Hilary Clinton and Organizational Culture
Every organization has a culture. The shared experience of belonging to an organization, whether through employment, religious orientation, political affiliation or recreational interest will bear with it an array of shared goals, ideas, traditions, iconography and dialogue. The culture of an organization will also relate directly to its ability to achieve that for which it sets out. A positive culture will typically relate to several factors, among them, leadership. The effective leader has the capacity to impact organizational culture through strong communication tactics and the demonstration of an empathetic position within the organization.
Hilary Clinton, runner up in this year’s aggressive democratic primary fir the presidential nominee, found herself in a difficult position during the convention which just passed this August. As a highly regarded leader in the party, and yet one who challenged presumptive nominee Senator Barack Obama’s with frequent hostility, it would now fall upon her to use emotive and powerful communicative tools in order to resolve the democratic party’s divided culture. Her bid for the presidency had revealed a genuine wedge in the democratic party, but one which rightfully could not be seen as anywhere on the scale of the wedge between democrat and republican in these highly charged times.
Thus, she would demonstrate during her gracious speech to the convention in Denver that which a truly effective leader can do to impact directly the direction of organizational culture. The need for repair in the democratic party certainly underscored her speech, which did not balk at frankly addressing the tough, often conflictive nature of the primary. In particular, a New York Times article from the day after her speech quoted; “‘Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.’ Mrs. Clinton said, beaming as the convention hall burst into applause. ‘And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.’” (Healy, 1) Quite so, Clinton would draw her remarks with a distinct awareness of that which was at stake in the upcoming national election.
In her speech to the delegates, dignitaries, celebrities and other members of the democratic elite, Clinton, according the Times article, channeled the emotional magnanimity which was in stark evidence throughout the course of her primary campaign. Just as was the case then, those who had long rallied to support her so vociferously would also find cause to sympathize with Clinton here. She demonstrated her prowess not just as a leader—as one might assume is present in any individual seeking the presidency—but also as a leader within a defined organization. Her commitment to the shared interests of the democratic party would shine through in this appearance.
The public battle between Obama and the Clintons would invoke a sharp split in the party that only the figures at the center could resolve. Indeed, the leadership of the organization would directly shape the culture according to the indication that two somewhat distinct agendas existed there within.
This would make Clinton’s job at the convention extremely fragile. An effective leader can certainly not be seen to waver or cave. Thus the demonstration of strength while simultaneously showing graciousness would be crucial to the goal of positively impacting the collective culture. Ultimately, she would accomplish this goal with precision, showing that an organizational leader can be the distinguishing force in organizational culture.
Healy, P. (Aug. 27, 2008). Clinton Rallies Her Troops to Fight for Obama. The New York Times. Online at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/27/us/politics/27dems.html?bl&ex=1220068800&en=2f21b7221a4aa4eb&ei=5087%0A