There was a time when my team was assigned to a large multi-department project that was challenging but could serve as a big breakthrough for the company. I felt motivated because management strongly encouraged the workforce, communicating well and emphasizing the importance. We were promised significant resources and support needed. While the work had specific guidelines, employees were also encouraged to offer inputs that could potentially improve any processes. The organization was employee-friendly while remaining highly competitive, and it had a vision of bringing innovation and collaboration to its products. The organizational culture sought to foster an environment of pushing employees to be their best, offering support to stimulate high performance, and rewarding those who embrace the vision.
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When interning at another firm, there were consistently situations where I felt unmotivated, and the general morale of the staff was low. It was a firm that strongly focused on results and bottom-line outcomes for the firm, not the process. They sought to generate performance through the ‘carrot and the stick approach. Employees were put under pressure to deliver results at all costs possible. While those who did were rewarded more than fairly, it was creating a toxic environment where individual achievements and performance results were valued more than teamwork, innovation, and employee longevity. Potentially, competitive environments can be good to boost performance levels, but being a part of this culture consistently can be demoralizing. The organizational vision should be balanced to take into account not only the end-game performance but the process of reaching the results as well. Companies that foster collaboration, wellness, and sustainability of human resources alongside those expectations of high performance do better than instigate competitive vision and culture but quickly burn out employees and have no environments to foster creativity.
Organizational mission, vision, and values are more than abstract statements for marketing purposes, they can truly define an organization in its day-to-day operations and the environment/culture that forms within. Strategies that organizations undertake closely relate to these, as these strategies should either strive to fulfill the mission and vision or abide by the principles of ethics and values for which an organization stands. For example, one of Starbucks’ organizational values is to apply the highest standards of excellence in the purchasing and delivery of coffee. Therefore, when negotiating a new source of its coffee beans, the company does due diligence to ensure that coffee is sustainably grown and harvested, that local communities are benefited, and that it meets the quality expectations that the company sets for its products.
Similarly, an organizational culture depends strongly on the combination of values of both the company and the people working in it. The mission, vision, and values are vital cornerstones in developing organizational culture and direct organizational strategy. This can range from the qualifications and assessments that the company is looking for in new hires to its policies, practices, performance evaluation, communication, promotions, and other elements (SHRM, n.d.). Changing organizational culture is increasingly one of the most difficult aspects to achieve. That is because once an organizational culture is established, it becomes an intertwined set of goals, processes, values, attitudes, communications, and ethics. These elements are a mutually reinforcing system. Any culture for change implies comprehensive shifts to these elements on a large-scale undertaking (Denning, 2011). For example, Apple Inc. maintains a unique and innovative company culture because of the influence and intertwining collaboration of the said elements. In other words, its mission statement is seen in its strategies, while its values are seen in its functional processes of technology development. Therefore, while Apple does inspire and support innovation, it will not implement any technology in its products or services until it meets the high standards that the company has.
Denning, S. (2011). How do you change an organizational culture? Forbes. Web.
SHRM. (n.d.). Understanding and developing organizational culture. Web.