Observable of culture help define it, the basic

Observable artifacts, espoused values, and basic assumptions are the three major components that help better define and organization the culture within an organization; in this case, we are examining the cultural changes brought on by CEO Sergio Marchionne in Chrysler Automotive. “Leaders are the architects and developers of organizational culture, and managing organizational culture is one of the most important functions of leadership… the process of culture change essentially begins with targeting one of the three layers of organizational culture” (Krietner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 73). In 2009 Mr. Marchionne took the helm at Chrysler following its near collapse and filling for bankruptcy, and he had to not only restore the culture within the organization but radically change it. Edgard Schein (1992) defines culture as “a pattern of basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration…” (p. 12). This is an important factor because although the other two layers of culture help define it, the basic assumptions are the critical piece that must be changed to have a dynamic shift in culture.

When Mr. Marchoinne came on-board, he attacked the first two, observable artifacts and espoused values with such vigor that it molded the underlying basic assumptions as the culture of the organization shifted. The most notable observable artifact change was from the tendency to slash prices to increase the volume of sales when faced with a decline in sales and profit. Take the story given regarding Peter Fong and the rebate slash idea. Marchionne changed the observable artifact by emphasizing results; maintaining sales through quality without losing margin. Another observable artifact that had a significant impact on the basic assumptions was when he moved his and the executive’s offices into the workspace of the tech building.

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No longer were the executives isolated and apart from the process, they were amid the process, emphasizing the espoused value of collaboration. With the establishment of weekly team meetings and the involvement of his staff, he expressed the espoused values, within Chrysler’s culture, of innovation, quality, and creativity throughout the company. “Mr.

Marchionne often spelled out what he saw as Chrysler’s many deficiencies: margins and vehicle quality needed to improve and better control over pricing were imperative” (Krietner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 86). Under Mr. Marchionne’s leadership the basic assumptions changed drastically, and therefore the culture of Chrysler was molded in a manner that has allowed the company to recover from its near-fatal disaster and continue being a competitive manufacturer in the automotive market. “Basic assumptions are the most difficult of the three to change because they are often unobservable, unappreciated, and highly resistant to change” (Krietner & Kinicki, 2013,). I believe that through the listed changes in the observable artifacts and the espoused values he altered these assumptions, he created an executive management team that was not above the process, but a part of the process and the employees reformulated their assumptions of the organization was going to operate.

By emphasizing profit and quality of sales and incentives, he changed the basic assumptions that lead towards innovation, productivity, and profitability inside the organization.


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