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Managing Organizational Culture to ensure success and growth

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 5424 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Culture doesn’t have any specific meanings or definition it has many different definition. As (Borosky, 1994, Ortner, 1984) describe that even in Anthropology culture has largely approved or rigid definition. Culture can be defined as a set of values and thoughts which are being followed by the group of people which resulted to the activities and behaviours of the people living in specific society. Although it is has been described as framework to understand ancient societies. (Katter and Heskett, 1992).As societies have set of norm values and beliefs, every Organizations and every business has culture in shape of values, rules and framework to follow which make the Organization unique amongst the other Organizations. In many organizations culture seems to be very crucial and important and it receive a considerable concentration. Culture is as complex and important as it is hard to use and recognize in thoughtful way. According to (Alvesson and Karreman, 2001; McDermott, 1999) Culture is very important for the organizations and companies how they work from day to day leadership, strategic change, which way the knowledge is being shared, maintained and created as well as the relations and dealings of the employees and managers with the customers. Culture is very significant for the success, growth and organizational effectiveness. Organization has the survival because of sharing its system of meanings at different levels (Smircich, 1985). As different countries have different culture, organizations don’t have the same culture as well they all have different values and rites and rituals heroes and myths than each other. It is very easy to recognize the culture of any organizations like McDonalds all the outlets of McDonald’s looks same they all wear same uniform no matter which area of the world they are operating in everything will be at same standard everywhere and anywhere in the world. In some companies is it is easy to recognize culture from their infrastructure, dress code language and customer services and in some organizations it is hard to see but it does not mean there is no culture in that organization in fact culture exist there but hard to judge or see because it is been fragmented sometimes. Any organizations which have strong organizational culture have success in the business. Organizations with strong culture have high degree of influence on the behaviour of the employees and the values of the organizations not only widely share but also held with high intensity. On the other hand company which have weak culture employee’s behaviour may not be consistent.

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Literature review Organizational Culture

In international business studies relationship between national culture and organizational culture has been favourite topic of research for many of the renowned scholars. Organizational culture of different organizations can be different even in the same country. In other words organizations might have generated different characteristics to the national cultures. There is no specific definition of culture scholars have defined culture in different ways.

Culture is intangible that’s why it is always hard to define many scholars have defined it in their own way but describing almost same thing by all of them. Culture of any nation or organization is learnt only when you enter and stay there then culture grow automatically staying there.

The literature on organizational culture is as significant to the management of the private sector as to the public science management. Organizations are assessing critically how they can achieve and describe their objectives and goals. After defining the goals of the organization it is vital to concentrate on the type of culture that is needed to achieve these targets and goals and making that sure that necessary change has been implemented.

Edward B.Tylor used the term ”culture” in 1871 in English literature. After that the early development of the concept of the organizational Culture has been defined by many authors in different ways (Kilman et al, 1985) describe culture ”something to do with the people and unique quality and style of organization” (Deal and Kennedy, 1982) has explained culture” the way we do things here” or the ” expensive non rational qualities of an organization”. The organizational culture become more popular when Deal and Kennedy write the book ”Corporate cultures The Rites and Rituals of Corporate life” then more and more people start talking and researching about the organizational culture after that book.

Organizational culture and National culture:

There are many renowned scholars who have been contributed towards study of culture like Edward Hall, Trompenaars and Hofstede, they all done very good work on culture but Hofstede is known best amongst all for his work in the field of studying culture.

Culture is like that method which help to identify that reason why people from a specific society holds specific beliefs and values and show the behaviour the way they behave will show the culture of that specific nation. Hofstede has contributed very significantly studying different culture around the world which helped many organizations to learn about the nations and to do business by understanding their culture. Hofstede (2001) explain about culture is a shared programming of group of people which differentiate then from others. The usage of the word culture for both organizations and nations give hint that both kinds of cultures are the same phenomenon. The culture of the nation cannot be culture of an organization because they both have different character (Hofstede et al, 2010).The differentiation among Organizational culture and National is that they both have different practices and values. The creation of the National culture based on the early years of people’s lives these are normally very basic values of their lives, whatever they attain living with their family, from school life and from their surroundings on the other hand Organizational culture is learnt when someone start working for any Organization having their own values and then have to follow they practices of any company and these practices are shallow.

