This article examines the challenges of changing the culture within an organization

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, business administration, international business, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How do you describe culture?
  • What impact does culture have on an organization?

New Terminology:

Informal leaders, amorphous, strategic imperative, culture change

Materials Needed:

Six different coloured markers, flip chart paper

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson explores culture in an organization and gives students words with which to describe culture and an understanding of how to move culture forward

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Prepare the flip chart paper by writing the word CULTURE in the middle of each piece.
  2. Divide the class into groups of four to six. Distribute the colour markers so each group member has a different colour.
  3. Explain to the group that this is a type of brainstorming called Graffiti. There will be thinking time as well as time to write down ideas simultaneously on the flip chart paper. Have them turn the flip chart paper over and write their ideas related to culture. Allow two minutes for this task.
  4. Have each group leave their flip chart behind and move to another table, adding to the ideas on the flip chart in front of them. It is OK to write an idea that is already on the chart as this shows the importance of the idea.
  5. Continue the rotations until groups are back at their original flip chart.
  6. Allow five minutes for students to review what is on the flip chart.
  7. Ask them to arrange the ideas in five categories or fewer.
  8. Have each group share the categories and post them on the board.
  9. Distribute the article for reading.
  10. The article offers three subcomponents to culture: critical behaviours, informal leaders and cultural traits. Compare these to the categories the students came up with on the board. How are they the same? How are they different? Demonstrate the use of Venn diagram to show this.

Consolidation of Learning:

By means of a class discussion, have students describe the culture of their classroom and their school. How are they the same? How are they different? Have them use the categories of critical behaviours, cultural traits and informal leaders for their descriptions. In small groups, have students discuss the optimal culture and ideas for change.

Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

Students are able to describe the culture in the classroom and the school.

Confirming Activity:

Have students create a Venn diagram illustrating the similarities and differences between the cultures of their classroom and the school.  Ask them to share this with a friend or family member at home and to write a brief reflection on how to move the culture forward.