Title: Is development of organisational culture a path-dependent process?

Authors: Petri Helo, Tauno Kekale

Addresses: Industrial Management, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland. ' Industrial Management, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland

Abstract: In this paper, we review the idea of path-dependent processes and study the analogues to the development of organisational cultures and the managerial implications arising from this. We propose that culture creation is analogical to a path-dependent series of events that can be described with Polya-type process models. The graphical presentation of some hypothetical development paths is helpful in discussing some implications for management choices in culture change situations. Some cultures can be seen to be closer to each other, and changing from one to the other would be possible by incremental change, either by choosing to attempt to change the prevailing set of beliefs to something where the beliefs do not differ much. Alternatively, trends in environment can make cultures |drift| so that beliefs that are quite far away from each other can get closer to each other over time. It might be possible to wait for the optimum time for change to succeed. The main function of this paper is to act as the discussion opener in path-dependency in cultures, but we also briefly discuss the implications, as well as the main shortcomings of the approach and suggestions for further research.

Keywords: organisation culture; path dependency; innovation; learning; organisational change; culture creation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2006.008180

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2006 Vol.3 No.1, pp.63 - 76

Published online: 22 Nov 2005 *

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