Hofstede done the research project with between 1985 and 1987 with the help Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation (IRIC) when he survey the IBM organizational culture in company’s different office in the world. He showed by using this information he established this view that in different countries Managers have different point of view regarding different issues they face, they have different values and attitude for different situations. He came to know about this fact that at National and Organizational level roles of practices against values are completely opposite from each other. His five dimensions are still widely been used to understand any country’s culture and helpful for many organization to study about specific country.

Pettigrew (1979) started to talk about organizational culture’s concept. Anthropological perception of the culture was firstly used by him and he demonstrated how ritual, myths and symbolism can be interrelated in the analysis of organizations. Dandridge et al (1980) described that to reveal the deep structure of an organizational culture how significant and helpful is to study about these symbols and myths.

When in early 1980s the concept of organizational culture was one of the favourite and emerging topics to talk and write about for that reason many scholars defined and give their prospective about organizational culture in different ways. Van Maanen (1979) defined organizational culture as behavioural rules in human interaction which can be observed. Deal and Kennedy (1982) argues about organizational culture the values which are prevailing in an organization. (Tcihy,1982) compare organizational culture with a glue he says organizational culture hold the organization in the same way the way glue hold the different objects together and don’t let them apart. According to Forehand and Von Gilmer (1964) culture is a collection of qualities of any organization that differentiate and portray it from other organizations. (Titiev, 1959) suggests that culture can be shared and learnt. Organizational culture can be illustrated through behaviours, notions, activities and analysis of associates of the organization (Hellett, 2003). Organizational culture also has been defined by the (Van Maanen, 1979) as a those rules of behaviour which can be visible in human relations. (Robbins, 1998) states organizational culture as a perception inside the organization which is consistent. Many of other authors describe that organizational culture is set of norms, mutual ethics and philosophy (Barney, 1986). As suggested by (Yanagi, 1994, p ii) organizational culture ”Philosophies and values shared by the members of organization and their behavioural patterns for translating them in to action”

Schein (1989, 1992) has one of the best definitions of the organizational culture.

Schein (1989) describe organizational culture ” a pattern of basic assumptions- invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration- that has worked enough to be considered valid and therefore, to be taught to new members as well as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relations to those problems ” (Schein, 1989, p. 9). As (Graves, 1986, p, 11) defined about organizational culture as a different ways to steady the performance and behaviour of the employees. Organizational culture acts like a bonding agent which keeps the organization together (Kramer, 19974 and Foy, 1974). This definition provides backup to the Graves idea of Organizational culture.

(Frost, et al.1985) described organizational culture as a effort of members of an organization by which they share their ideas and help each other and these things work like barriers which detach outsiders from insiders. Some of them say culture is that tool which is capable of resolve all inconveniences caused by the circumstances that people face and come across in any organization. Many scholars has defined that culture should not be taken as a static but it’s a process which is developing.

Morgan (1986) defined culture as the approach of individuals’ creation and recreation of their own world. As described by Schein (1989) as time passes Organizational culture changes as well and changes its organizational functioning as well. Schein and Morgan both have same point of view on that in refining and reforming the culture of any organization key individuals have to play very vital role in this process. According to Schein (1992) ”the key to organizational excellence is organizational culture and creation and management of the culture is the function of leadership.”

Different Dimensions of Organizational culture

To investigate the organizational culture many researchers have used different methods, terms and techniques to portray the real picture of the organizational culture according to their way. They have been using many different terms to explain the organizational culture like variables, level, mechanism, scope and elements of organizational culture. As Schein (1989) have stated about many cultural factors about the recognition of any organizational culture like someone can know about culture of any organization by looking at the building structure, attitude and ideas and communication style , how they behave new staff and how they coup with the daily incidences. Shcein have divided organizational culture in to three levels.

Levels of culture and their interaction

Artefacts and Creations



Visible and audible behaviour patterns


Testable in the physical environment

Testable only by social consensus

Basis Assumptions Relationship to environment Nature of reality, time and space Nature of human nature

Nature of human activity

Nature of human relationships

Source: Schein’s (1992) model of

Organisational culture.

Visible but often not decipherable

Greater level of awareness

Taken for granted Invisible Preconscious

Artefacts level one:

In any organizational culture Artefacts are more visible and can been seen and recognize very easily whenever you entered or hang around in any organization. Artefact are visible so these can be recognize easily in any company these includes the technology organization is using, which dress codes company is following building structures and what kind of behaviour is being shown between the boss and subordinate.

