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Organizational Culture Assignment: Case Analysis of The Aetna Inc. Project



The Aetna, Inc., Project
In this organizational culture assignment you are a senior executive working for a large Australian health insurance company that has been experiencing serious financial deterioration and staff turnover over a period of around 4 years. Using the Aetna, Inc., health insurance company in the US as an exemplar, you have been directed to write a strategic benchmarking report for your Executive Board that investigates and evaluates the different aspects of organisational change that were undertaken to turnaround the fortunes of the Aetna, Inc., organisation in the Case Study. Your report needs to provide a detailed explanation of why you believe that the cultural change aspects of the Aetna, Inc., have been so successful and you must draw sound conclusions and make recommendations to your own organisation that demonstrates, using some of the various tools and techniques you have learned about in the unit lectures and tutorials, on how a process of organisational culture change can be set up, indicating how this can be implemented strategically for the overall benefit of your company.

You will work individually drawing upon information from the video, readings, textbooks and your wider experiences either in the workplace, or from your own social organisations, to develop an evaluative report (3,500 words ±10%) on the organisational culture aspects of the Aetna, Inc., case. Your report will include proposals and recommendations for a formal cultural change management plan to be forwarded to your Chief Executive Officer and Director of Human Resources.

Your benchmarking and cultural change report, amongst other things, should consider and respond to the following seven challenges:

  1. Levels Of Organisational Culture:
    Discuss what is meant by organisational culture. In your discussion, you should identify the common aspects of the many definitions of organisational culture and comment upon levels of culture. Consider the film you have just watched, which level of culture is mentioned most frequently? What level(s) of culture would you like to see happening in your improved organisation?
  2. Values:
    Distinguish between values, espoused values, enacted values and assumptions; list the Aetna, Inc core (espoused values) and discuss how they were created. How would you apply these when managing your company’s organisational change implementation?
  3. Survival In Competitive And Turbulent Environments: Functions Of Organizational Culture:
    Peters and Waterman (1982) p75 argued 'the stronger the culture and the more it was directed toward the marketplace, the less need was there for policy manuals, organization charts, or detailed procedures and rules. ‘What is meant by a ‘strong culture’ and how might such a culture impact upon organisational performance (you should consider both positive and negative consequences) of your company aspiring to change?
  4. Organisational Performance:
    Consider the role of culture in relation to organisational performance and explain what is meant by the “fit” and the “adaptation” perspectives and evaluate these concepts in relation to Aetna, Inc. and for your own organisation.
  5. The Role Of The Leader In Shaping And Reinforcing Culture:
    Evaluate the leader’s role (for example that of Ron Williams) in shaping and reinforcing culture; what does that mean for the leadership in your company in future?
  6. Managing Culture:
    Discuss whether culture can be managed and suggested approaches used to manage culture if you believe that it can be managed. Evaluate why Aetna, Inc., soared to develop a culture of empowerment and quality amongst other things and suggest how that can be implemented in your aspiring company.
  7. Changing The Culture:
    Determine what your company’s cultural change plan will look like and describe how you will use evidence that you have obtained from using some of the various evaluation tools to inform your plan. What kind of culture do you think your Australian organisation needs to espouse in order to change its fortunes, and how will that need to be managed in future for success?


Together with the mission, purpose, and strategy, organisational culture consists of a collection of principles, behaviours, and workplace beliefs. Organizational culture can be described in a variety of ways. It is a critical component of the overall institution's development and success. It is critical to implement an efficient and sufficient culture in order to accomplish the desired objectives. For the case study, a health care provider known as Aetna Inc., is used and its different facets of organisational culture are discussed and analysed. Aetna Inc. has already been active in changing its corporate culture in order to produce successful outcomes. Rob Williams would be the visionary who made it all possible. The lessons learned from the Aetna situation was extended to the organisation in order to develop recommendations.

Introduction to the context of organizational culture assignment
The piece was published by an American health care corporation that has been dealing with a lot of problems in recent years. These problems are related to the entity's economic decline. Furthermore, over the last few years, the job turnover rate has been steadily rising.Aetna Inc. is a health care corporation headquartered in America that has effectively changed its corporate culture to achieve positive results. Ron Williams was the driving force behind Aetna's cultural transformation. Aetna's lessons including outcomes was used and replicated in this context to ensure that positive effects can be seen.

