Business Essays - Culture Community Organizations


Culture Community Organizations

Culture is the metamorphosis of a community's personality into a way of life. It unites us and distinguishes us. The soul and spirit of a people speak through the arts, and the arts testify across epochs to the quality and vitality of a community. Culture provides solutions to problems of living in a specific time and place, and those solutions are distilled over generations to develop and maintain a unique vision of a civilized way of life.

Furthermore, cultures borrow from all over because a way of life is more concerned with what works than where or whom it comes from. Our culture is the greatest thing we can share with others. It provides the barometer of who we are and gives us the self-confidence to embrace things that are new or different (Guest, 1987, pp 503-521).

Women have gone through many struggles over the centuries. They were viewed as second-class citizens, spat on, and seen as sex objects. One could argue that women have had many more struggles to face than men. However, today women are taking control and moving up the ladder. They are tired of being an oppressed group.

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This breakout has resulted in many opportunities for women both as individuals and productive members of society. It is definite that women have entered the work force with greater numbers, but many problems still exit. Women are still an oppressed group because they are treated as second-class citizens, viewed as sex objects, and mocked when they take on a "man's job".

In NIC (Northampton Insurance Company) Overall the culture is very traditional, male dominated, hierarchical and status oriented; the prevailing management style has been described as bullying, coercive and dominated by a cult of personality. That's why they are facing so many issues (Guest, 1997, pp 263-276).

Cultural vision of Northampton Insurance Company (NIC)

Organizational culture can be defined as a system of shared beliefs and values that develops within an organization and guides the behaviour of its members. It includes routine behaviours, norms, dominant values, and a feeling or climate conveyed. The purpose and function of this culture is to help foster internal integration, bring staff members from all levels of the organization much closer together, and enhance their performance (Guest and Hoque, 1994, pp 1-14).

The first factor of identifying workplace culture is the organization vision. The organization vision defines the purpose, values, and future goals of the corporation. Management need to make sure that their employees do not lose sight of the companies' vision. For the transition to be successful, people need to "buy in" and be committed. Their individual interests, values and competences must be effectively aligned with the organization vision, culture and capabilities (Walton, 1987, pp 76-84).

Cultural vision which NIC (Northampton Insurance Company) should be adopted is as follows they want to ensure that their business and employees meet the highest standards of personal and professional conduct. So they respect their customers, their suppliers and each other. As a team they strive to exceed both their own and others' expectations - and by winning their confidence, they earn their trust. They all share in our commitment to perform and get things done. Doing what it takes to deliver the best service to all their customers - within the organisation as well as outside it (Guest, 1997, pp 263-276).

Focus on talent management

Concentrate your recruiting efforts on hiring stars by screening for the known characteristics of high performance within your organization. Do not compromise based on availability. Employ an intense on-boarding process to get new hires up to speed quickly so that they can effectively interact with clients and produce results within a few short months. Define and update competency models for sales roles. Consider “up-skilling” and certification that involves targeting training to address assessed skill gaps. Evaluate the effectiveness of these programs based on business outcomes, not on inconsequential metrics such as attendance or knowledge testing.

Differentiate between low, middle and star performers. Aggressively retain your star performers and move quickly to manage out underperformers. Develop outstanding sales managers who achieve desired behaviours/results from their sales teams through effective deal strategizing, coaching and leadership. They should be accountable to apply and certify your sales effectiveness program. And, finally, don't forget the value of individual and group sales coaching to help your leaders achieve even better results (Guest, 1987, pp 503-521).

Establish rewards

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The rewards should be based on quantitative and qualitative results and should be aligned with your corporate strategy and sales effectiveness objectives. Measure the results of your sales effectiveness program beyond quota attainment by including metrics such as increased sales pipeline, improved close rates, shortened sales cycles and reduced non-selling time.

Human Resources (HR) Management is a multifaceted function. This entity has an important place within companies in helping key personnel decide on the best staff for their needs, among other things. Sometimes, the employees chosen are full-time employees already working for the company or they could be contractors. Regardless, the goal of HR Management is to choose the most qualified person for the job.

