting and sanctioning the changed values.

These kinds of programs can be used not only to change, but also to refresh a certain
culture. Ideally, they are practiced at the level of the whole organization. Operational
managers can have a major contribution, first of all by understanding their culture and
then becoming involved as much as possible in setting the purposes and the
constituents of a culture management program and, lastly, by developing it in their
own team, replacing and refreshing the system of organizational values at the level of
the entire department.

References
Bonciu, C. (2000), Instrumente Manageriale Psihosociologice, Editura ALL Beck, Bucureşti.
Hofstede, G. (1996), “Managementul structurilor multiculturale”, Software-ul Gândirii, Editura
Economică, Bucureşti.
Johns, G. (1998), Comportament Organizaţional, Editura Economică, Bucureşti.
Mereuţă, C., Pop, L., Vlaicu, C. and Pop, L. (1998), “Culturi organizaţionale ı̂n spaţiul românesc”,
Valori şi Profiluri Dominante, Editura FIMAN, Bucureşti.
Peters, T. and Waterman, R. (1982), Search of Excellence, Harper & Row, New York, NY.
Schein, E.H. (1985), Organizational Culture and Leadership, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.

Further reading
Armstrong, M. (1987), “Human resource management: a case of the emperor’s new clothes?”,
Personnel Management, August.
Atkinson, J. (1984), “Manpower strategies for flexible organizations”, Personnel Management,
August.
Beattie, D.F. and Tampoe, M.K. (1990), “Human resource planning for ICL”, Long Range
Planning, Vol. 23 No. 1.
Beer, M. and Spector, B. (1985), “Corporate transformations in human resource management”, in
Walton, R.E. and Lawrence, P.R. (Eds), HRR Trends and Challenges, Harvard Business
School Press, Boston, MA.
JOCM Beer, M., Eisenstat, R.A. and Spector, B. (1990), “Why change programs don’t produce change”,
Harvard Business Review, November/December.
19,6 Drucker, P.F. (1988), “The coming of the new organization”, Harvard Business Review,
January/February.
Guest, D.E. (1989), “Personnel and HRM: can you tell the difference?”, Personnel Management,
January.
752 Guest, D.E. (1990), “Human resource management and the American dream”, Journal of
Management Studies, p. 27.
Mehedinţi, S. (1986), Cultură şi Civilizaţie, Editura Junimea, Iaşi.
Mintzberg, H. (1973), The Nature of Managerial Work, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
Pascale, R.T. and Athos, A.G. (1981), The Art of Japanese Management, Simon & Schuster,
New York, NY.
Peters, T. (1988), Thriving on Chaos, Macmillan, London.
Peters, T. and Austin, N. (1985), A Passion for Excellence, Collins, Glasgow.
Pettigrew, A. and Whipp, R. (1991), Managing Change for Competitive Success, Blackwell,
Oxford.
Porter, M. (1985), Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance,
The Free Press, New York, NY.

Corresponding author
Maria Viorica Grigoruţă can be contacted at: vio.grigoruta@gmail.com

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