Organizational Culture:

Techniques Companies Use to Perpetuate or Change Beliefs and Values

NSIAD-92-105: Published: Feb 27, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO obtained views from experts in the private sector on techniques they use to change or perpetuate an organizational culture.

GAO found that: (1) experts agree that an organization's decision to change its culture is generally triggered by a specific event or situation and is a long-term effort that takes at least 5 to 10 years to complete; and (2) company officials believe that the two key techniques for a successful culture change are the top management's total commitment to the change and training that promotes and develops skills related to the company's desired values or beliefs. GAO also found that the organizations reviewed indicated that effecting successful cultural change requires a combination of many techniques, including: (1) distributing a written statement of values and beliefs; (2) creating a management style that reinforces the desired values and beliefs; (3) offering rewards, incentives, and promotions to encourage behavior that reinforces those beliefs; (4) holding company gatherings to discuss those beliefs; (5) developing an organizational structure that is compatible with those beliefs; (6) using systems, procedures, and processes to support organizational values; and (7) using stories, legends, myths, and slogans to communicate those values and beliefs.

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