Bibliographic Information

The culture cycle : how to shape the unseen force that transforms performance

James Heskett

Pearson Education, c2012

  • : pbk

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Reprint. Originally published: Upper Saddle River, N.J. : FT Press, c2012

"This product is printed digitally on demand. This book is the paperback version of an original hardcover book"--T.p. verso

Includes bibliographical references (p. 339-360) and index

Description and Table of Contents


The contribution of culture to organizational performance is substantial and quantifiable. In The Culture Cycle, renowned thought leader James Heskett demonstrates how an effective culture can account for 20-30% of the differential in performance compared with "culturally unremarkable" competitors. Drawing on decades of field research and dozens of case studies, Heskett introduces a powerful conceptual framework for managing culture, and shows it at work in a real-world setting. Heskett's "culture cycle" identifies cause-and-effect relationships that are crucial to shaping effective cultures, and demonstrates how to calculate culture's economic value through "Four Rs": referrals, retention, returns to labor, and relationships. This book: Explains how culture evolves, can be shaped and sustained, and serve as the organization's "internal brand." Shows how culture can promote innovation and survival in tough times. Guides leaders in linking culture to strategy and managing forces that challenge it. Shows how to credibly quantify culture's impact on performance, productivity, and profits. Clarifies culture's unique role in mission-driven organizations. A follow-up to the classic Corporate Culture and Performance (authored by Heskett and John Kotter), this is the next indispensable book on organizational culture. "Heskett (emer., Harvard Business School) provides an exhaustive examination of corporate policies, practices, and behaviors in organizations." Summing Up: Recommended. Reprinted with permission from CHOICE, copyright by the American Library Association.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments x About the Author xii Introduction 1 Two Visits, One Story 3 Questions to Be Addressed 12 How This Book Is Organized 13 Chapter 1 A Crisis in Organization Culture? 15 What Culture Is and Isn't 17 Stealth Weapon or Humanizing Effort? 17 The Development of Interest in Organization Culture 19 The Nature of an Organization's Culture 22 Culture and the Workplace 35 Culture and the Long-Term Erosion of Job Satisfaction 38 Chapter 2 Culture as "Know How" 41 ING Direct: Shaping a Culture 41 Culture and Purpose ("Know Why") 45 Culture and Strategy ("Know What, When, Where") 46 Culture and Execution ("Know Who") 46 How Successful Managers View the Importance of Culture 48 Culture in the Context of Purpose, Strategy, and Execution 49 Chapter 3 Culture: A Multi-edged Sword 55 Nature and Results of the 1992 Study 59 Strong Cultures Affect Performance 60 Strength of Culture Is Not Correlated with Good Performance 61 Adaptability Keys Long-Term Success 61 The Question of Fit 62 The Role of Leadership 65 Chapter 4 Culture in an Organization's Life Cycle 69 How Cultures Are Formed 69 The Process of Culture Formation 72 How Cultures Are Articulated and Institutionalized 72 How Cultures Are Diluted 75 Enemies of an Effective Culture 77 How Cultures Are Renewed 88 Reinforcing Effective Cultures 90 Chapter 5 Economics of Culture: The "Four Rs" 95 Economic Advantages of an Effective Culture: The "Four Rs" 97 Culture Impact Model 114 Several Caveats 114 Chapter 6 The Culture Cycle: Measuring Effectiveness 119 USAA: Effectiveness Through Trust 121 Nucor Steel: A Study in Learning, Accountability, Self-Direction, and Innovation 124 Toyota and the Importance of Alignment and Agility 128 Measuring a Culture's Strength 132 Measuring a Culture's Health: The Culture Cycle 134 Measuring a Culture's Fit 146 Caveats 147 Chapter 7 The Four R Model: A Field Test 151 The Setting: RTL, Inc. 151 The Research and Findings 152 The Blind Results 156 Blind Result Comparisons 158 Caveats Regarding the Blind Estimates 159 Comparisons of Culture Cycle Elements 160 Management's Interpretation of What Happened 164 Conclusions 165 Chapter 8 Culture and Innovation 169 The Culture Cycle and 3M Innovation 172 Levels of Innovation 174 Adaptability and Innovation 179 Value "Clusters" That Foster Innovation 179 Innovation "Value Clusters" at Apple 187 Chapter 9 Culture and Adversity 197 Adversity and Response at Intuit 197 Adversity and Response at BP 200 9/11 and the Southwest Airlines Response 203 Adversity and Response at Goldman Sachs 204 So What? 209 The Fit Between Culture, Leadership Style, and the Nature of Adversity 210 How Cultures Help and Hurt in Times of Adversity 212 Culture as a "Filter" Between Adversity and Performance 214 Chapter 10 Subcultures and Global Strategies 219 Enter the Culturalists 221 Global Management Challenges from Cultural Differences 223 What Do These Vignettes Suggest? 231 The Selection of Leaders 239 Managing the Relationship Between Headquarters and Subsidiaries 241 Organizing, Coordinating, and Controlling Effort 243 Implications for Subcultures in General 245 Chapter 11 Mission-Driven Organizations: Special Challenges 251 Supergrowth 251 Loss of Focus: "Mission Creep" 253 Making a Large Organization Seem Small 255 Deploying Human Resources: The Challenge of Volunteer Labor 255 Measuring and Rewarding Effectiveness Among an Organization's Subcultures 257 Coordinating Efforts with Other Mission-Driven Organizations 259 Managing Board and Leadership Conflicts Concerning Basic Assumptions 260 Controlling Zealous Behavior 263 Chapter 12 Dealing with Forces That Challenge Organization Cultures Today 267 Information and Communications Technology 268 Increasing Emphasis on Transparency 270 New Generations of Employees 272 Team-Based Work 276 Employment and Deployment Strategies 277 The Rise of Free Agency 281 The Psychological Shrinking of the World 281 Chapter 13 Leading Culture Change 285 How Do You Know Change Is Needed? 288 Monitoring Links in the Culture Cycle: RTL, Inc. Revisited 289 Changing a Culture 297 Sustaining Culture Change 305 Conclusions 309 The Role of the Leader in Reshaping Culture 310 Chapter 14 Answers and Questions 317 Characteristics of Effective Cultures 318 Economic Outcomes: Profit and Satisfied Stakeholders 320 Behavioral Outcomes: Great Places to Work 320 Some Final Thoughts 322 Appendix A Sample Questions for Measuring the Strength and Health of a Culture 325 Appendix B Four R Assumptions and Computations 329 Appendix C Complete Results of Employee Surveys, 2009 and 2010, for Three RTL, Inc. Offices 333 Endnotes 339 Index 361

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