Management Concept: Organization Culture

Introduction

Organizational culture is the one that determines the behavior of the organization as a whole since the kind of values and mentality that the people running the system have in mind are dependent on the organizational culture. New employees that have different mindsets from that f the culture are either ignored or influenced by the existing practice of the organization. This kind of behavior is passed down from the previous generation to the one that succeeds them (Grant, R.M., 2005).

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The company we are discussing has a culture that gives weight to seniority and protocols. It does not place any importance on the kind of speedy responses to the constant changes in their business environment. The organization also tends to be lax about the creation of new opportunities and system improvements since they are already used to the system in place. Their collective behavior that depends so much on the previous generation’s accomplishments is hindering the present situation’s improvement (Glower D; Legge, K and Clegg C 1993).

Research Objectives

The study aims to

  • Analyze the organization culture and human resources
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of organizational culture and a diverse workforce

Prerequisites in the provision of a decent work culture that reduces initial difficulties and provides an atmosphere where the employee does not lose enthusiasm and motivation, and the organization derives maximum ( Daily, B.F.; Whatley, A.; Ash, S.R. and Steiner, R.L. 1996 and Hite, L.M. and McDonald, K.S. 2006).

With the help of the information so gathered, the study will endeavor to develop a model to inform a set of best practices during the induction and orientation programs for new employees. The research limited itself to understanding and developing a model for creating an organizational culture ( Kreitz, P.A. 2008 and Moore, S. 1999).

Literature Review

Culture

Culture as was defined as “A historically transmitted patterns of meaning embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men and women communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life”. Although organization culture has been defined at the society level it impacts the behavior of an individual which in turn affects the performance of companies (Eagleton T. 2000 and Furnham A.,1997).

Organizational culture defines how things are done within the organization. It is a source of stability or a barrier to change depending on the organization’s strength. The organization’s culture has many characteristics among them innovation and risk-taking people orientation, outcome orientation, aggressiveness stability, and team orientation(Storey J., 2000 and Lundy O. & Cowling A. 2000). Organizational culture deals with ways in which employees perceive the organization characteristics like leadership, delegation, communication channels, and management of change (Robbins S, 2004).

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It is believed that significant differences in organizations across the world can be attributed to cultural differences in culture. It dictates the relationship between factors such as size/technology and structure (Keyton J.2004).

Role of culture in an organization

The culture of an organization was a topic that interested businesses and managers greatly, in the ’80s. The research was done so as to establish what the culture of an organization entails, how to evaluate and change it. These studies provided information on what an organization’s culture is and how to evaluate it. However, it also reflected that change of organizational culture is a tasking process that takes a lot of time. Organizational culture can be defined as the values, basic assumptions and artifacts (tangible signs), and norms. (Hunger, J & Wheelen, T 2003).

Assumptions in an organization refer to those things that are presumed to be the “correct” way of handling issues or doing things. For example in his research Schein found that in an engineering company decisions were made after consultations with all stakeholders. Employees were encouraged to generate new ideas; these ideas were then evaluated by the employee’s workgroup…all relevant stakeholders…before they could be implemented (Hunger, J & Wheelen, T 2003).

Artifacts involve the technology, procedures, and communication channels used by an organization. However, it is important to note that changing the artifacts will not significantly impact the culture of the organization.

All organizations have values that guide their operations. They dictate the priorities of the organization and give a sense of what should be done. According to Schein, they are high level of culture. A company may have a value that on–the–job training is a superior form of training. Based on this value the organization makes a general assumption that employees will learn better while on the job. Thus little relevance will be placed on other forms of training.

Corporate culture is evident in the organization’s membership and behavior. For instance, the culture of a large corporate is different from that of a small one or a hospital. Organizations’ change efforts have often failed as they have ignored the impact of culture in the organization. The values, norms, assumptions, and behaviors of an organization need to be identified and managed when implementing change in an organization.

Organizational culture and change

Change is a pervasive influence. We are all subject to continual change of one form or another. Change is an inescapable part of both social and organizational life. An organization can only perform effectively through interactions with the broader external environment of which it is part. The structure and functioning of the organization must reflect, therefore, the nature of the environment in which it is operating ( Margulles N. and J. Wallace J., 1973).

