Honour, culture & valuing change : research on local culture shift
Coutts, Daniel Stewart
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Assertions that organizational change initiatives experience high rates of failure suggests knowledge about how culture shifts is incomplete. Framed in the context of Operation HONOUR, the Canadian Armed Forces’ effort to eradicate inappropriate sexual behaviours, this overview summarizes an interdisciplinary action research project which explores how culture shifts during a deliberate workplace change initiative. Employing a six-step Competing Values Framework process and a mixed-model design, the dissertational research project’s methods include a bespoke differential approach to unpacking quantitative data which is presented as valuing. This approach includes administration of the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI © 2006, Kim Cameron), open and axial coding of participant working group materials, and email exit interviews. Building on theory incorporated from multiple branches of the academe, this exploratory research uses the lens of culture as something people do, as an enacted phenomenon, to arrive at several insights. Notably, while the imperative to enhance the capacity of workplace members to lead their own workplace culture shift remains important, the role leaders play in championing culture shift is reinforced. Several themes linked to what “good” looks like for a just and inclusive workplace emerge, along with dimensions usable for qualifying success and detractors that can undermine a culture shift initiative. The three parts of the dissertational portfolio are summarized: two manuscripts and a seminar aimed at enhancing practitioners’ and scholars’ capacity to lead, or be an ally to, shifting culture in the workplace. The main contributions of this research are the development of the valuing approach to measuring culture shift, the emergence of themes and insights useful to researchers and practitioners, demonstration of mixed-methods’ utility, and the addition of knowledge to a limited body of applied research that frames workplace culture as enacted.
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