Organizational Culture: the set of shared, taken-for-granted implicit assumptions that a group holds and that determines how it perceives, thinks about, and reacts to its various environments.

· the fundamental assumptions about an org.'s values, beliefs, norms, symbols, language, rituals, and myths that give meaning to org. membership and are collectively accepted by a group as guides to expected behaviors

· "the way we do things around here"

· passed on to new employees through socialization

· "the set of shared beliefs, values, and assumptions that get everyone headed in the same direction" (persist over time and can be resistant to change)

--addresses issues such as:

-how does our org. relate to its environment?

-how do we learn and communicate?

-what do we expect of people and relationships?

==> as answers emerge through actions and behaviors that seem to work, they become incorporated into patterned sets of fundamental assumptions that create an enduring cultural system

--often strongly influenced (if not determined) by org. leader (either past or present)

· Cultural assumptions assert themselves through socialization of new employees, subculture clashes (culture operates at different levels), and top management behavior.

Layers of Culture:

· Observable artifacts (e.g., dress, acronyms, awards, myths, stories, ceremonies, parking spaces)

· Espoused Values:

Values: 1) are concepts or beliefs

2) pertain to desirable end-states or behaviors

3) transcend situations

4) guide selection or evaluation of behavior or events

5) are ordered by relative importance

Espoused values: the explicitly stated values and norms that are preferred by an organization (e.g., our “core values and guiding principles”)

--they are generally established by the founder or top

management team

--they constitute aspiratins that are explicitly communicated

to employees

Enacted values: the values and norms that are actually exhibited or

converted into employee behavior

- organizations should work to reduce gaps between espoused

and enacted values

· Basic Assumptions unobservable and represent the core of organizational culture

o organizational values that have become so taken for granted over time that they become assumptions that guide organizational behavior

o highly resistant to change

o employees would be shocked to see behavior inconsistent with these assumptions

How do you read Org. Culture?

· Shared things (objects)

· Shared sayings (talk)

· Shared doings (behavior)

· Shared feelings (emotion)

How do you read Org. Culture? (Cont’d)

· Ask, observe, read, feel:

--formal statements of philosophy, mission, vision, values (recruiting,

selection, socialization)

--design of physical space, work environments, and buildings


--find meaning in org. rites

--deliberate role modeling, training, teaching, coaching

--legends (P&G's Ivory soap--99 1/4% pure)

--slogans, language, acronyms (jargon), sayings

--Symbols: material objects that connote meanings beyond their intrinsic content: buildings, décor, slogans, perks (cars, jets, etc.).

--Stories, legends, myths

--Ceremonies are celebrations of the corporate values and assumptions.

--Statements of principle define the culture in writing by making explicit statements of the ways the company will work, by offering a code

of ethics.

--rewards, status symbols, promotion criteria, measures, goals &

practices (e.g., recruitment, selection, development, retirement)

--leader behavior and reactions

--workflow and organizational structure (e.g., hierarchy)

How an organization manages or responds to each of the cultural

elements describes its culture.

An organization's culture plays several important roles:

1) It provides a sense of identity for members.

· helps socialize new members

· often people hired based on belief about whether they will fit in--this has strong implications

· new members socialized in: indoctrinated into ways of org. and its cultural norms, or unwritten codes of behavior

-- experienced mbrs. socialize newcomers in the ways of the culture, which involves changing attitudes and beliefs to achieve an internalized commitment to the org.

2) It generates collective commitment to the organization's mission.

3) It promotes social system stability.

· extent to which the work environment is perceived as positive and reinforcing, and conflict and change are managed effectively.

4) It shapes behavior by helping members make sense of their surroundings.

· Why org. does what it does and how it will accomplish its long-term goals.

What kind of culture desirable?

-- strong culture, but drawbacks can be constraint to the shift to new, more flexible behaviors

-- problem with weak culture (no consistency of beliefs and values) is that people are not sure what is expected of them, much less how org. believes it will succeed

-- depends on strength (strong creates goal alignment, motiv., and control), fit (aligned with external envt. & strategy), and adaptivity (to change)

How do you get a strong culture?

· Leadership and vision

Different Types of Organizational Culture

-- constructive, passive-defensive, and aggressive-defensive: all associated with different normative beliefs (an individual’s thoughts and beliefs about how members of a group or organization are expected to approach their work and interact with others)

* constructive: achievement, self-actualizing, humanistic-encouraging, affiliative

* passive-defensive: (threat) approval, conventional, dependent, avoidance

* aggressive-defensive: (cutthroat) oppositional, power, competitive, perfectionistic

Cultures Within Organizations: One or Many?

- Large organizations often have several cultures within them.

- Subcultures form among people with similar attitudes and values along occupational, professional, functional, or geographic lines.

- The dominant culture is the overarching personality of an organization, its core values.

Organizational Subcultures: localized subsystems of values and assumptions that give meaning to the common interests of smaller clusters of people within the overall org.

--Potential impacts of subcultures:

(1) serve to enhance the dominant culture

(2) be independent of dominant culture

(3) function as countercultures

The Formation and Maintenance of Organizational Culture: How is Organizational Culture Created?

- Company founders are key in setting the attitudes and values of the company.

