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A Case Study on Organizational Culture Change at a NASA Field Center Open Access

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This research explored the relationship of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's senior management initiatives and the changes, if any, in the organizational culture of GSFC civil service employees over a five-year period. GSFC's senior management was challenged with adapting its workforce culture to meet federal government reform initiatives to be more performance driven, results oriented, and competitive. The research quantitatively evaluated subclass organizational cultures based on three workforce attributes (age, occupational discipline, and supervisory responsibility). These attributes were further decomposed into the following subclasses: 1) age - 35 years or younger, 36 to 50 years, 51 years and older; 2) occupational discipline -Engineer, Scientist, Professional Administrative; 3) supervisory responsibility - Supervisor, Group Leader, none (Employee).The findings showed a positive relationship between the senior management initiatives and changes in the subclass cultures as measured by the Competing Values Framework's four cultural types of clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy. A key finding from this longitudinal study found a dominant market culture type in all subclasses. This showed that even as the population was examined at the smaller subclass levels, the market culture type was found to be dominant in all cases. Additional key findings indicated that over the period of study some of the subclasses within an attribute became less statistically significantly different, while others showed greater differences. With the attribute of age, the 36 to 50 years subclass was found to have moved to the lowest cultural strength. In addition, the attribute of occupational discipline found less statistically significant differences between the subclass cultures of Engineer and Scientist. In the third attribute of the supervisory responsibility, a clear cultural difference emerged with the Supervisor subclass. By 2002, Supervisor subclass showed statistically significant differences than the Group Leader and Employee subclasses. Potentially, management could use these findings to attempt to more fully understand the relationship between management initiatives and organizational culture. This new understanding showed the variance that existed among subclasses with respect to senior management's initiatives and has indicated the subclasses most at variance with the initiatives, particularly the 35 to 50 years, Group Leader, and Employee subclasses.

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