Cultural managements

Debate: Is Arsenal’s cultural change under Arteta a truth or a myth

Is Arsenal’s cultural change under Arteta a truth or a myth – By Ibrahim

What is cultural change? According to Kellie Wong, senior content marketing manager at Achievers, organizational culture is the set of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members. Think of it as the set of characteristics that make your business what it is. A great culture exemplifies positive traits that lead to improved performance, while a dysfunctional corporate culture highlights qualities that can hinder even the most successful organizations.

Don’t confuse culture with organizational goals or a mission statement, although both can help define it. Culture is created by consistent and authentic behaviors, not press releases or political documents. You can see company culture in action when you see how a CEO responds to a crisis, how a team adapts to new customer demands, or how a manager corrects an employee who makes a mistake.

I have seen several articles and comments from JA mentioning the change in culture at Arsenal since Mikel Arteta took over, and it made me wonder if there is some truth to it or just a myth.

First of all I would like to say that for the most part culture change is very difficult to measure because in most organizations the changes are internal and only known to people who have access to the inner workings of the organization . As I have no internal work at Arsenal, my opinion is only based on information already in the public domain.

The most mentioned area when it comes to cultural change is our transfers, player relations and performance, and I want to focus my opinion on those areas.

Transfers – We’ve been told that our transfer method and handling has improved since the days of Gazidis and Wenger. I’m still trying to figure out how much our transfers have improved. We are still dithering and pursuing players who have not explicitly expressed any interest in coming to Arsenal. Yes, MA and Edu have changed their goals mainly by attracting more kids with potential and trying to uncover the unknowns, but how is that different from Wenger’s approach from 2005 to 2014? So now the old is new? Recycling the same tried and failed tricks again. Are they going to allow the same thing that happened to Wenger’s? You know where they’ll raise the boys into men until the player’s “little boy” inside them wants to run away for a title-winning team.

On the money side, we are now overpaying incoming transfers while offering our players free or pocket change. At least we used to sell for profit in Wenger’s day. The likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor and RVP were sold for a significant sum (more than we paid for them) even when the club had no leverage, as it is well known that players forced the transfer.

Player relationship – One of the biggest cultural changes mentioned and applauded by MA is that he got rid of the players of the previous regime because they were confused, lazy, over-pampered and over-paid. It’s fine only if the players acquired by Arteta are different from those he got rid of. Under MA, big contracts went to people like Eddie, Willian, Partey and Auba; and importantly some players were still in the lineup, even though it was pretty obvious that they were underperforming and they could at least breathe a little for a change.

Every manager at the highest level of football will always have to deal with difficult players. Players are human and have a varied range of difficulties. Wild characters like Ballotelli or Joe Buttons from the world to the normal indiscipline of the game. Think Zlatan, Rooney, RVP, Anelka, Keane and Vieira were easy to deal with? Great managers will always find a way to differentiate toxicity from arrogance. MA might be right to get rid of it, but he must know that it is not the only solution.

Performance – Now, with the change in culture, it is hoped that it will bring positive changes to the performance on the pitch. MA finished 8e twice in a row and on the 5the when he had three chances to finish 4th. He won the FA and Community Cup with the former manager’s players. Thus, the previous cultivation has helped him achieve the small feat he has under his belt so far.

Can anyone tell us what our style is? Our game is very rigid and very boring, to say the least. We are not a pressing team, not a counter-attacking team, not a passing team, and certainly not a defensive team. I doubt this team can beat Wenger’s worst team or Emery’s team, but I digress.

So the verdict is that I don’t see any significant cultural change.


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