Eight Routes for Culture Change (2013): Jaap Boonstra

“Eight Routes for Culture Change” is a concept introduced by Jaap Boonstra in his book titled “Change Management: The Route to Organizational Transformation and Development” published in 2013. The concept outlines different pathways or approaches that organizations can follow to initiate and drive culture change effectively.

Boonstra emphasizes the importance of culture in shaping organizational behavior, performance, and the ability to adapt to new challenges. Recognizing that culture change is a complex and multifaceted process, he identifies eight routes that organizations can take to navigate this journey:

  • Leadership: This route focuses on the role of leaders in driving culture change. It highlights the need for leaders to embody and promote the desired values and behaviors, act as role models, and engage in effective communication to influence organizational culture.
  • Vision and Strategy: This route emphasizes the importance of articulating a compelling vision and strategic direction that aligns with the desired culture. It involves developing a clear roadmap and communicating it effectively to create a shared understanding and commitment among employees.
  • Learning and Development: This route recognizes the significance of learning and development initiatives in shaping culture. It involves providing opportunities for employees to acquire new knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support the desired culture.
  • Organizational Structure: This route explores how the design and structure of an organization can influence its culture. It involves examining the alignment between organizational structure, processes, and the desired cultural attributes, and making necessary adjustments to reinforce the desired culture.
  • Systems and Processes: This route focuses on the alignment of systems, processes, and practices with the desired culture. It involves evaluating and adapting various organizational systems, such as performance management, rewards and recognition, and decision-making processes, to reinforce the desired cultural norms and values.
  • Social Interaction and Communication: This route highlights the significance of social interactions and communication in shaping culture. It emphasizes the need for open and transparent communication channels, collaborative practices, and fostering a positive social climate that supports the desired culture.
  • Symbols and Rituals: This route recognizes the role of symbols and rituals in reinforcing cultural values. It involves identifying and leveraging tangible and intangible elements that symbolize and reinforce the desired culture, such as rituals, ceremonies, and shared artifacts.
  • Organizational Identity and Stories: This route emphasizes the importance of organizational identity and storytelling in shaping culture. It involves defining and communicating the organization’s identity, purpose, and core values through compelling narratives and stories that inspire and engage employees.

These eight routes provide organizations with a comprehensive framework to guide culture change efforts. They highlight different dimensions and levers that organizations can address to influence and transform their culture. By considering and integrating these routes strategically, organizations can navigate the complexities of culture change and create a more aligned, adaptive, and high-performing organizational culture.