Again, HR Management is a group of professionals that wear many hats, some of which include employee benefits and compensation, hiring and terminating employees, and managing personnel policies and employee records. While smaller companies will often perform the tasks of HR Management on their own, most, larger corporations choose to hire professionals to oversee the entire HR department so we can say that the key to effective human resource management is human resource planning, as it is stated by Mark and Cynthia, it involves strategic plans, then devising ways to meet these objectives. In this essay I will try to focus on strategic planning which is a major factor of planning (Walton, 1987, pp 76-84).

Human resource Strategy

Step 1: Planning the Change Process

Like any complex project, change management requires detailed planning. Being responsible for guiding the process, the change facilitation team must see to it that detailed but realistic planning is undertaken in order to minimize divergence from the vision.

Step 2: Goal translation

The executive goals need to be translating to each level of the organisation in a meaningful, achievable target to each individual person within the organisation. For example: if the executive goal is increase the sales by 15 %, but how can salesman known how much is the percentage increase for a particular product.

Therefore the goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Additive, Reasonable and Time-bound). Furthermore the goal must is translate to a understandable language of different level of the organisation (Guest and Hoque, 1994, pp 1-14).

Step 3: Barrier identification and Removal

When the goals are clearly understood, we can start identifying the barriers that are preventing the achievement of these goals. The people who actually do the work should identify the barrier. Whenever possible, we must involve these people in implementation decision where these view may be crucial. For that reason, Manager must be able to communicate effectively at all levels and across each function.

Resistance of Change Employees resist change because they have to learn something new. In many case there is not a disagreement with the benefits of the new process, but rather a fear of the unknown future and about their ability to adapt to it. Most people are reluctant to leave the familiar behind. We are all suspicious about the unfamiliar; we are naturally concerned about how we will get from the old to the new, especially if it involves learning something new and risking failure (Schuler and Jackson, 1987, pp 207-219).

Step 4: System for Managing

Once the goals have been translated and barrier have been identify, the next critical step will be to develop a system for managing the organisation. Traditionally it will only be measured. But now it will be much larger. Not only a metrics need to designed, but meeting need to be developed, measure automation needs to be planned and specific accountability need to be determined (Guest and Hoque, 1994, pp 1-14).

As far as the metrics are concerned, they need to report on goal achievement at each organisation level. And the reporting will also translated to its specificity. So if the executive goal is improved effectiveness of 25 % then that is what the metrics needs to report on at that organisation level. Similarly the metric in the finished goods packaging area may be boxed packed per hour and so on (Legge, 1995, pp 191-199).

Step 5: Rewards & Recognition

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Rewarding and recognizing employees is essential to any business or organization. Employees like to know that the work they do is noticed and appreciated by their employers. It is important to recognize both the effort put into getting work and projects completed and the result.

Recognition is one of the most effective ways to reinforce an organization's culture, support its objectives, and retain top performers. When we remember to take care of these very human needs for recognition and appreciation, we do a great deal to create an energized workplace we need in order to succeed in today's challenging times (Legge, 1995, pp 191-199).

Management and employee benefits

Also today, employee benefits are a major force in determining employee retention, or employee happiness. One could argue that happy employees make happy customers, and that happy customers make happy stockholders. In this view, employee benefits become crucial to a company success. Three important factors influencing employee benefits (McDuffie, 1995, pp 197-221):

  • Self-Interest of Decision Makers
  • Shareholders
  • Company Executives
  • Employees
  • Unions
  • Congress and other Policy Makers

2. Taxation

  • Tax laws determine which benefits receive favourable tax treatment, and which do not.
  • Which benefits Congress has decided to provide favourable tax treatment to
  • Taxes can influence:
  • Whether to offer a particular benefit
  • The form that benefit will take

3. Demographics

  • Gender and the workplace
  • Longevity
  • Age Distribution
  • Parenting Roles
  • Household Composition

From the case study, the business strategy of NIC (Northampton Insurance Company) is "to increase its competitiveness by achieving lower administration costs, more effective sales distribution and maintaining an effective investment policy.

The long term HR strategy aims at enabling the company to improve its competitiveness in the market place by changing the way people work and the culture in which they work.

To support the HR strategy the resulting change in the company's payment system is the reward management is a short term strategy, which encompasses a combination of competency-based approach to a broad banded structure and performance-related approach to bonuses (Millward, 2000, pp 111-113).