Anyone can recognize easily by looking things like different restaurants like McDonalds someone can easily recognize from the logo of that uniform and furniture and structure of the restaurant even uniform which is worn by the staff. People can easily judge the culture of McDonalds behaviour of the staff towards customers. Different type of organizations has diverse culture than each other and you can recognize is very easily. As Schein (1992) give an example of two different companies to explain the different organization. First he talks about the (DEC) Digital Equipment Corporation and Ciba-Geigy. In DEC where people have often meetings with each other they don’t wear any formal dress or stay behind the doors they have open space office environment and you can see swiftness on the other hand in Ciba-Geigy people were not allowed to wear informal dress they were locked behind the doors and conversations were very quiet and you can see the slow movement as well. Anyone as a new customer or employee might can be fond of or don’t like the way both organizations are different from each other and how they differently present each other but no one can know at this level or in beginning why they are doing this. No one can know the culture as long as they are not able to talk about their feeling about what they have observed and feel about the organization without getting information from insider.

Espoused values: level 2

According to Schein (1985) values show the way to understand and getting awareness about the culture of any organization. These values are very important part of any organization. Moral and ethical codes are connected with the values. Values can be myths and success stories of the success and even causes of failure in any project and organization, mottoes of any organization. In real life it’s very hard to find a difference between values and beliefs. Values and beliefs examples can be if a company and or staff of the company values honesty and do his work honestly and integrity and keep working like that can be value of the organization on the other hand if we talk about belief we can say to increase the output of any organization by giving performance related pay or spending more money on the campaign of any product we can increase the sale these can be belief. By using the values as medium, beliefs of the leaders are transferable as collective beliefs of the organization (Schein, 1985a). Schein proposes that where there’s any problem arises in the company then leader always have to give their suggestions for the solution of the problem for instance they will suggest to enhance the output because enhanced output will raise profitability of the organization.

Basic Assumptions level 3

Basic assumptions are hidden and taken for granted. According to Schein (1981) basic assumptions can be used to define the culture. Human nature and human relationship come under the basic assumptions. Basic assumptions can be People’s emotions and feelings about other things. Assumptions are very hard to modify as compare to beliefs. As assumptions have deep rotes and hard to recognize on the other hand beliefs can be detected easily. It can be recognized at work by looking at the relationship of staff and manager at work place or how people do observation of attitudes of their other colleagues.

Organizational culture

Typologies for Organizational Culture:

In organizational culture there are many kind of categorization and typologies have been explained by different scholars of culture. Theses typologies give and over view about the different cultures which exist in organizations. The scholars who talk about organizational culture typologies Harrison (1972) was first person then these typologies had been modified by the Handy (1978, 1985) then Deal and Kennedy (1982) did some work on them and in the end Quinn and McGrath(1985) and Scholz (1987) described about these typologies.

Handy (1985) was the person who discussed how different cultures have their existence in different organizations and within the same organization many diverse cultures can coexist. There are very few organizations exist who have a single culture exists in them. Every individual have its own culture within him and have his own specific personality and culture along with organizational culture. Organizational culture and structure of any organization are connected with each other. In organizations A few subcultures and cultures will be well-suited and other will not be suited. Handy (1985) talked about four kinds of eminent cultures and each of these cultures had a linked culture. These cultures are explained below in detail.

Charles Hendy (1985) Typologies of organizational culture

Source: Handy (1985) Four Cultural Typologies

The Power Culture:

The power culture relies on single central source of power in the organization. It will lead to low morale and high turnover on the positions of middle management. The power culture is like web which has different strings attached to the central point for the facilitation and co ordination of any action. The power is distributed from one single power source in the middle. Handy (1985) give linked this terminology with the culture of the ”Zeus”. He was the leader of the gods of mountains.

The power culture can be seen in small entrepreneurial organizations. For the effectiveness of the power culture it is dependable on personal communications, faith and understanding. Individuals have to work what they have been asked to do without asking many questions. Advantage of this system is that there’s no delay in decisions because it has one central source of power so decisions are made quickly. As the size of the organization increases due to many different activities web breaks because of its span and activities. In this system the boss can choose people on key level position with his own will with restrictions to consult someone. If appropriate personnel not have been recruited for these positions.

