Dealing with Crisis and Transition: How Organizations Transform Themselves

Featuring Charles O'Reilly III


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Program Highlights

  • Influencing organizational culture to promote motivation and commitment.
  • Aligning corporate culture and strategy.
  • Avoiding the handcuffs of success.

Why do successful firms sometimes fail? Dr. Charles O'Reilly calls it "the failure of success." While the natural tendency to focus on the strategy that produced its initial success does bring a company short-term strength, success brings growth, and growth fosters inertia. When change becomes necessary, there is inevitable resistance. Thus, for long-term success, a company has to manage for "here" while at the same time preparing to move "there."

The secret is having a corporate culture in which change is one of the norms. In a crisis, when the situation is ambiguous, when new people come on board, when the old way isn't working—all these are powerful situations where appropriate management of informal corporate control systems can move an organization towards a culture of innovation. By gaining consensus around implementing new strategies, a company can respond to ever-changing demands.

Charles O'Reilly III is the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Frank E. Buck Professor of Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior. He holds a BS in chemistry from the University of Texas, as well as an MBA in information systems and a PhD in organizational behavior, both from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. O'Reilly is the author of "Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People."

Also available from Charles O'Reilly III:

Dealing with Crisis and Transition:

Charles O'Reilly III

Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business


53 Minutes