The need for the company to become more customer-focused is the reason for HR deciding to change the way in which work is done. The short term HR strategy's first deal with the element of change is that employees will deal directly with customers, while working in teams of 10-15 people. The prime responsibility of individual team members is the delivery of high-quality service to customers. In light of this fact, one could make a preliminary inference that the HR strategy is relatively aligned to the business strategy (Purcell, 1999, pp 26-41).

In the attempt to have a results oriented workforce that is customer-focused the reward management strategy seeks to achieve this through the new payment structure (short term effect). The new structure is designed in such a way to reward employees on an individual basis for their skills, expertise and contribution to the overall production process (Tyson, 1997, pp 277-290).

From the preliminary analysis of the above discussed strategies it could be stated that the strategies are all linked to each other. However as to the likelihood of the success of the proposed strategies, this will be evaluated when it comes to actual implementation.

Analysis of the Hr Strategy

The main elements of the HR short term strategy are changing the way work is done and henceforth attempting to change the culture. Employees will deal directly with customers with the intent of providing improved customer service, while working in teams of 10-15, where team roles will be rotated (Purcell, 1999, pp 26-41).

The benefit from the rotation of roles is that it allows for team members to become multi-skilled within their team, which enhances the scope for advancement and development. "The general movement towards flatter structure with wide spans of control and reducing layers of middle management, all involve greater emphasis on the importance of effective team working.

Teamwork can increase competitiveness by improving productivity and employee motivation and commitment. It is however important there is group cohesiveness as this will affect performance. The more homogeneous the group the easier it is to promote cohesiveness, as it will affect communication, which is an essential feature of being able to function as a unit with different member roles existing(Tyson, 1997, pp 277-290).

Though variations will exist amongst employees this may serve to compliment each other in making a cohesive group. On the other hand such variations may cause disruption and conflicts. Conflicts are likely to arise where group members will be in competition with each other because of the fact that bonuses are performance related (Schuler and Jackson, 1987, pp 207-219).

Another long term factor that will affect the effective functioning of the work teams is the form of management and the style of leadership adopted by Legal and General. Another issue that comes to light is how employees are allocated to job functions and teams. Legal and General, as part of the transition phase assesses employees in four key areas of competencies: customer focus, results orientation, team working and the general ability to handle change.

The case study makes no mention of how they are going to qualify or quantify employee performance, and what factors will influence how they are grouped. If the criteria's for grouping employees are subjective rather than objective it will suffer from bias. This can have a negative impact on group performance in the event that here is a miss-match of team members.

In the final analysis, the employees will all have to go through the development phase of forming, storming and norming before the work teams can perform. The extents of the success of the changes to be made are dependent on how the change is implemented and length of the transition and adjustment period (Walton, 1987, pp 76-84).


Guest, D. 1987. 'Human resource management and industrial relations'. Journal of Management Studies, Vol.24, no.5, 503-521.

Guest, D. 1997. 'Human resource management and performance: a review and research agenda'. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol.8, no.3, 263-276.

Guest, D. and Hoque, K. 1994. 'The good, the bad and the ugly: employment relations in the new non-union workplaces'. Human Resource Management Journal, Vol.5, no.1, 1-14.

Legge, K. 1995. Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and Realities, London: MacMillan, pp 191-199.

MacDuffie, J.P. 1995. 'Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance: organizational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry'. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol.48, no.2, 197-221.

Miles, R. and Snow, C. 1978. Organizational Strategy, Structure and Process, New York: McGraw-Hill, pp 181.

Millward, N. 2000. All change at work? British Employment Relations 1980-1998, New York: Routledge, pp 111-113.

Purcell, J. 1999. 'Best practice or best fit: chimera or cul-de-sac?' Human Resource Management Journal, Vol.9, no.3, pp 26-41.

Schuler, R. and Jackson, S. 1987. 'Linking competitive strategies with human resource management practices'. Academy of Management Executive, Vol.1, no.3, pp 207-219.

Tyson, S. 1997. 'Human resource strategy: a process for managing the contribution of HRM to organizational performance'. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol.8, no.3, pp 277-290.

Walton, R. 1987. 'From control to commitment in the workplace'. Harvard Business Review, Vol.63, p 76-84.