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Organisational Culture - Niit

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Students what do you all think Organizational Culture is ? Can you all define it in your own way....

In the 1980's, we saw an increase in the attention paid to organizational culture as an important determinant of organizational success. Many experts began to argue that developing a strong organizational culture is essential for success. While the link between organizational culture and organizational effectiveness is far from certain, there is no denying that each organization has a unique social structure and that these social structures drive much of the individual behavior observed in organizations. We will leave the question of the relationship between culture and effectiveness for another discussion.

What is organizational culture?

A single definition of organizational culture has proven to be very elusive. No one definition of organizational culture has emerged in the literature. One of the issues involving culture is that it is defined both in terms of its causes and effect. For example, these are the two ways in which cultures often defined.

1. Outcomes- Defining culture as a manifest pattern of behavior- Many people use the term culture to describe patterns of cross individual behavioral consistency For example, when people say that culture is "The way we do things around here," they are defining consistent way is in which people perform tasks, solve problems, resolve conflicts, treat customers, and treat employees.

2. Process- Defining culture as a set of mechanisms creating cross individual behavioral consistency- In this case culture is defined as the informal values, norms, and beliefs that control how individuals and groups in an organization interact with each other and with people outside the organization.

Both of these approaches are relevant to understanding culture. It is important to know on what types of behavior culture has greatest impact (outcomes) and how culture works to control the behavior of organizational members. We will address these two questions later in the module.

Functions of organizational culture

1. Behavioral control

2. Encourages stability

3. Provides source of identity

Draw backs of culture

1. Barrier to change and improvement

2. Barrier to diversity

3. Barrier to cross departmental and cross organizational cooperation

4. Barrier to mergers and acquisitions

What Types of Behavior Does Culture Control?

Using the outcome approach, cultures are described in terms of the following variables:

* Innovation versus Stability- The degree to which organizational members are encouraged to be innovative, creative and to take risks.

* Strategic versus Operational Focus- The degree to which the members of the management team focus on the long term big picture versus attention to detail.

* Outcome versus Process Orientation- The degree to which management focuses on outcomes, goals and results rather than on techniques, processes, or methods used to achieve these results.

* Task Versus Social Focus- The relative emphasis on effect of decisions on organizational members and relationships over task accomplishment at all costs

* Team versus Individual orientation- The degree to which work activities are organized around teams rather than individuals

* Customer Focus versus Cost Control- The degree to which managers and employees are concerned about customer satisfaction and Service rather than minimizing costs

* Internal verses External Orientation- The degree to which the organization focuses on and is adaptive to changes in its environment

Cultural Control Mechanisms

How does organizational culture control the behavior of organizational members? If consistent behavioral patterns are the outcomes or products of a culture, what is it that causes many people to act in a similar manner? There are four basic ways in which a culture, or more accurately members of a reference group representing a culture, creates high levels of cross individual behavioral consistency. There are:

* Social Norms

Social norms are the most basic and most obvious of cultural control mechanisms. In its basic form, a social norm is simply a behavioral expectation that people will act in a certain way in certain situations. Norms (as opposed to rules) are enforced by other members of a reference group by the use of social sanctions. Norms have been categorized by level.

A. Peripheral norms are general expectations that make interactions easier and more pleasant. Because adherence of these norms is not essential to the functioning of the group, violation of these norms general results in mild social sanctions.

B. Relevant norms encompass behaviors that are important to group functioning. Violation of these norms often results in non-inclusion in important group functions and activities

C. Pivotal norms represent behaviors that are essential to effective group functioning. Individuals violating these norms are often subject to expulsion from the group.

 Shared Values

As a cultural control mechanism the keyword in shared values is shared. The issue is not whether or not a particular individual's behavior can best be explained and/or predicted by his or her values, but rather how widely is that value shared among organizational members, and more importantly, how responsible was the organization/culture in developing that value within the individual. What is a value? Any phenomenon that is some degree of worth to the members of giving groups: The conception of the desirable that establishes a general direction of action rather than a specific objective. Values are the conscious, affective desires or wants of people that guide their behavior

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