THE CHANGING NATURE OF THE WORKPLACE: THE DYNAMICS OF ORGANIZATIONAL, INDUSTRY, AND NATIONAL CULTURES
Erez, M., Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Change, is the most significant characteristic of today's global work environment. This paper takes a multi-level approach for analyzing the cultural changes at the organizational, industry, and national levels. At the organizational level, we witness a shift from an organizational culture that emphasizes productivity, to one emphasizing quality, and more recently, to a culture that facilitates innovation and change. At the industry level, cultural values that facilitate change, such as uncertainty avoidance, performance orientation, and future time orientation, characterize the fast growing industries, as compared to the more traditional ones. At the national level, international mergers and acquisitions, as well as the growing number of multinational companies bring into focus the cultural variation and the need for cultural integration. The present paper summarizes three empirical studies, conducted by the author and her colleagues, which examined the relationships between culture and change: The first one is a qualitative field study, analyzing the process of cultural integration in three cases of international mergers and acquisitions. The second study focused on the industry level, looking at the relationships between industry growth rate and cultural values. The third is a lab experiment, testing the effect of the pay-off system on changes in behavioral choices: a change from behaviors that were consistent with personal values to inconsistent ones. The main findings of these three studies will be presented. The theoretical and practical implications of these studies for the dynamic interplay between culture and change at different levels of analysis will be discussed.