There are four aspects to any organization’s business beliefs, according to the Denison Organizational Culture Model. To maintain healthy growth, a business needs to look both inward and outward. The roots of any organization give the foundation from which to expand, while keeping the company grounded in its original vision.
Denison’s model offers two external foci and two internal. The organizational mission is an external focus that acts as the glue that holds the company together. Losing mission focus can lead a company into unclear growth patterns that leave its client base behind. This is what happened to CCS.
Founded in 1985, CCS specialized in skateboards, longboards and boarding accessories. Somewhere between its inception and the early 2010s, the company lost its central mission focus, trying to expand into markets that did not resonate with the boarder community. This brought CCS to the brink of bankruptcy. In 2014, under new investors, the company is started to return to its roots, redeveloping relationships with its original client base and strategically expanding product lines, like Nike skate shoes and Stance socks, that are consistent with its mission.
The second external component of Denison’s model is the corporate culture of adaptability. An adaptive company is one that listens to its customers’ needs and makes appropriate internal changes. Creating a new product line is one thing, but developing a product and an internal system for the continuation of the consumer relationship is the true mark of adaptability.
According to a report by Boston consulting firm BCG Perspectives, Nike is one of the top 20 most adaptive companies of the last five years. Much like its customer base, Nike has a way of jumping back and forth between the past and the present. The management is careful to tether the company to its roots that include creating definitions for the athletic market. Using well-known athletes, the company adapts to customer need by offering shoes that meet the consumer’s need for healthy activity without being specific to a sport.
Kellogg knows that it is women who make most of the food purchase decisions in the home. It uses this to develop an internal culture that empowers employees, especially women and minorities, to become decision makers.
Company-wide policies, procedures, grants and incentives are used to fulfill the Denison involvement component for healthy business culture. Kellogg’s involvement strategy and its connection to its roots is pretty linear. Everyone eats. Family is important. With this in mind, the company embraces all of the models for community, especially as they relate to diversity. These are core values that create involvement and mission-centered community within the company.
The last of Denison’s elements is internal consistency in operations, employee behavior and customer commitment. Take a look at BlackBerry, one of the first of the commercially popular mobile devices.
Its product and business model had a specific look and feel. At one time, BlackBerry attempted to change both to match its competitor’s gain in market share. This proved to be a poor idea, making the BlackBerry almost obsolete. Recently, the company has gone back to its roots and launched a BlackBerry smartphone with the classic QWERTY keyboard. This is an attempt to regain consistency throughout the company. The new product is still in the marketing phase, so it is too early to tell if this will restore consistency to the company.