Organizational Culture Levels

  • Corporate structure can be explained and described in a variety of ways. It can be described as the ideology and principles that apply in an organisation and it is at the heart of driving the behavior of the employees.
  • Some concepts often provide an organization's mission and vision as part of its ethos, as they have an effect on the general approach that is pursued.
  • Organizational culture can be roughly divided into three levels depending on these meanings.
    • The first consideration is behaviour as well as environment. It is something that is readily mirrored and noticed, such as the uniform policy, the level of versatility provided, the arrangement of workplaces, and so on.
    • The second would be ideals that can be seen by those conventions and characteristics. The behaviour is driven by the principles.
    • The assumptions are the final step. It will differ from one staff to the next. Acknowledgement of diversity in the workforce, for example, or workers' reactions to a transition.
  • In the respective video that was given, ideals were the type of style that's been conveyed and mirrored. The feature had been a sports film focused on ideals such as teamwork, teamwork, team spirit, and optimism.
  • The level of community that is supposed to be witnessed in the company will be the gradual change at all layers. Starting with the atmosphere and conduct, principles can be described and ingrained so that employee traits can be assessed accordingly. The combined commitment and mixture of all three would ensure that significant changes in corporate culture are achieve.

Values are the basic norms and attributes that comprise an organization's underlying principles. These principles are further divided into two categories: enacted values and espoused values. The principles which are espoused are those that are specified and included in regulations. There are the legal aspects and attributes that a company claims to adhere to. Legislated principles, on the other hand, are the principles that are currently followed and expressed by staff members of an organisation.Assumptions are closely held convictions that can differ from one participant to the next. Persons' cultural contexts, as well as their professional and personal experiences, can shape them.

Aetna's fundamental beliefs include honesty, consistency and merit, competence and responsibility, and performance management. Aetna established these principles over the course of three stages. The strategic path of leadership and organisational change for the company, as defined by Ron, can indeed be narrowly classified into three levels.

  • The very first stage lasted from 2001 through 2004, but it was during this period that the company suffered several defeats and wanted to return to its roots. During this step, the current and necessary values were examined.
  • From 2004 through 2006, the organisation began to see positive results as a part of the recent collection of principles and reforms that it had implemented.
  • From 2006 through 2008, the company was doing well and incorporating creative factors to improve organisational capability. Aetna was able to identify the four sets of values thanks to the staggered approach. It took a long time for all these ideals to be converted from espoused through enacted values. These helped the company to meet its objectives and priorities.

It would be critical to handle these things when coping with organisational transition. Like in Aetna, a step-by-step strategy will be implemented to ensure that the principles are generated and adopted in order to have positive results. The first step would be to identify the holes and problems that remain in the company. Clear policies and action plans, as well as priorities and targets, will be formulated in response to these challenges. The organization's principles will be identified in order for these priorities to be met, but these will be aligned with both the organization's criteria.

Resilience in Hypercompetitive Environments: Organizational Culture Structures
Strong culture versus poor culture are the two broad types of organisational culture. Now, the strong culture is one where specific beliefs and standards are recognized to all workers and are ingrained in employee attitudes and behaviours. It is not necessary for the organisation to provide comprehensive policy manuals in place in certain cultures to ensure that the desired cultural principles are accepted.A strong culture is described by certain factors and traits. The first one and most important are the fundamental principles that have been established and are recognized to all workers of the company. Communication is a critical component of organisational culture. It is important to have knowledge sharing in place to ensure that all workers are mindful of the basic principles and norms. It increases awareness and communication while also fostering a sense of belonging.

There are both positive and negative consequences of the institution's strong culture. A strong culture will have a positive effect on the company by lowering staff morale. It is among the most pressing topics confronting the company at the moment. Not only must job tasks and roles be handled well for workers to be empowered and committed with the company. Employees must be provided with a safe workplace, as well as the necessary resources and help, as well as clarity on the basic norms and standards that must be followed. With a solid cultural foundationit would be simpler for the corporation to attract its workforce if these initiatives are adopted and built within the enterprise. Employees would be encouraged to communicate their thoughts to superiors and representatives in order for them to be addressed. With increased worker satisfaction and enthusiasm, the company would be effective in increasing of worker productivity.

Employees' constructive attitudes and increased commitment would lead to increased levels of leadership and employees advocacy and business partnerships(Kan, 2019). Employees who have a positive community will be able to effectively represent the company, which will increase the organization's image in the industry. Employees, for instance, would be able to effectively consider their clients' insurance needs in order to recommend the best health care plans for them while providing optimum coverage. With these elements in place, the company will be able to reach high levels of customer service and loyalty.

If new hires really aren't presented with the necessary preparation and coaching programs, the strong culture will have bad repercussions. The new hires who enter the company would be unaware of the organization’s ethical traditions and principles. The lack of clear documentation would make it impossible to close those holes unless adequate training courses for new hires are arranged. Furthermore, in a strong culture, it is almost always observed that the company becomes too reliant on staff choices and decisions. Staff members' bad decision will lead to additional financial distress and other operational issues that are difficult to manage(Mascia, 2014).

