RDM/RDF and cultural changes in an organisation.

Result directed management is not a change of the organizational culture in itself. It is a management instrument that consists of explicit defining behaviour and results. If managers have the ability to use that instument, managing changes in organizational culture becomes a possibility.

'Culture' is a very ancient word with lots of definitions. For this article we keep ourselves to Hofstede's (1) definition of organizational culture, which amounts to: " the collective mental programming of the members and stakeholders of an organization, distinguishing people in that organization from people in other organizations"

Changes in organizational culture are measurable with standard methods of social research. One simply looks for changes in attitudes in the organization. It becomes perceptible in employee behaviour. Behaviour can be measured and objectively assessed. If you can assess something, you can try to manage it.

At present directing employee behaviour is used as a managementtool, as far as the behaviour is related to success in the function or positive results of the firm.

This however may be felt to be a real change of culture in traditional industry. Assessing human behaviour, even when large interests are at stake, for a long time has been considered not done in organizations because it was seen as too personal and private. It was at most an activity that should be reserved to the family, the school, the courtroom or the university, but not a topic of discussion with fellow-workers or the management.

But you can not speak of 'those hard to change values that spell succes or failure in an industry', wich form the organizational culture, if you do not speak about the behaviour of employees and of the organization as a whole. And then you are speaking also about the values and standards of behaviour that are in play.

Neuijen (2) f.i. distinguishes six dimensions, scales of attitudes and behaviour, on which cultural changes can be measured:

  • Process-oriented versus results-oriented
  • Employee-oriented versus job-oriented
  • Professional versus parochial
  • Open versus closed culture
  • Loose versus tight control
  • Nominative versus pragmatic attitudes of employees

    Those dimensions concern values, standards and resulting behaviour. But behaviour only is perceptible, can be spoken about and is open for direct management. So if you want to establish a cultural change in your business, you need a clear, acceptable terminology for behaviour on the job. That is what the RBOW-project provides.


    1. Hofstede, G. (1991): Cultures and Organizations: Software of the mind, McGraw Hill Book Company (UK)

    2. Neuijen, J.A. (1992): Diagnosing Organizational Cultures, Groningen, Wolters-Noordhoff

    Last update: 21-july-2007

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