Corporate Culture

Cultural change is not coming out of the starting blocks

Organizational cultural change is not coming out of the starting blocks – Culture change remains a permanent work site

What VW has been doing, since after the emissions scandal, is to try and get rid of the old unquestioning culture

Volkswagen’s drive to improve corporate culture has made zero progress in the view of a large number of its employees in Germany.

Almost two thirds of staff see “no improvement” in Volkswagen’s (VW) corporate culture almost two and a half years after the diesel emissions fraud was revealed:

Insgesamt nahmen 51.401 Arbeiter an der Riesen-Umfrage teil. Die Ergebnisse müssen für die Bosse alarmierend sein. Rund zwei Drittel der Beschäftigten hält die Arbeit des Vorstands für „nicht überzeugend“. Nur ein Drittel sieht in der Realität die von den Bossen versprochene „Verbesserung der Unternehmenskultur“ (Bild)

Cultural change is not coming out of the starting blocks:

Die interne Kommunikation benötigt Reformen, der Kulturwandel kommt nicht aus den Startlöchern, etliche Kolleginnen und Kollegen machen sich langfristig Sorgen, ob sie gesund in die Rente kommen. Und, für mich besonders alarmierend: Die große Mehrheit der Befragten fühlt sich auf dem Weg in die Zukunft unzureichend eingebunden – das darf nicht sein (VW-Intranet – Osterloh: Handelsblatt)

Group human resources boss Karlheinz Blessing, commissioned to lead the change in culture at VW, said the transformation needs more broadbased support to succeed:

We have been saying all along that a culture change cannot be implemented over the short term and takes time and is also not the work of an individual or of individual participants. All stakeholders are urged to bring about this culture change (Interview published internally at VW)

Organizational culture is a living organism

A strong culture changes and adapts to an organization’s strategy and business objectives. Employees in a strong culture are confident and empowered to play an active role in pushing the organization forward. A weak culture creates many obstacles and affects employee morale and impacts the bottom line. It can affect the very core of an organization.

Creating a new corporate culture after its emissions scandal takes time, as it requires radical changes to the German carmaker’s decades-old corporate culture and structure. How long will it take to establish a modern leadership culture at VW? Hard to say – but one thing’s for sure: It is an ongoing process, and it’s nothing that will happen automatically.

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Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

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