A set of shared values that support organizational members


Organizational culture is the independent variable for this study. Numerous definitions and models of organizational culture can find in the organizational studies' literature. For example, Smith (2004) has mentioned that culture is the web of tacit understandings, boundaries, common language, and shared expectations maintained over time by the members .Various researchers have developed models to characterize organizational culture that some of them will be mentioned in following:

Organizational culture is discussed by many researches as:

• A set of shared values that support organizational members to understand the

organizational functions and thus guides their behavior and their thinking.

(Desphande and Webster, 1989).

• A pattern of shared basic assumptions that are learnt by the group at the time of solving the external adaptation/internal integration problems that can be considered valid as it is working well, and can be taught to the new peoples as the proper method to perceive, think, and feel regarding those problems ( Schein, 2004).

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• The organizational culture reflects the common ideas that people usually have in their heads. It carries a sense of identity to the employees providing them unwritten and often unspoken guidelines in order to find out the way of getting along in the organization; it also improves the social system's stability that they experience. The culture of an organization is reflected by the things that are valued, the prevailing leadership styles, the symbols and language, the procedures and routines, and the definitions of success which makes the organization a distinct one (Cameron and Quinn, 2006).

. Culture is the web of silent agreement, limitations, common language, and shared expectations which are maintained by the members over time (Smith, 2004).

In order to characterize the organizational culture, different models are developed by the researchers which will be explained briefly in the following:

Geert Hofstede's model

Geert Hofstede (2001,1988) is as an influential contributor to the body of knowledge on culture and workplace differences. His work has largely originated from a large-scale research program including the IBM employees (International Business Machines) corporation in 40 countries. By focusing on one organization, Hofstede felt that the results can be linked clearly to the national cultural difference. Arguing that culture as a 'collective programming' or software of the mind, the researcher identified five dimensions of culture namely, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism , masculinity and long short term orientation( Hofstede,2001; Hofstede and Bond, 1988).

Power distance refers to the way of looking at the hierarchies of an unequal power distribution. Primarily it is used to classify inequality levels in the organizations which are claimed by Hofstede to be dependent on the management style, willingness of subordinates to disagree with the superiors and the educational level and status accruing to specific roles. Another aspect is uncertainty avoidance which refers to the extent of threat that the members of a society feel by different situations and being comfortable or uncomfortable with uncertainty and little structure. The third dimension is individualism which depicts the relatively individualistic or collectivist ethic evident in a particular society. This is the extent to which persons are assumed to be self- sufficient and take care of themselves versus being more unified into a group. The following category suggested by Hofstede is masculinity which refers to a continuum between 'masculine' characteristics (e.g., assertiveness and competitiveness) and 'feminine' traits (e.g., caring, a stress on the life quality and relevance with the environment). This dimension reflects the hardness versus the softness and the toughness versus the tenderness in a culture. The fifth dimension of culture, long- short term orientation is initially labeled as the Confucian work dynamism. Countries which are scored high on the Confucian work dynamism or the long- term orientation have exhibited a strong concern with time along a continuum and were both past and future oriented, with a preoccupation with tradition but also a concern with the effect of actions and policies on future generations. This do with the members that have cultures related to an attitude on immediate, or delayed, satisfaction. Accordingly, Hofstede emphasizes particularly on the matter that the national culture and organizational culture are dissimilar in essence. National culture is mainly derived from the consistency in values; while the organizational culture is stemmed mostly from the consistency in practices ( Hofstede, 2001; Hofstede and Bond, 1988).

