It is an axiomatic fact that organizational culture and corporate strategy are of equal great significance for employers aiming at attaining competitive edge. Organizational culture can make or break corporate strategy, but a strong organizational culture would prove to be pointless whether not supportive of an effective and winning strategy. A clear line of sight must hence to be necessarily established between the two in order to ensure strategic cohesion and consistency, and secure organizational success.
Fostering an appropriate, suitable corporate culture and developing a potentially effective, winning, sustainable organizational strategy, notwithstanding, cannot of their own ensure employers the attainment of their intended objectives. Strategy definitely represents a complex and intricate organizational component, whose main difficulties are associated not only with its development, formulation or formation, but also with its implementation. Despite corporate culture plays a significant role in strategy implementation, the quality of execution is not indeed exclusively depending on and associated with this; the two components need thus to be considered separately. Yet, appropriate formulation and good execution have not to be regarded as mutually exclusive; in contrast, these definitely need to coexist. Effective formulation coupled with poor execution, like good execution combined with ineffective formulation will not enable an employer to obtain any positive result.
Table 1 – The strategy mix paradigm
All in all, it clearly emerges that it does indeed exist a strong relationship between corporate culture, strategy formulation and strategy execution. Nonetheless, the significance and worth of strategy execution and corporate culture risk being overshadowed by the lack of quality of strategy formulation. Whereas this has been developed with the aim of inadvertently taking the employer to the wrong place, organizational culture and strategy execution would finally prove to serve the wrong purpose.
Organizational success can be attained by employers only whether strategy execution is properly sustained by corporate culture; each component, nonetheless, plays a remarkable, fundamental role. In order for organizations to obtain the intended results all of these components need to work as a virtuous whole; employers need hence to do whatever they can to avert triggering a vicious circle in which organizational success may be hampered by any of these factors.
The guiding role definitely rests with strategy development, whose aim is essentially that of identifying and defining the business direction.
Strategy implementation is not actually concerned with strategy definition or alteration; the role it plays cannot be hence considered as a leading role. Notwithstanding, since execution can definitely be regarded as a decisive factor, which remarkably influences the final and practical outcome of strategy development, the role this plays in the process can be definitely regarded as influential.
Corporate culture does not indeed feature or hold any strategic relevancy either in that, albeit being of paramount importance for an organization, this is not concerned with the identification of the direction the employer should point in for this to attain competitive edge, but rather with the most suitable behaviour and approach which should be fostered within an organization to enable the employer to achieve its intended objectives. As such, the role played by corporate culture in the process can be deemed supportive; this helps and sustains the employer throughout the process and aims at enabling this to smoothly achieve its aim.
As discussed earlier, all of these components need to act and operate as part of a whole and need therefore to be aligned the one with the other in order to ensure and secure the business strategic cohesion and consistency. By reason of the importance this last feature assumes, its role can be considered as normative.
Table 2 – Key factor in organizational success
All of these components are or should in theory be under the employer control, but in practice this is not indeed invariably the case. The element mostly prone to spin out of the employer control is habitually represented by organizational culture. In some instances, corporate culture may indeed fail to yield the expected results and prove to not properly serve the employer cause by reason of the employer underestimating this factor or of this fostering a culture inconsistent with the desired objectives. The unconditional, genuine support of all the organization managers and executives can indeed help employer to avert this undesirable occurrence to arise.
Someone may argue that organizational strategy, by reason of the increased pace change occurs in the exogenous environment, might more often than not spin out of the employer control, too. This viewpoint can be actually considered well-founded; nonetheless, employers should invariably take control of their actions and most of all of the direction these want to go to. It is hardly imaginable that a business management might properly execute a strategy this can only retrospectively identify and foster the appropriate culture under these circumstances. Nowadays, the increasingly faster pace of change undeniably makes an impact on organizational strategy, but change has to be intended as an exogenous force exerting a considerable pressure on organizations, prompting thus employers and their management to constantly adapt to and anticipate it but not to submissively undergo it.
Taking for granted that an employer has identified and adopted the right strategy potentially enabling this to gain competitive advantage over its competitors, strategy execution and corporate culture gain a paramount importance for its effectual practical pursuance. In this instance, the right direction has been correctly identified by the employer; the successful attainment of the intended objectives hence exclusively relies on the execution phase in which culture definitely plays a crucial role.
Organizational success can be attained by employers only and only whether these focus and devote the required careful, constant attention to corporate culture and strategy implementation and execution. This may represent somewhat of a basic formula for organizational success, employers clearly need to take heed of many other components to complete the formula, but it is highly unlikely that organizational success may ever be successfully pursued whether these basic pillars have not been previously properly managed and addressed by employers.
Prior to develop and implement a plan of action aiming, for instance, at introducing some changes into their business or developing specific programmes with the intent of motivating and engaging individuals, employers should invariably ensure that all of these fundamental components have been properly reviewed and that the adjustments eventually necessary have been promptly made. The activities performed and the efforts made by employers to attain their intended objectives may otherwise risk resulting in a dismal failure, with the consequent wastage of all of the resources deployed by the organization to pursue their plans.
Longo, R., (2015), The Basic Pillars Underpinning Organizational Success; Milan: HR Professionals.