The objective of this paper is to study the impact of building a common narrative in the performance appraisal system for a large Middle East based corporation in its drive to build a performance driven culture. This study assumes even more significance when taking into account the countries nationalistic culture, which has a high power distance index and high uncertainty avoidance index as per the Hofstede Cultural Dimensions Index. Change management initiative is expensive in nature more so, in a pluralistic environment with multiple cultures as the case of the organization under study. The challenge becomes even more difficult if the change is targeted at the existing cultures in the organization. As the authors were part of the change management initiative, the various stages adopted in moving the organization culture from entitlement to performance are analyzed in detail. The use of common narratives and unified performance appraisal methodology, leadership engagement and Normalization process lead to a demonstrated change in the performance appraisal rating for the targeted group of employees. The impact of the common narratives, lead to a decrease in the rating of exceeding and above categories for managers and above by almost 50 %.What it effectively highlights is that the journey to build a performance driven culture is ongoing and it’s through the common narratives and understanding that the desired outcomes can be achieved. Such a large scale study on the impact of building a new performance culture has not been done in the Middle East before. The learnings would be of immense value to organizations wanting to incorporate such changes in the future. In addition, limited papers have adopted the action research method to observe culture creation phenomena in spite of it offering clear insights due to the involvement of the authors in the culture creation.

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