- The organization's experience with its extended environment creates the niche the company seeks to fill.

- How do leaders build flexible, responsive cultures?

-- the first generation develops a culture (founders and group members)

-- the second generation adapts a culture

-- evolutionary growth followed by revolutionary upheaval

--often involves a change in leadership

- The practical applications of this are many:

- Interventions to change attitudes or performance must be tailored to each group within an organization.

- There needs to be increased contact across functions to reinforce the shared values and beliefs.

- Small events can carry big messages.

Organizational Culture: Its Consequences and Capacity to Change

- Culture impacts:

- organizational performance. There is no compelling evidence that one organizational culture is better than another at influencing for optimum performance.

- length of employment: associated with intentions to quit

- person-organization fit. How closely individual values and goals match the organization's.

- employee behavior and attitudes

- mergers

Why and How Does Organizational Culture Change?

- Changes in external events, markets, technology, government policies, etc., force organizations to change, and hence their cultures to change.

- There are three main forces for organizational change:

- Composition of the workforce. Over time, the people entering an organization change it.

- Mergers and acquisitions.

- Planned organizational change.

The Organizational Socialization Process

· Process by which a person learns the values, norms, and required behaviors which permit him to participate as a member of the organization—“learning the ropes”

Three phases:

1) Anticipatory (Getting in) – Socialization actually begins before people accept a job. They aquire information about their company and job from friends, relatives, and recruiters

· Need realistic job previews: provide accurate info. about job

2) Encounter: when employment contract signed

· Potential for entry shock: negative reaction that occurs when new employees are surprised when entering an organization

· Breaking in: begins when indiv. assumes his/her responsibilities. This is when the individual learns the org.’s culture.

· Orientation programs help newcomers through this.

3) Change and Acquisition (Settling in) is when the indiv. attains full membership. May be marked by a formal event. This is the most significant stage and is the most permanent.

Effective socialization:

a) AVOIDS sink-or-swim

b) heavily involves managers during the encounter stage to ensure effective and positive socialization of values and procedures

c) train new employees to use proactive socialization behaviors

d) recognizes that these processes will be different for every individual (recognize diversity issues)

Mentoring: One-on-One Socialization

· Process of forming and maintaining an intensive and lasting developmental relationship between a senior person (mentor) and a junior person (protégé).

· When an experienced employee, the mentor, advises, counsels, etc., a new employee, the protegee the protegee's career can receive a significant long-term boost.

What Do Mentors Do?

· Career functions:



--Challenging assignments


--Exposure and visibility

· Psychosocial functions:

--Role modeling --Counseling

--Acceptance-and-confirmation --Friendship

1. Mentors do whatever is necessary to help their protégées' careers. As a consequence, there is competition for mentors among newcomers. Those who gain a mentor are often best at impression management.

2. These relationships must be beneficial to BOTH members to last.

Today the mentoring function is often provided by a network of people

How do Mentoring Relationships Form and Change?

1. The selection and matching process is complex. Both parties, mentor and protegee are involved.

2. Would-be protegees:

· seek personal interactions with their boss.

· negotiate terms of their relationship directly.

· express a willingness to exceed expectations.

3. Non-protegees tend to:

· try to put themselves in a favorable light.

· demonstrate conformity to formal role requirements.

4. Mentor-protegee‚ relationships have several distinct phases:

1. Initiation - lasts from six months to one year. This is the start of the relationship.

2. Cultivation - is the second phase, may last two to five years. The bond between mentor and protegee deepens, and the protegee‚ makes rapid career progress.

3. Separation - in this third phase the protegee‚ breaks free of his/her mentor. It may occur because the mentor feels unable to continue to help the protegee.

4. Redefinition - is the final stage, the bond becomes one of friendship and equality.

C. Gender, Race, and Mentoring

1. Various factors play a role in mentoring relationships:

· People feel most comfortable around people like themselves.

· Women tend to be less willing to be mentors than men.

· Male managers are concerned about being mentors for women.

Ethics: study of moral issues and choices

· Right v. wrong

· Good v. bad

· The many shades of grey

Model of Ethical Behavior

· Individual decision-maker (personality, values, moral principles, personal experience)

· Sources of influence:

o Cultural (family, education, religion, media/entertainment)

o Organizational (culture, codes, role models, pressure for results, rewards)

o Political/Legal/Economic

Don’t underestimate the impact of pressure for results, comparison (competition) with “peers,” reward systems (lack of punishment for unethical behavior)

How to improve ethical climate

· Behave ethically yourself

· Screen potential employees

· Develop a meaningful code of ethics

· Provide ethics training

· Reinforce ethical behavior

· Create positions, units, and other structural mechanisms to deal with ethics

From India, Gurgaon

Dear CHR and citehr members,
The topic on organizational culture has received alot of contributions and enlightment...both have been very insightful. However I have two questions
1. To what extent does societal/community culture influence organizational culture...are there any published or studies that have been done to explicate this?
2. If societal/community culture influnce and negatively affect organization goals and performance...what would be appropriate approaches to rectify this?
Moses J. Emanuel

From Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam

If you are knowledgeable about any fact, resource or experience related to this topic - please add your views.

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