Organizational Effectiveness
Organizational culture will have a big effect on how much a company does. To investigate the relationship among culture and success, two concepts must be understood:

  • Organisational fit - The compatibility of the institution's principles with the employee's work environment and beliefs is referred to as organisational fit(Parker, 2015). For instance, an organisation will identify and enforce the principles of fairness and integrity; furthermore, a dishonest person working for the organisation would not adhere to these values. In these kind of situations, the organisational fit would be inadequate.
  • Organisational adaptation - The ability and willingness of the corporation to implement transition is referred to as organisational adaptation.

In the context of Aetna Inc., for instance, Rob Williams implemented strategy to attain corporate fit as well as adaptation, resulting in good employee engagement. Staff questionnaires were completed, and plans were developed based on the results. Such management decision-making practises meant that staff were committed and continued to be active in operational shifts. It was also possible to gain workforce approval of improvements through constructive collaboration and the incorporation of staff ideas. Such initiatives aided Rob and Aetna Inc. in implementing operational reforms. The change in organisational culture increased the organization's capacity to deliver better results and outcomes.

Such elements would also be critical for the company. It would be crucial to ensure organisational fit and transition in order to enable the necessary improvements in the organisation. The overall staff turnover rate is very high, owing primarily to problems with the organization's internal culture. Staff members must participate in corporate decision-making processes. Financial preparations, changes, and control mechanisms, for example, can now be created with staff teamwork instead of decisions taken by a few stakeholders at the top. Staff members would have a greater sense of general goals and corporate norms as they are more engaged and collaborative. Employee priorities would increasingly comply with corporate strategies and targets. That would result in a lower job turnover rate.

It is important for the company to undertake a few minor to large-scale reforms in order to deal with the new financial circumstances. It is also important for the company to handle current workers in order to increase their commitment and motivation. Organizational fit as well as adaptation can increase as current culture shifts. Staff will be able to grasp the reasoning behind its improvements as there is more clarity. Staff will be able to consider these modifications because they understand the importance of the change's adoption. They would provide better suggestions and solutions to ensure the entire success of the company is facilitated.

It demonstrates that many of these components are interconnected. It is likely to obtain progress in other fields after making enhancements and adjustments in one. The incremental updates and modifications ensure that the average company efficiency is improved.

Reinforcement of Culture and importance of Leader’s role
The importance of the chief in influencing and upholding the community cannot be overstated. In the context of Aetna, for instance, Rob Williams followed the suitable leadership structure to make that the reforms were correctly planned and enforced. Rob discovered that there have been significant coordination loopholes in the organisation. Aetna executives were unaware that the company was losing revenue. As a result, workers did not engage in or demonstrate engagement in organizational-level efforts to address those issues(Müller et al., 2016). Williams made certain the workers were aware of the organization's needs as well as the reasoning for the reforms which were being implemented. Williams had workshops and seminars with staff to update them on the current status, tactics being implemented, and to solicit employee feedback. Williams often devised a staggered methodology and plan to ensure that the corporate culture and related transitions were properly formed and strengthened in order to achieve successful results. Rob devised a strategy that placed a premium on employees ’ commitment and contact. Rob was mindful of the implications of these factors for organisational transformation and community. Staff polls were undertaken in order to provide a better interpretation of the workers' perspectives and viewpoints. Such surveys ensured that employee participation levels were elevatedas well as the worker is mindful of the corporate norms This is indeed the factors that contributed to Aetna's growth in exchanging and strengthening community.

  • Throughout the case under consideration, the position of the ruler will also be crucial. In the current case the company is dealing with a number of problems. Economic challenges or worker issues could not be addressed until the chief is attentive and qualified. It would be logical to follow the suitable leadership style in order to successfully introduce the necessary improvements(Chiemelie, 2014). For example, in order to increase employee morale and commitment, it would be necessary to investigate and comprehend employee perspectives.
  • Correspondingly, the managers will be told of the underlying cause of the fiscal struggles.
  • Transformative leadership and proactive leadership models would be essential for the individual to follow in order to effect the necessary improvements.
  • In addition, the leader must be capable of good teamwork and communication, as well as intellectual and problem-solving capabilities(Hughes &Panzo, 2015). Without any of those abilities, the chief would be unable to make effective use of the knowledge given by the staff. The convergence of both of these factors would be critical in ensuring that now the organization's current problems are addressed.
  • Several management and reporting elements are present throughout the organization's transition execution. The leadership's position will be essential in this field as well, as it will ensure that appropriate management monitoring and control processes are enforced.

Culture Management
With the right vision and procedures in place, it would be possible to deliver the society. Organizational culture is made up of many interconnected components. The convergence of both of these components allows for the achievement of specific goals and strategies. A strong culture in an organisation, for instance, could be handled with the help of leadership models such as agile and transformational based(Jiang, 2014). For such leadership models, the chief interacts and colludes with the staff on a daily basis, ensuring that the fundamental principles are well understood and adopted. Other methods of managing community involves collaborative decision-making, through use of digital systems for assessments and evaluations, and so on.

