Every organization worldwide carries a unique and identifiable culture. According to Cameron (1999), culture is an organization’s reflection of the values, dominant leadership styles, language, symbols, procedures and routines, and success definitions that make a given organization unique. (p.15) Culture is the foundation of social order that governs how individuals in a given group operate. (Schein, 2010, p.3) This is what makes organizational culture so complex (Hultman, 2001, Kindle Location 461-462)
Understanding organizational culture is challenging enough, making merging two organizational cultures a herculean feat to attempt. For ministry entities, the intention of ministry of both organizations may be based in the same biblical passages, the context of cultures play a significant role in how those scriptures are ultimately lived out, while the internal microcultures of each organization can make accomplishing ministry outcomes elusive. In order for such an endeavor to be successful, leadership must consider intentional steps of cultural integration.
Using a modified version of Schein’s (2010) rapid deciphering culture assessment, leaders can successfully navigate two organizations with differing cultures into one cohesive existence. Initially, leadership identifies the artifacts of both organizations that inform members “what is going on” (Schein, p.320). Next, leaders identify espoused values of each organization, clarifying the “why’s” that govern behavior. (Schein, p.320) Third, identify underlying values held be each organization. Next, leadership will need to identify the cultural elements that will aid or hinder in the merger. This step is vital; out of comes the strategic plan to be executed for a future of successful existence for the merged organization. (Schein, p. 322) Finally, craft and implement a strategic plan that celebrates the shared cultural elements, preserves some cultural identifiable elements for each organization, and establishes elements that identify the new, merged, organization.
Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (2011). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework (3 edition.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Hultman, K. (2001). Balancing Individual and Organizational Values: Walking the Tightrope to Success. Wiley.
Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.