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Factors such as uncertain economic conditions, globalization and fierce world competition, the level of government intervention, scarcity of natural resources and rapid developments in new technology, and the information age all create an increasingly volatile environment. In order to help ensure its survival and future success, the organization must be readily adaptable to the external demands placed upon it (Eagleton T. 2000. The organization must e responsive to change. Other major forces of change include (Werzel B. 2001 and Rhinesmith R. , 1993);

  • Increased demands for quality and high levels of customer service and satisfaction;
  • Greater flexibility in the structure of work organizations and patterns of management; and
  • The changing nature and composition of the workforce. (Margulles N. and J. Wallace J., 1973)

The change also originates within the organization itself. Much of this change is part of a natural process of aging, for example, as material resources such as buildings, equipment, or machinery deteriorate or lose efficiency; or as human resources get older, or as skills and abilities become outdated ( Rhinesmith R., 1993). Some of this change can be managed through careful planning, for example, regular repairs and maintenance choice of introducing new technology or methods of work; effective human resource planning to prevent a large number of staff retiring at the same time; management succession planning-training and staff development (Drummond H, 2000).

Most planned organizational change is triggered by the need to respond to new challenges or opportunities presented by the external environment, or in anticipation of the need to cope with potential future problems; for example, intended government legislation, new product development by a major competitor, or further technology advances. The planned change represents an intentional attempt to improve, in some important way, the operational effectiveness of the organization (Keyton J. 2004 and Margulles N. and J. Wallace J.,1973).

People tend to be resistant to change. It is important, therefore, for management to adopt a clearly defined strategy for the initiation of change. The successful management of change is an increasingly important managerial responsibility. The efforts made by management to maintain the balance of the socio-technical system will influence people’s attitudes, the behavior of individuals and groups, and thereby the level of organizational performance and effectiveness, this will define the culture of the organization (Winstow F. T., 2000 and Rhinesmith R. 1993)

The effective management of change must be based on a clear understanding of human behavior at work. Most people are not detached from their work but experience a range of emotional involvements through their membership in the organization. People may also be concerned about the effects of change including the possible loss of financial needs, security, status, or self-esteem. Organizational change can result in a feeling of a lack of identity, a lack of involvement, a lack of direction, and a lack of affection (Rhinesmith R. 1993).

Most people feel threatened and disoriented by the challenge of change. Emotions therefore that people often adopt a defensive and negative attitude and demonstrate resistance to change. ( Rhinesmith R., 1993).

Elliot explains the change as a complex, psychological event. The power of change needs to be respected and managed. Managing change places emphasis on employee (and customer) needs as the highest priority (Werzel B. 2001). To be successful, organizations need a dedicated workforce and this involves the effective management of change. But not everyone reacts to change in the same way. Change impacts each person differently and management must accept the individual nature of change (Rhinesmith R. 1993, Margulles N. and J. Wallace J., 1973).

For example, senior managers responsible for initiating a restructuring may be filled with great expectations. They do not see the sense of resistance and find it hard to accept the negative impact of change. But the change may mean inconvenience, uncertainty, and loss from other people. Loss and grief are just as normal reactions to change as are excitement and anticipation. One of the most important factors in the successful implementation of organizational change is the style of managerial behavior (Rhinesmith R. 1993 and Mullins L.J.1993).

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In certain situations, and with certain members of staff, it may be necessary for management to make use of hierarchical authority and to attempt to impose change through a coercive, autocratic style of behavior. Some members may actually prefer and respond better, to a directed and controlled style of management (Winstow F. T., 2000 and Mullins L.J.1993).

In most cases however, the introduction of change is more likely to be effective with a participative style of managerial behavior. If staff are kept fully informed of proposals are encouraged to adopt a positive attitude and have personal involvement in the implementation of the change, there is a greater likelihood of their acceptance of the change (Du Brin, 1974 and Keyton J, 2004 ).

With the participative change cycle, a significant advantage is that once the change is accepted it tends to e long-lasting. Since everyone has been involved in the development of the change, each person tends to e more highly committed to its implementation. The disadvantage of the participative change is that it tends to be slow and evolutionary- it may take years to implement a significant change. An advantage of directive change, on the other hand, is speed.

