Leading and Managing Engineering and Technology ” Book 3: Building a Culture that Develops Leaders and Managers gives readers a glimpse of the basics of organizational culture and research; examines the organizational unit culture; explains how to build a leadership culture; and highlights a case study–the IBM Silverlake Project.
Written by Gerard H. (Gus) Gaynor, IEEE Life Fellow and retired 3M director of engineering, this e-book explores building a business culture that develops leaders and mangers in an organization by defining the organization’s culture.
Gaynor writes that “while the organization’s defined and desired culture provides direction, it is implemented by managers and Individual Professional Contributors (IPCs) working in the major organizational units, projects, teams and task forces in the many interrelated disciplines.”
Further, he says the organizational culture includes, among others, observing shared values, beliefs, rituals, and other artifacts that make up the non-quantifiable assets and liabilities of an organization. Gaynor shares: “These factors define the environment in which employees interact with their internal and external colleagues and meet their obligations.”
The culture of the organization affects its performance. Many organizations, with different cultures, have merged and failed. It has had a negative impact on the success of many businesses and companies. Gaynor studies Hewlett Packard and Digital Equipment as examples of negative impact. “Hewlett Packard,” he writes, “originally an innovative culture, merged with Digital Equipment, and went from an innovative culture that provided freedom to innovate–to an undefined culture that, to this day, struggles to make progress.”
Gaynor takes the readers through the years, as he explains the social culture of an organization. He describes the Traditionalist worker, which he wrote more about in Book 2, Developing Leaders and Mangers, as well as Baby Boomers, Gen X and GEN Y workers. Further, he expounds on the effects each has on organizational culture. Gaynor quotes a portion of Amanda Bennett’s article “Broken Bonds,” describing the average middle manager:
Take care of business and we’ll take care of you. You don’t have to be a star; just be faithful, obedient and moderately competent, and this will be your home for as long as you want to stay. We may have to lay off blue-collar workers now and then–and even cut off some heads at the very top, but unless we are in the deepest kind of trouble, you will remain on the payroll. You are family.
“Organizational cultures come from a defined organizational philosophy, established by the organization’s founders, or it may just happen,” writes Gaynor, “In our current business and economic environment, organizational culture takes on much less significance when executive positions are most often filled by individuals with no experience or association with the business; these executives have no direct knowledge of the organization’s values, beliefs, rituals and heroes.”
Gaynor again examines Hewlett Packard–sharing the many CEO changes that took place after it merged with Digital Equipment.
He also shares that “Changing a culture requires an understanding of the current culture; how it developed and sustained itself over the years; a flexible plan and the determination and will to make it happen. It requires finding the right people; supporting them with the required education; giving them opportunities to demonstrate leadership; and making available the required resources.”
Other e-books in this series include: Book 1: Perspectives on Leading and Managing; and Book 2: Developing Leaders and Mangers.
Leading and Managing Engineering and Technology ” Book 3: Building a Culture that Develops Leaders and Managers can be downloaded at www.ieeeusa.org/communications/ebooks for the IEEE Member price: $7.99. Non-member price is $9.99.
And Book 4: What it Takes to Be a Leader, will finish off this series on leading and managing in engineering and technology.
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