The Role of Culture in Change Management: 7 Key Considerations for Successful Change Initiatives

#TobaniaStories   |   21 04 2023

Did you know that culture has a pivotal role when it comes to change management? In fact, cultural differences can create unique challenges when implementing change initiatives, especially in multicultural environments.

For example, cultural awareness enables change managers to adapt their approach, apply culture-specific adjustments and create effective communication plans, keeping the culture of their audience in mind. Okay, but what exactly is the success formula to make it all happen? Well, it consists of 7 key considerations, and we are happy to share them with you.


Your 7 key considerations

When implementing those change initiatives in a multicultural environment, several factors should be considered to address the cultural impact on change management effectively.

Here are some of the top considerations:


  1. Cultural Awareness: Change leaders require cultural awareness and a deep understanding of the cultural context of affected employee groups. This includes understanding the cultural values, norms, beliefs and expectations of the public.


  1. Effective Communication: Communication is essential in change management and should be adapted to different cultural environments to ensure it is well received and properly understood. It is therefore appropriate for Change Managers to try to use culturally adequate language and to avoid jargon or terminology that could be misinterpreted.


  1. Cultural Adaptations: Activities and trainings may need to be adapted to culture-specific norms to ensure they are relevant and effective. Change Managers should in turn show flexibility and willingness to adapt their approach to the cultural needs of the audience.


  1. Leadership: Change managers should exhibit cultural intelligence and be capable of navigating cultural differences. They should have experience working in diverse environments and be able to provide cultural guidance to the change team.


  1. Training and Development: It is advisable that training and development programmes should be adapted to the cultural needs of the public. This includes adapting training materials and implementation methods.


  1. Resistance to Change: Resistance to change is a natural reaction, which can be intensified in a multicultural environment. Change managers should be aware of this and develop strategies to address resistance that are culturally appropriate.


  1. Stakeholder Engagement: Stakeholder engagement is essential in change management, and it should be done in a culturally appropriate manner. Advisably, Change Managers should involve stakeholders early in the process and engage them in decision-making to ensure their consent.


In a nutshell

In summary, culture influences change management by creating unique challenges that require customised approaches, culture-specific adaptations, effective communication and cultural intelligence. Understanding the role of culture in change management is crucial to achieve desired results and make the change process less stressful. Addressing the above-mentioned 7 considerations can help Change Managers successfully navigate cultural differences and effectively implement change initiatives.


So, what do you think? Ready to kick off some change? If so, don’t hesitate to contact our Tobania Business department to work out the suitable approach.

Tobania Business department

About the writer – Khadija Farjani – Change Manager

Throughout her career, our Tobian and Business Analyst Khadija Farjani has already had the opportunity to work both at domestic and international level. As a result, she experienced working with different nationalities all over the world and how culture and diversity can have an impact on one’s professional life. Her experience has taught her to always adapt herself and her approach according to the context.


Through her article, she now attempts to translate her personal insights into some concrete points of interest for all Change Managers out there.

Happy reading!