Using position power, leaders can often impose change immediately. A disadvantage of this change strategy is that it tends to be volatile. It can be maintained only as long as the leader has position power to make it stick. It often results in animosity, hostility, and in some cases overt and covert behavior to undermine and overthrow (Winstow F. T., 2000, Rhinesmith R. 1993 and Mullins L.J.1993).

Leadership

Leadership behavior in work include; directive, supportive, participate and achievement oriented. Grant (2005) observers that type of leadership adopted will highly influence the relationship between the leader and the followers who are employees. The managerial attitude of manipulative where employees are mostly manipulated to serve the organization may create a very bad culture. This is a character of a manager that may be expressed by divide and rule tactics or policies. These tactics may include, not fulfilling promises made, encouraging groups and asking employees to be patriotic in times of crisis in an organization (Furnham A.;, 1997).

This character has a de-motivating impact on employees. This cultural activity of management will make employees of the company to naturally lose interest in work or to some extend, thus the underutilization aspect that is being witnessed in the organizations (Robbins S, 2004 and Miller, D. 1983).

The manager, business owner and board need to actively participate in the implementation of change. Leaders develop a vision, create a logical plan on its implementation and take practical steps to enforce it. Leaders usually identify the need for change within the business. They also communicate their intentions and vision to the stakeholders and persuade them to support their initiative. Change can only be successful through team effort. Resistance to change is one of the major set backs to implementation of change. Communication and education therefore play a key role in the creation of harmony.

Organization culture trend

Everyday some one or the other has to make a decision regarding their life, whether for present or future. However not every decision is for the just and righteousness of the society that is why it is important that one has ethical standards (ACCA P1 2008). These principles and values are dependent on how a person is raised i.e. the surroundings, parents, culture at home or even religion for that matter to determine what is right or wrong. In this way personal values are developed based on which decisions are made in accordance with the ethical framework (Mullins L.J., 1993).

Ethical framework is not present in every one. It is due to such decisions that have resulted in some drastic errors at corporate levels for e.g. the fall of Enron. This is because ethical standards were not promoted as personal gains superseded over the general public’s interest. That is why educational institutions have introduced ethics as a main course. Such as ACCA has introduced an ethical paper so that as years pass by individuals that come in corporate world will understand the purpose of ethics in decision making (ACCA P1, 2008).

That’s why even today companies have made ethics as a part of decision making even at the highest levels. Ethical behavior is considered to be what is considered to be morally right, rather than wrong whereas unethical behavior is against the norm of the society. What is right or wrong is still debatable as legal laws and regulations are also the main influence plus the objective to strive and grow financially.

Even employees face this situation in their everyday life whether it’s obvious or not. For example an auditor can be personally welcomed for diner by the client which will impair his/her objectivity if he/she attends it as relations become strong. Or for that matter, directors are personally liable to shareholders for enhancing their wealth under agency law but then the director has to also look after the public as they are the stakeholder because of which the company survives (Pfeffer J, 1992) and ACCA P1, 2008).

Ethical standards are determined through a thought process but it is usually subjective. That is why quantitative analysis is carried out as a part of an effective decision making, which reduces the subjective nature of decision making. This is because by placing values the picture seems more approachable yet it does not provide the necessary decision (Werhane, PH and RE Freeman 1999 and Pfeffer J, 1992).

Two theories are normally followed by organizations, namely; utilitarian view and individualism. Utilitarian view defines that efforts are directed towards the greater good of the society even if it results in huge loss for the organization. This is an ideal situation for the betterment of public but individualism view states a selfish view to make the individual needs of making profit over the long run over everything else even if the basic rights of citizens are abused (Werhane, PH and RE Freeman 1999 and Pfeffer J, (1992).

This was followed by most organizations at start but now a mixture of the two is carried out by companies as every entity have realized that even if certain costs need to be born to make the public happy, in the long run it will help the organization flourish as its name and image will enhance and earn the due respect. Thus having a sustainable competitive and concrete advantage which may costs millions and a very long time to establish but the benefits minted later on will more than compensate the organization. (Source: ACCA)

Technology has made life a lot easier. Information can be accessed from anywhere for whatever the purpose. But it has also caused trouble for others. It really depends on how one sees it as now due to internet being made available everywhere including cell phones it’s the employees can be reached at any time possible. This creates bit of agitation for workers as employees would be kept on their foot 24/7.

