LibraryBusinessBusiness Management & Administration

Organisational Culture

Creating the Influence Needed for Strategic Success

by Richard J. Black

Paperback e-Book PDF
Institution: Henley Management College
Advisor(s): Trevor Long
Degree: MBA
Year: 2003
Volume: 108 pages
ISBN-10: 158112211X
ISBN-13: 9781581122114


The strategy team have technology ideas and frameworks that represent the best body of knowledge for creating real business value from technology, but only other teams not the strategy team can create the value, by broadly completing the strategy team s ideas. The delivery teams often ignore the ideas. Sometimes real conflict emerges. It feels like the other teams think differently in a deeply rooted way. Could differences in organisational culture be to blame?

This dissertation examines the organisational culture perceived within BP's energy trading technology team known as Integrated Supply and Trading Digital Business (ISTDB). The focus is on the Strategy and Architecture team (S&A) who are responsible for assuring the long-term viability of technology delivered to the business by setting and enforcing technology standards with the technology delivery teams (Regional Businesses or RBs). S&A relies on influence and persuasion to build compliance with the standards as it does not have line management responsibility for the other teams.

S&A s long-term goals conflict with RBs short-term business imperatives. This dilemma can bring S&A and RBs into dispute because of timescale pressures, unknown costs and differing appetites for new capabilities. This dissertation examines whether the cause of this conflict is differences in organisational culture.

The fieldwork collects several primary data sources. Semi-structured interviews analyse the nature of the conflict and a culture model is used to identify the types of organisational culture perceived within different teams.

Issues addressed in this research include: how to identify organisational culture differences; how to discover if unconscious behaviour differences are contributing to conflict; and what are the best practices for influencing and persuading others.

This research concludes the perception of organisational culture is different between S&A and the RBs, and that it is a cause of conflict. The research also identifies that perceived organisational culture in ISTDB technology team as a whole is non-cohesive and not well aligned with the BP business strategy.This is a suboptimal arrangement for value creation. The author recommends both short-term and long-term shifts in working practices to correct this imbalance. The changes include a new emphasis on communications, new personnel hiring procedures and cross-cultural awareness training.

These changes will improve working practices and refocus the organisational culture. Increasing cultural coherence between the teams in this way will reduce conflict and lead to higher value creation by the teams.