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The Role Culture:

The role culture is bureaucratic culture. This is most commonly used and understandable culture. Handy (1985) present it like Greek temple which represents the god of reasons. Where powers are equally distributed amongst the specialist in their field and at the top small group of executive control and coordinate all the departments comes under their authority. In the role culture Job description procedures and rules are more important than the person who is performing a specific job. In this culture promotions are given on the bases of performances given by the individuals. The power of the role culture is depends on the specialist of the organization like production department, finance department and purchasing department etc. The Role culture organization is most of the time is successful where the market is stable and the life of the product is long. The examples of role culture organizations are retail banking, oil and automobile industries, insurance companies and civil services. The problem with this kind of structure is that recognition and reaction to change in these organizations is very slow. These organization will not be satisfying for those individuals who power-oriented and it will be very satisfying for those people who liken who like certainty and protection and for those people who want to get success by accomplishing a role and getting professional proficiency without taking risk.

The task culture:

The task culture is mostly result, performance and project oriented and management is mostly concerned with the solutions of the problems in successful manner. Handy (1985) represented this culture like a net with some of its strands are thinner and thicker than each other. Matrix organizational structure is one of the examples of the task culture where manipulation and supremacy lies where the strands meet. Task culture is very flexible and adaptable to the changes and is a team culture. The emphasise of this culture is task so after every project teams , task forces, task teams and groups can be continued , reproduced or abundant quickly. To attain the desirable outcomes suitable means, right people for the right job with all the decision making power are brought together. The task culture is suitable for the market where competition exists, where product life stays for the short span of time and where importance is given to the speed of reaction to the environment. Examples for the task cultures can be advertising, marketing agencies and general management consultancies. There is high degree of control over the work by the individuals in task culture. In the task culture individuals are judged by the results, flexibility, and adaptability at the bases of their ability rather than age or position in the group. It is difficult to control the task culture. The task culture has a tendency to change into power or role culture when the total organization is not successful or there are limited resources or as a flexible group organization is too large to organize.

The Person Culture:

The person culture is formed when in the best interest of a group of people decide to create organization on combined bases rather than solely. These kinds of organizations are established by the doctors, lawyers, architects and some other small consultancy firms they make this to share the space of the office, cost, equipment etc. The person culture can be seen as galaxy of stars or scattered dots. In this culture individuals are self oriented. The individuals allocate work for themselves with their own rules. Mutual consent can be the only mechanism of control in the task culture. According to the expertise roles are appointed and influence is shared and it is not easy to manage the individuals within them. When this organization start achieving its objects then it start imposing task culture on its

Individuals and it start acting like task culture and then often reshape as role culture or power culture in the organization.

Cultural dimensions of Hofstede (1980)

Hofsted (1980) gathered data from the survey he done with the employees of IBM in various countries. He concludes that different managers have different opinion, strength, attitude and values towards different issues. Hofstede (1980) divide culture in five different dimensions these dimensions are

Power distance

Individualism vs collectivism

Masculinity vs femininity

Uncertainty avoidance

Long term orientation

In this scenario UK firm in going to open outlets in China and India which have totally different cultures than each other. The differences in cultures between UK, India and China are shown in graphs below which will help to understand these differences.

Hofstede (1980) Different cultural dimensions between UK and China

Source: (Hofstede 1980)

Hofstede (1980) Different cultural dimensions between UK and India

Source: (Hofstede, 1980)

) PDI Power Distance Index

IDV Individualism

MAS Masculinity

UAI Uncertainty Avoidance Index

LTO Long-Term Orientation

Source: (Hofstede, 1980)

All the Hofstede (1980) dimensions are being explained below.

Power distance

Power distance refers towards the unequal distribution of powers within the organizations and acceptance of a less power full member on inequality of powers amongst its fellow member in organization. Inequalities have a tendency to be decreased in low power distance nations, activities are more likely to be decentralized and it is expected that subordinate to be consulted by their seniors and position and rights are less obvious then the high power distance organizations. Organizations in UK have less power distance as compare to China and India because both countries have high power distance.

Individualism and collectivism

This dimension explore about the relationship of any individual with other individuals around him does he care about them or don’t. Ties are very loose between the individuals. In Individualistic societies they will just look after their immediate member of family not everyone and have a great deal of liberty in their actions but on the other hand collectivist societies have more strong ties between individuals. They treat each other as family. UK is an individualistic society on the other hand China and India are collectivist countries and has very strong ties between the individuals in both countries.