Therefore instead of making life easier, it has made their life a lot more stressful, whereas there are those who see this as a source of relief and comfort. If for example a student needs to provide an assignment to the teacher with the deadline very close, what will happen if lights go off in that students home? The deadline will surely pass but with the help of technology the student would manage to use the laptop (for mobility of data) and go to the neighbors to have access to internet. At this age internet is made accessible everywhere, including cafes which is why it is necessary for each and every person to be technology literate or else be cut off from this world (Werhane, PH and RE Freeman 1999 and ACCA P1, 2008).

Methodology

Qualitative information and quantitative data was collected in the study. The information provided by qualitative case studies helped illustrating, explained and added depth to the findings of quantitative research (Gilbert, 2006: 33).

First, a study of a variety of documents published by academics and researchers informed understanding of current thought and earlier work on the subject.

Face-to-face interviews with randomly selected persons from among those who have recently joined organizations and work in culturally diverse teams as well as the Human Resources personnel in charge of induction and training programs will follow (Gilbert, N. ,2006 Miller, D. ,1983 and Robson, C., 1993). Face-to-face interviews offer the possibility of modifying one’s line of enquiry, following up interesting responses and investigating underlying motives in a way that postal and other self-administrated questionnaires cannot. The semi-structured interviews will cover approximately thirty minutes each. Long interviews lead to biased samples since fewer people can be interviewed (Robson, 1993: 229).

This study requires participation of human subjects, which in turn raises the questions of consent and confidentiality (Robson, 1993). Therefore, at all stages the aims and purpose of this study would communicated to participants and their permission obtained to use information/data generated by them. Where required ratification of the survey and survey instruments, obtained from the college, will form part of the information provided to survey participants. This informed consent also shall promise confidentiality and protection of participants from potentially harmful consequences. In all matters, the law of the land will take precedence over everything (Gilbert, N., 2006) and Miller, D. 1983).

Results and Discussion

Organization culture has been shaped all over organizations. Organization cultures in organization have defined norms and assisted in evolution of norms and the values that are adapted by employees thus shaping organization behavior. There has been an influence on the area at work place due to diversity, introduction of team works and change or increase in the market share by organization culture (Robbins S, 2004).

Organization culture has also been changed by many groups of individuals with diverse culture some of them coming with different cultures which change organization behavior and this is translated into the success of the company (Mullins L.J., 1993). People from the same culture come together in an informal group forming a team which at the end of the day brings together individuals of the same organization assisting in sharing of information thus improving training and development (Furnham A., (1997). Team work from people of the same culture will create rivalry from another team from another culture. This rivalry will be translated into improved productivity, improved quality and encouraged innovation improving employee motivation and commitment (Robbins S, 2004).

Innovation and collaboration has been improved due to a diverse culture of organizations. An organization that employs people of diverse culture is able to collaborate with strategic partners thus embracing culture of diversity. This does not end there; people are able to penetrate market with different cultures thus increasing the market share (Winslow F. T., 2000). Organizations with diverse employees are able to come up with policies which are harassment free.

This is because if you put together people of the same culture as employees, you will find that there will be a problem of the employees to relate with other customers from other cultures, however once this people are of diverse culture relating among the employees becomes very easy ( Hite, L.M. and McDonald, K.S. 2006, Kreitz, P.A. 2008, Moore, S. 1999, Roberson, L., Kulik, C. T. and Pepper, M. B. 2003).

In a nut shell organizational culture and behavior is influenced by the behavior of the people, the processes adapted by the management, and the environment they are working in. In all this, it’s shaped by the diversity of the organization in terms of employees (Robbins S, 2004).

If the employees do not accept various languages, social set up, then the culture of the organization will not be realized. Culture of the organization is influenced by the following factors has shown by the figure below:-

Culture.

Culture plays an important role to the organization since it affects human behavior, organizational behavior, training and development, socializations, company policies and organization culture as shown in the table above. It further leads to globalization and its of great benefit to the organization as a whole (Winslow F. T., 2000 and Mullins L.J. 1993).

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