Northouse (2012) defines culture as “the learned beliefs, values, rules, norms, symbols, and traditions that are common to a group of people.” (Kindle Locations 7160-7161) Any culture has the potential for change and often times it is the collective mindset of most to be in an environment of purpose, security, and acceptance, which is a part of the servant leadership model introduced by Greenleaf. (Northouse, 2013, Kindle Locations 7965-7967) If a servant leader is in place, or an existing leader adopts a servant leader approach, a set culture can become moldable through cultural change that provides the purpose, security and acceptance desired. If followers have their personal needs being met by leadership, it will allow them to open up to other cultural changes that are organization focused. Through the implementation of a servant leadership model, management stops being hierarchical flowing from the top downward, but instead switches to a collaborative model including followers at different levels to be a part of the process of change. (Edwards, 2014, p. 343)
In regards to having to choose between what is best for the organization and what is best for the followers, it is necessary to clarify how the two are linked. What is best for the organization is ultimately what is best for the followers, and the ability for an organization to change is related to it’s long term existence, which is ultimately in the follower’s best interest. (Nasir, 2014, p. 183) Necessary vision casting coupled with follower collaboration will make this reality more evident, and will also raise buy-in from the followers. Follower buy-in can result in an abandonment of set cultural mindsets. It is not necessary to choose between follower and organization, but rather with a servant leader approach, both can be served and result in a healthier overall culture.
Edwards, M., Penlington, C., Kalidasan, V., & Kelly, T. (2014). PROFESSIONAL ISSUES. Culture change, leadership and the grass-roots workforce. Clinical Medicine, 14(4), 342–344.
Nasir, H. M., Abbas, A. F., & Zafar, F. (2014). Four Factors to Influence Organization & Employee Commitment to Change within Pakistan. International Journal of Information, Business & Management, 6(4), 183–200.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.