Just as people go through crisis or change, at some point in their life, so do all organizations. At some point in time a company will have an issue arise that may require drastic modification to their current operating environment. This could be anything from offering an initial public offering or possibly a public relations issue, which now makes the company front-page news. In any case, it is vital for an organization and its leadership to address the issues and overcome them.
Schein describes a lifecycle for a company as follows: “if an organization is successful in fulfilling its mission it will mature and problem grow. Founders will age or die and be replaced by leaders who have been promoted within the organizations” (Schein pg. 213) Eventually he goes on to say that ownership by a company’s founders will eventually lead to an IPO and the degradation of company values and founding culture. Further down the road, continual growth of the company will lead to the division of various subgroups and those groups too will eventually have their own culture.
With the founding of the company early growth and a cultural foundation is set by the owners/founders. During this stage the goal of the company is making the company stand out among others and it will make its culture clear and attempt to meld it with new folks who are brought in as well (schein pg. 249). Moving beyond the founding of the company there is now a general evolution period described as moving, “toward the next stage of development involving diversification, growing complexity, higher levels of differentiation and integration, and creative syntheses into new and higher-level forms. (schein 294). From general evolution to specific evolution a company is now focusing more on specific subsets or divisions and this is the stage where the core culture of the company will begin to suffer. While the company will continue to grow, the growth will be focused on specific growth.
While growth and change are a necessary part of an organization, it can create problems if everyone are not on the same page. This is a time when a company is especially vulnerable to crisis and dealing with crisis is something every company will experience at some point. My organization, the Navy, is broken down into many divisions and subsets. The four basic subsets are aviation, subs, surface ships and special warfare (SEALS). I am in an aviation unit and will look at crisis from the perspective of my unit.
From my perspective there is “change” and “crisis.” Change is something that is planned out hopefully using a deliberate approach to make a seamless transition. Crisis however is more urgent in nature and therefore does not have the luxury to be planned as well. In the military we have certain checklists and pre-planned response that are there to assist in the event of a crisis (aircraft crashes or death of a service member). In these types of crisis situations, decisions...