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Denison's model

Denison's model is another type of organizational culture models which is grown out of Denison's (2000) effort in developing an integrative theory of organizational culture that explains how culture is related to the organizational effectiveness and recognize a comprehensive set of traits and value characteristics enabling a complete understanding of the culture effectiveness relationship. It also provides further intuitions as to the particular processes by which these characteristics facilitate or inhibit effectiveness (Yilmaz and Ergun, 2008). Denison, Haaland and Goelzer (2004) state that the model is based on four cultural traits of effective organizations which are: involvement, consistency, adaptability, and mission. The model specifies that each trait is measured by three indexes. The involvement trait, for example is composed of three component indexes which are empowerment, team orientation, and capability development. A cultural profile which highly scores on the involvement trait help organizations to achieve internal merging of resources by making a sense of ownership and responsibility. Correspondingly, Denison (2000) considers the consistency trait critical in order to achieve the internal integration regarding its ability to facilitate the coordination of activities. Unlike involvement which emphasizes flexibility, consistency focuses on the stability involving three core-valued components which are agreement, coordination and integration.

Adaptability trait is also explained by Denison (2000) as the one concerning the way of coping the organizations with the external contingencies and changes. Accordingly, Denison, Haaland and Goelzer (2004) state that adaptability trait includes the component indexes of creating change, customer focus, and organizational learning. Furthermore, they say that adaptable organizations usually learn from their mistakes at the time of taking risks and have the capability and experience at creating change. Lastly the mission trait explains the organization's goals and prepares the organization's members with a sense of purpose and meaning. As such, the mission trait emphasizes on the stability and direction, and helps the organizations to mobilize their relationships with the external world. According to Denison (2000), the organizations having well defined and clear set of values emphasize more in the strategic direction and intent, goals and objectives, and vision which are highly considered on the mission trait.

The competing values framework

Quinn and Rohrbaug (1983) developed the competing values framework to study

organizational effectiveness that later adapted by Cameron and Quinn (2006) for the study of organizational culture. This framework has basically been established through the use of results of the studies about main indicators of effective organizations. It means that attention has been paid to basic criteria to determine the effectiveness of organization and its defining key elements. They can be categorized under two main dimensions. One dimension is flexibility and discretion and the other dimension is stability and control. It means that some organizations such as Microsoft are supported to have effectiveness when they are unsteady and adaptable, while some other organizations such as universities, governmental institutes and etc. are supposed to be effective when they are stable and predictable.

According to Quinn and Cameron (2006), Another dimension of organizations' effectiveness is internal focus and integration versus external focus and differentiation. It means that some organizations are considered to be effective when they have internal integrity. This type of organizations (eg. Hewlett-Packard and IBM) have been considered to have their own specific path. Some other organizations such as Toyota and Honda which are interacting and competing with organizations outside the country are known as global thought. Two ends of this dimension are organizational flexibility and discretion in one side and stability and control on the other side.

When these two dimensions are considered with each other, two continuums will be formulated. Each one of the continuums shows a competing value, that is flexibility against stability and internal against external. Taking into account these two dimensions and four values will lead to figure 2.1.

For instance, the left square shows values which emphasize on internal focus and flexibility while right square shows external focus, control and stability. This framework pays enough attention to the issue of organizational effectiveness and at the same time it is an acceptable categorization to organize thoughts, theories and the way people think.

In order to link organizational effectiveness and organizational culture, each one of four squares are nominated in a way to show their main features, including clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy. This nomination has a scientific background which determines how organizational values accompany organization types. It is also consistent with management theories about organizational achievement, managing skills and leadership roles (Quinn and Cameron, 2006).

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Figure2.1 The competing values framework (Quinn and Cameron, 2006).