Masculinity and femininity

Masculinity and femininity give the description of any society the role of gender is noticeably diverse. Social common role are undoubtedly distinctive In Masculinity societies social distribution has been maximized where women have more focus on quality of life are humble and caring and men consider to be tough guy who will earn and have more concentration on materialistic things. In these societies managers are more decision power and self-confident. In these societies there is a lot differences in gender roles. In feminist societies men and women both are self-effacing and both are worried about the quality of life. In these societies more emphasis is on equal opportunities, team spirit. Dialogues and settlement are used to solve the problems.

China and UK have almost equal score in this dimension while India is bit low in the score comparing to UK.

Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance deals with that how member of any society consider frighten from unexpected and unpredicted circumstances. People from the high uncertainty avoidance societies have a tendency to intolerant, less aggressive and don’t take risks on unpredicted things they consider time is money and more conscious, punctual and they like to be busy. In low certainty avoidance people are more tolerant and risk takers and not hard workers all the time just when they need to be. They are punctual. In this dimension India is lower in graph then UK but China is higher in graph then UK.

Long term and short term orientation

Long term orientation vs short term orientation refers towards truth and virtue. People live in long term orientations societies they have more respect for the values and traditions and it is very hard to change them on the other hand societies with short term orientation people tend to adopt the modern trends. China has long term orientations with top of the graph and then India and UK has short term orientation.

Organizational culture and performance

According to many scholars there is a correlation between performance and organizational culture. Stewart (2007) described that the goal of any organizations is profitability. He further stated that beliefs and attitude of the employees are the best elements of work culture. Organizations in different countries give attention to different things .Organization’s performance can be evaluated by the growth and profitability of that specific organization. Nash (1993) stated that to identify the success of any organization profitability is the best indicator if organization is doing good or not. Doyle (1994) explains that in western companies the most common measure of the performance is profitability. Organizational culture helps the productivity of the organization. According to Gallagher and Brown (2007) for the greater performance of the business organization culture is significant feature. Stewart (2010) stated that the norms of the culture in the organization have powerful influence on organization and these norms increase profitability and performance. Organizations which have powerful culture, values and traits perform very well as compare to others who don’t have these qualities. (Perters & Waterman, 1992) Deal and Kennedy (1982) described that strong shared values help organizations to improve their performance.

Managing Organizational Culture change

Change is described very well by the Kanter et al (1992, p.11) ” the shift of the behaviour of the whole organization, to one degree or another”.

According to the Senge et al (1999, p .14) organizational change is the method of internal adaptations of the change in the surroundings by any organization. As stated by the (Robbins, 1990) one should understand that change is not that can immediately occurs, ought to be intended and planned process to maintain an organization practical and existing.

According to Pretchitt and Pound classified change in three categories which a bit different from the Johnson and Scholes (1999) these are

Development change is that change where organization try perform better what they all ready performing

Transitional change is that change in which organization implement totally new methods replacing old ones.

Transformational change in this change organization do major overhaluling of its structure, vision and strategy and change bring evolution in the organization.

Managing culture in the organization is very important these days when every day new technology is coming and there is so much competition in the market to stay on the top. Organizations are going through a big cycle of cultural change these days from daily tasks to improving customer satisfaction, performance and profitability. Scholars have Many organizations are investing so much in new emerging markets like India and China due to increasing power of purchase in these countries and there are more opportunities for the big organizations to make profits in these countries due to low labour costs. Organizations which are investing in these countries face many problems and challenges in changing organizational culture in those countries, failing to do so can lead them to closure of low performance and less profitability in business and in the worse scenario may be they have to face closure of business or doing mergers with local partners. One of the main problems for them to implement change in the organization which can be hard and painful process because it’s not compulsory that change get successful it can go either way. To confront the forces against that management or change organizations have to think about the cultural values and beliefs in order to survive in the changing world, though many scholars are agreed on that change can’t be implemented by force. Many scholars have given different models of changing. Lewin (1952) was one the leading scholars who gave the model of change who gave the idea of unfreezing, moving and refreezing, Robert and Brown (1992) present change model which was adopted from Lewin(1952), Beyer ,Trice(1988) and Isabella(1990). He presented three mechanisms first is mechanism of freezing then mechanism of experimentation and third and last mechanism is refreezing. Schein (1985) also made a model of change management is based on the Lundberg (1985) model of life which represent development of an organization and a range of methods of changing the culture.

John .P Kotter (1996) give very good model of change in his famous book ”Leadin


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