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I want to write a question to mean that if a company wants to become customer-oriented, its culture must change and commitment to customer orientation must first be created in the higher top level of the organization. I want to rephrase this to start the sentence with to+infinitive as it seems more beautiful. My sentence follows:

To become customer-oriented, the organization’s culture must change and commitment to customer-orientation must first be created in higher levels of the organization.

Is the sentence above correct? Can anyone explain a little bit when a sentence can start with to+infinitive?

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To become customer-oriented, the organization’s culture must change and commitment to customer-orientation must first be created in higher levels of the organization.

One can start a sentence with an infinitive phrase like "to become customer-oriented", but I see one problem with your sentence: the phrase modifies two clauses at once. One clause is

the organization’s culture must change

which gives

The organization’s culture must change to become customer-oriented.

which is okay, although it diverges from your original sentence: there, it was the company that was to become customer-oriented, now it's the culture.

But the other clause is

commitment to customer-orientation must first be created in higher levels of the organization

which gives

Commitment to customer-orientation must first be created in higher levels of the organization to become customer-oriented.

which is strange: it's as if we wanted the commitment to become customer-oriented.

You might remodel a bit:

.. and in its (i.e., the organization's) higher levels a commitment to customer-orientation must...

But the resulting sentence still might be bulky.

As an aside, I'd recommend the site called lang-8.com for proofreading purposes.

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According to Michael Swan in his classic Practical English Usage you shouldn't start a sentence with infinitive except for the verbs To hear and To see, otherwise it is old English and should be reserved for instructions only. You should reword it to In order to become or So as to become, though both are quite formal sentences, I am afraid to say.

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  • The proposed sentence is an instruction. – Nathan Tuggy Oct 13 '15 at 15:50
  • I mean a instruction as in a manual. This is much more of a suggestion/piece of advice rather than an instruction. – Fábio Lopes da Silva Oct 13 '15 at 18:13

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