Some organizations have a dominant type of culture; other organizations have multiple cultures working simultaneously in different locations, departments, or projects. There is no superior, idea, or fixed culture. There are however, preferences by employees for particular cultures. For example, if an employee is working in a hierarchy culture and prefers more adhocracy culture difficulties will likely develop. If the person- culture alignment becomes overly stressful, it will probably result eventually in the individual leaving the organization (Gibson, Maznevski, and Kirkman, 2006). Moreover the four cultures of the competing values framework will be explained,

The clan culture

In organizations with clan culture, the university enjoys an amicable atmosphere for the colleague. In this environment, the managers play the role of mentors and semi parents in a family (Smart, 2003). The focus of attention is on the internal problems; however, it gives value to discretion and not control and stability. The purpose is to deal with the environment via teamwork, attendance and general agreement among the members. Relationships and collective work rather than hierarchy are the determining element of activity. The organization is mostly part of a family relationship rather than a business one (Giancola, 2008). Some of the significant features of the clan culture are being a member of a working family, obeying customs and rites, teamwork and spirit, social influence and self management. Employers like to do as hard as they can to earn a fair and reasonable amount of money and fringe benefits. In the environment of a clan culture, the workers become socialized by their partners. They aid each other in enjoying their achievements together (Hellriegel and Slocum. Jr., 2007).

Some of the main principles in a clan culture are that customers are considered as partners, the institution is busy creating a humane work atmosphere, and the chief task of management is to give authority to the workers and make their involvement, commitment and faithfulness easy. The general characteristic of the clan culture is that it is an amiable environment for work and the people there have a lot in common. In fact, it is like an extended family. There is a general idea that leaders are mentors and possibly even parent-like. The reason why the organization stays together lies in the fact that there is tradition and loyalty and the degree of commitment is high. The emphasis of the organization is on the long-term benefit of individual progress and the morale and unity are very important. Therefore, the definition of success is the internal atmosphere and attention to people. The organization puts importance on consensus, participation and teamwork (Cameron and Quinn, 2006).

The adhocracy culture

The second type of culture is named the adhocracy culture, saying that the organization is an environment of dynamicity, creativity and entrepreneurship. In this situation, innovation and creativity are encouraged and the educational institution administrators are innovators and risk takers (Smart, 2003). An organization which has adhocracy culture rests on the external environment with a high percentage of individuality and flexibility. It concentrates on creativity, compatibility and entrepreneurship. Here success is defined as new and unique services or products (Arshad, Rehman, and Ahmad, 2006). An adhocracy culture can be represented by creativity, innovation and risk-taking and an aggressive search for opportunities. Workers believe that the standard practices are dynamic change, the employees' initiatives and independence (Gibson, Maznevski, and Kirkman, 2006). The aim of an adhocracy culture is being capable of producing new services and innovative goods and immediately coping with new strategic opportunities. Employees' innovative ideas and freedom and constant progress are considered as the main principles of being ahead in service or product leadership (Ralston et al. 2006).

The prevailing assumptions in an adhocracy culture include the facts that pioneering plans and ideas are the path to success, organizations are chiefly busy making new products and offering new services as well as preparing for the future. The most important job of management is to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity ahead of time. It was thought that compatibility and creativity would end in new resources and benefits; as a result, there was an emphasis on a new prospect of the future organized anarchy. In a nutshell, the adhocracy culture is like a workshop full of dynamics, entrepreneurship and creativity. And effective leadership encompasses a sense of futuristic vision, innovation and the capability of taking risks. What supports the organization is the commitment to initiatives and experimentation. The stress is on being progressive in new areas of knowledge, products and services. It is highly important to be ready to face challenges. The organization places a long-term stress on fast growth and obtaining new resources. What is called success is, in fact, producing innovative services as well as unique products. (Cameron and Quinn, 2006).

The hierarchy culture

Another kind of culture is known as the hierarchy culture in which the individuals' tasks are determined and approved by the rules, regulations, and procedures. (Smart, 2003) Its major attention is to the internal issues rather than the external ones; it also emphasizes stability and control over flexibility and discretion. To manage the organization, the hierarchy cultures rests upon the formal structures, policies and methods. Another thing which is important is keeping reliable, efficient and rapid operations. Other features which make the management style outstanding include conformity and stability in relationships as well as security for the employees (Giancola, 2008).