Apart from all other factors, Aetna Inc. ensured that the corporate philosophy included productivity and efficiency as important elements. It was critical since Rob Williams understood that inspired and motivated workers would only benefit the company in a meaningful way. The operational reforms could not have been incorporated effectively unless certain elements were maintained(Trivellas&Drimoussis, 2013). Rob, as a result, agreed to concentrate on these issues through processes such as workforce reviews and consultations with staff to educate every one of the causes for the reforms. Quality was deemed a significant aspect because it is essential to workers as well as all other intrinsic and extrinsic partners in the company. Aetna Inc. provides patients with essential insurance data and facilities. The organisation cannot expect to provide low quality in such areas, and it was critical that the same would be preserved in its philosophy(Trivellas&Drimoussis, 2013).

The organisation for the given case, must therefore pay attention to all these issues and ensure that they are incorporated into operational and staff-level judgments. For e.g., the company is currently dealing with significant financial problems. It is important for the company to resolve these problems. Employee commitment would be critical to achieving the desired goals. Empowerment, when included and maintained, ensures that now the worker has the autonomy and freedom to make recommendations and make necessary improvements. Staff members would be encouraged to make meaningful recommendations to the company. With the implementation of these suggestions, the organization's current culture as well as job roles will undergo significant improvements. Likewise, using quality as an element would ensure that workers are presented with staff-oriented approaches as well as policies. It would ensure that workers have faith in the organisation and are motivated to work together to solve current difficulties and problems.

As a result, through use of culture management techniques, as well as the incorporation of factors such as encouragement and efficiency, would have the opportunity to effect necessary improvements.

Culture Transformation
The organization's organisational transformation strategy will be influenced by Aetna Inc.'s. During first series of events, one will concentrate on the gradual approach to changing the community by finding current challenges and differences. Following that, strategic plan and transition plans can be created to ensure that organisational improvements in culture are implemented.

The Australian healthcare insurance firm's culture improvement programme would be divided into four major stages.

  • The very first step would also include the recognition and initiation stage, during which the modifications will be listed, as well as a checklist of the central tenets that should be included.
  • The following step will be transition preparation, which could require the implementation of concrete plans as well as sub-plans throughout areas such as scheduling, expenditure, risks, efficiency, and so on. If these proposals are in motion, an impact evaluation for the culture transitions will be conducted.
  • Following that, the execution as well as implementation of the move will continue. It would emphasise ideals such as employee engagement, career growth, fairness, transparency, and quality of life enhancement.
  • The ACS Ethical standards will be used to guide ethical practises, and standards such as consistency and autonomy will be given top priority(Ljungblom&Lennerfors, 2018). The convergence of these factors would ensure that cultural improvements are implemented in accordance with the planned goals and priorities.

During these transition processes, the assessment tools can be helpful. The appraisal methods could be used as target tracking system to assess the proportion of goals met and the discrepancies that exist. Similarly, analysis of variance could be used to assess the process's timeline and expense variability. Compliance audits will be performed using evaluation and compliance review methods to identify any loopholes.

The organisational culture that will be implemented will be inclusive and flexible, and it will eventually turn into a solid culture. Such elements will be critical and the use of certain cultural standards will address the current problems of high workforce turnover. Staff would be encouraged to communicate with each other and would be open to the necessary improvements. The implementation of such an organisational culture would also increase the degree of openness among management and staff. A strong community ensures that beliefs and traditions are not only found throughout policy manuals and artefacts. Workers, on the other hand, would be capable of making actual adjustments in their job processes as well as decisions to suit the current collection of values(Yang, 2012). Australian companies are now noted for having a diverse workforce and partners. The same would be so for the health care provider. The company would be unable to handle diversity effectively if versatility and teamwork are lacking. The introduction of a strong culture built on flexibility and teamwork would give the company the power to make the necessary improvements. The integration of certain cultural traditions and standards would also increase scalability and versatility.

There are numerous facets and elements found in an organisation that lead to the organisational success(Joslin & Müller, 2015). The organisational culture would be one of those things. It is critical that perhaps the organisational culture be formed in such a way that the requisite values are expressed in all workers' actions. By deliberate actions and good leadership qualities, Aetna Inc. ensured that this would make the necessary improvements in its corporate culture. A host of economic and resources-allied threats face the case organisation as well. The organisation will be effective in addressing current problems by implementing suitable leadership model while also changing its entire culture. There could be significant gains in overall workplace efficiency as a result of behavioural reforms. The remaining reforms would now be easily adopted by staff and partners, ensuring that the institution's priorities and targets are met.

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