An organization can be claimed to have the hierarchy culture when there is a significant emphasis on regulations, procedures, policies, centralized authority and a chain of command. Some people mostly like the strict system which is full of certainty and hierarchy in such an organization (Hellriegel and Slocum. Jr. 2007). This culture possesses its predominant features, fixed rules and programs, policies and structures governing people's activities in such an organization. The chief aims of a hierarchy culture are predictability, efficiency and stability in the organizational operations (Ralston et al. 2006). The organizational culture which is in alignment with this form has the following features: it is a structured and formalized place in which to work; there are some procedures which control people's activities; The efficient leaders are good organizers and coordinators; there is a smoothly running organization; the organization pays attention to stability, efficiency and predictability; and finally there are certain formal rules which cohere the whole organization. (Cameron and Quinn,2006).

The market culture

The last type of culture is named the market culture in which the manager of the organization is a serious, demanding, productive as well as competitive person who emphasizes success (Smart, 2003). This culture concentrates on the external maintenance with special attention to control and stability. The market -driven culture relies on competitions and goal achievement. It focuses on responsiveness to the market and productivity. It also pays attention to getting the job done and so the employees are hard-driven and the producers are demanding and tough (Arshad, Rehman, and Ahmad, 2006).

Some of the items which market culture emphasizes are increased market share, sales growth, financial stability and profitability. To achieve market shares and fulfill aims of the financial performance, the employees work together and cooperate. The result of this is cooperation but it does not develop a hard and fast relationship (Gibson, Maznevski, and Kirkman, 2006). The nature of the market culture is that it is a tough organization in which the employees are expected to be goal-oriented and aggressive producers. One of the key principles of the market culture is that it just thinks about winning in a competitive environment. One of the objectives of the results-oriented market culture is to enhance the amount of productivity and benefits so as to capture the market sector. Through some definite procedures and measurable goal, the objective can be achieved (Ralston et al. 2006). This is a workshop which is results-oriented and the leaders are really tough demanding producers and competitors. The element which keeps the organization intact is an emphasis on winning. Two things which are very important are achieving aims and competitive actions. The meaning of success is based on market share and penetrating and beating the competition and market leaders are very important (Cameron and Quinn, 2006).

In the competing values there are six content dimensions which are used as the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI).The first dimension is called the dominant characteristic which indicates the general feature of the organization. The next dimension is known as the leadership style and approach. This penetrates the organization and remains there. The third dimension is the management of employees or the style. It reveals the condition of the workplace and how the employees are treated. Dimension number four is the organizational glue or bonding mechanisms that supports the organization. The fifth dimension is the strategic emphases that express what areas of emphasis have a leading role in controlling the organization's strategy. And the final dimension is the criteria of success. When combined, these content dimensions are a reflection of the basic cultural values and indirectly show the way the organization functions. In fact, they display "how things are" in the organization. Although this list is not exhaustive, it has indicated that it can provide a sufficient overview of the type of the culture which is prevailing in the organization (Quinn and Cameron, 2006).


In order to determine the organizational culture, different types of models such as CVF are made by the researchers. Multidimensional model of organizational cultures is another type of models which includes the five dimensions (Hofstede, 2001, Hofstede and Bond, 1988). There is some criticism about Hofstede's work. For example, the focus of the work is criticized as the one which is on the national level rather than local level. The variations can be more or less significant within some countries. Some have also criticized that this model's classifications include medium categories that may be difficult to apply accurately. They have also mentioned that this model is unrealistic and stereotypical regarding the masculinity/femininity dimension. Eventually, the value of this work can be assessed by the readers in the context of their own experiences and interpretations of the business world. Mullins (2006) believes that Hofstede has attempted to assess the nature of work- related differences across the world and to relate these to the preferred leadership styles. The other types of models is the theoretical model of culture traits ( Denison and Mishra, 1995) ,that is conceptually similar to the CVF.

A general comparison of the three models indicates that all of them are quantitative in measuring the organizational culture.(Boan and Funderburker, 2003). In addition, they give the impression that the characteristics of the organizations are cultural features or dimensions which all human organizations share (Denison and Spreitzer, 1991). The third point is that both the factors of the environment and the internal congruence are important to the three models. And finally, except for Haftsed's model, the two other models are focused on the organizational culture. The environments of the study of the organizational culture are such extended contexts as national and international levels by Hoftsed's model ( Hedayati, 2007). In this research, based on Cameron's organizational effectiveness model (1978) which is specific for higher education, the organizational effectiveness is examined. The model of organizational culture introduced by Cameron is the basis of the present research, since it seems more suitable to determine the objectives of the research. The researches so far done have strongly confirmed the capability of Cameron's model in dealing with the organizational effectiveness and it is no exception for the present research.

Moreover, In an integrative review, of the literature, Detert, Schroeder, and Mauriel (2000) identified eight common dimensions of the organizational culture that the first dimension is the foundation of truth and reasonableness in the organization, which refers to the way an organization assesses reality and how rationality it is applied in decision making. Another dimension is the kind of time and time horizon that refers to the nature of time and how the time is defined, measured, and valued in the organization and the time horizon orientation of an organization which is showed in the scope of strategic planning and goals that management follows. Motivation is the third dimension that is related to the basic assumptions about what drives people to work i.e. whether employees are motivated by intrinsic or extrinsic rewards, and/or whether they are good or bad by their nature. Stability versus change innovation is another dimension referring to an organization's cooperative opinion on change, comprising the extent to which the employees are open to change, enthusiastic to take risks, and value innovation. The next dimension is an orientation to work, task, and co-workers which concerns the way that they look on the relationship between work and life in an organization, and how they view the relationships with their colleagues.

At the two extremes of the continuum are live- to work and work-for-life. The individuals in the live-to-work type organizations concern more on the work performance and productivity whereas those in the work-for-life type organizations environment provide a higher value on social interactions with colleagues and somewhat less importance on efficiency. Isolation versus collaboration/cooperation is the sixth dimension concerning the way of structuring the work in an organization. Particularly, it concerns about the extent to which an organization stresses individual work or group work.

Another dimension is Control/coordination, and responsibility. This dimension concentrates on the extent to which an organization exercises to run over its employers. On one side the control may be fixed or strong. Although in the other hand, organizations apply loose control and individuals are given considerable autonomy and responsibility. Orientation and focus internal versus external is the last dimension which concentrates on how an organization discerns the relationship with the environment which is a way to differentiate organizational cultures. Moreover according to Detert, Schroeder, and Mauriel (2000), internally oriented organizations attribute success to the internal reasons and focus on the other processes of human resources. On the contrary, externally oriented organizations focus more on the external factors (e.g. competitors, customers and other stakeholder).

According to Yu and Wu (2009), CVF has advantages which are mentioned briefly in the following. The first advantage is few dimensions and broad implications. CVF includes two dimensions but contains the essence of the eight generally accepted dimensions stated earlier in its structure. The two dimensions of control versus autonomy and internal versus external are included in the CVF directly. Additionally, three more dimensions (stability versus change; orientation to work/co-workers; isolation versus cooperation) are specific emerged in the theoretical model.

Furthermore, Ralston et.al (2006) states that this model addresses, in principle, the other three organizational culture dimensions. The second advantage is its empirical validation in the cross-cultural study. It reveals that a large set of quantitative studies has accepted the reliability and validity of the CVF and OCAI (Ralston et. al., 2006; Yu & Wu, 2009). To sum up, the competing values framework and its fitted scale OCAI are very acceptable for quantitative research in the Asian contexts, especially for studies on organizational culture change and identifying the types of culture related to the organizational effectiveness. Furthermore, Yu and Wu (2009) believe that studying the basic situations of diverse culture types in the competing values framework and the connection between organizational culture and other variables (organizational effectiveness, employee satisfaction, etc) is a promising research area.