Organisational Culture In Service Oriented Behaviours


Organisational culture is the foundation of the customs and routines shared by organisational members. The purpose of the proposed research will be to assist organisational leaders and scholars with tools that will help develop an organisational culture that embraces outstanding customer service. Customer service and more precisely customer loyalty are getting increase emphasis for competitive advantages. Organisations are no longer able to suggest simply to their employees that serving the customer is the most important part of their job. They now must exalt customer satisfaction as even more important than the quest for market share or profit margin (Stein and Sweat, 1999). Furthermore, Ford (2001) describes three important discoveries for creating success in other service industries which are customer-oriented decisions, building a strong culture of service and managing the service experience.

Hrop (2003) defines an organisation as a consciously coordinated unit composed of more than one person that functions on a consistent basis to achieve specific goals. Retail organisations face an ever-changing business climate today that transforms customer service into an increasingly more complicated topic for the discount store industry. Discount stores, such as ASDA, Lidl, etc face many challenges that often conflict with customer service. Some of the immediate challenges faced by retail organisations today are demanding profit margins required by shareholders, the need for productivity enhancements, thousands of stores, global expansion, and tens of thousands of employees (Kotter, 1996). The development of an organisational structure and design that embraces an unyielding customer service culture is what many organisations currently believe is the answer to the challenges of customer service (MacDonald, 2002).

Purpose of the Study

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The purpose of this proposed study will be to indentify if a relationship exists between the type of organisational culture and service-oriented behaviour. The type of organisational culture will be examined by a retail store that is nationally known for its service with one that is trying to improve its service performance. This will be a quantitative, non-experimental, and correlational study. A survey will be the method of data collection. In this context, the role of quantitative research will be to assist organisational leaders and scholars with tools that will help develop an organisation culture that embraces outstanding service oriented behaviour. The research will be concerned with the creation of an organisational culture that embraces a customer focused service.

Rationale for the Chosen Topic

The proposed research study will examine the role of the type of organisational culture in service-oriented behaviour in the retail industry. The type of organisational culture will be examined by considering a retail store that is nationally known for its service with one that is trying to improve its service performance. The framework of this theory includes the big three outcome variables, activities and/or factors and relationships.

Research Questions

The significance of a research question is to explore a particular interest in a more in-depth manner. Following research questions were identified:

1. Which organisational culture type is most conducive to service-oriented practices in the retail business?

2. What is the relation between organisational cultural type and customer service attributes?

3. What is the difference between the organisational cultures of retail chains known nationally for their services with those retail chains known to achieve lacklustre service results?

Research Aims and Objectives

- To identify the most conductive organisational culture type to service oriented practices in the retail business;

- To understand the relationship between organisational cultural type and customer service attributes;

- Analysing the difference between the organisational cultures of retail chains known nationally for their services with those retail chains known to achieve lacklustre service results.

Literature Review

The concept of organisational culture is relatively new and is still evolving. The discipline of organisational culture emerged from the fields of anthropology and sociology. The formal writing on the subject began by Andrew Aettigrew in 1979 from an anthropological point of view. Pettigrew focused on the concepts of myth, ritual, and symbolism in an organisation context (Reichers and Schneider, 1990). In the first decade, organisational culture researchers were focused on defining and developing on the various components of the discipline (Procena, 1993). Since that time, relatively few studies have examined organisational culture methodologically or empirically {Obinchain, 2002}.

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Cameron and Quinn (2005) define organisational culture simply as the basic conduct within an organi7ation. Kotter (2441) states organi7ational culture should be viewed as the norms of behavior, and the shared values of concern within an organisation. The nortns of behavior are conunon ways of acting and shared values are important concerns shared by most people in an organisation. Robbins (2003) defines organisational culture as a common view or perception held by the members of an organisation, which provides an underpinning of shared purpose. Furthermore, Hodge, Anthony, and Gales (2442) define organisational culture as a set of broad, inherently apparent rules that tell employees what to do under a wide variety of circumstances. These shared beliefs become basic assumptions and core values developed by an organisation over time (Greene, 1995).

Schein (1992) defmed corporate culture as the way things are done in a business. This culture becomes the glue that binds the entire organisation together (Schell and Solomon, 1997). Organisational culture has an observable and a non-observable level. The observable level includes behaviors, rules, myths, nomenclature, and ceremonies, and the non-observable level entails shared values., norms, and beliefs of the organisational members. The culture of the organisation is the combination of both these levels, which directs organisational membcrs to manage obstacles and their environment (Rowden, 2442).

Rowden (2002) stresses that the ability to have a well-defined organisational culture is essential as globalization completely changes the way business is conducted. A clearly defined culture can generate an atmosphere that is conducive for success. As Marchone and Jenkins (1999) stress, a clearly defined corporate culture is critical far success in today's business environciient because it generates an environment that promotes success. The core component of most successful organisations is a sound infrastructure. Therefore, if an organisation's success is measured by the skill, energy and dedication of its members., leaders must develop a cultural infrastructure that defines, nurtures, and harnesses the power of its members.

Cohesiveness, composition, status and size are important factors influencing an organisation's norms. Organisation cohesiveness refers to the degree that group members are attracted to each other. It is an important component because it can have either a positive or a negative impact on an organisation's productivity. Productivity can be positively impacted if cohesiveness is high and performance norms are high as well. Conversely, if performance norms are low and cohesiveness is high, performance will be low (Robbins 2003).

Quinn and Rorhbaugh (1983) developed the Competing Values Model of Organisational Effectiveness to examine the relationship between organisational culture and organisational effectiveness. The quadrants of this model are based on two fundamental dimensions found in organisational science. The horizontal axis of the model represents internal vs. external focus, and the vertical axis reflects flexibility vs. control. The model interior is comprised of four quadrants, which represent four different organisational designs (open system model, human relation model, internal process model, and rational goal model (Schein, 1985), Cameron and Quinn (2005) assign four culture types (adhacracy, clan, hierarchy and market) to each of these quadrants as illustrated in figure 2.

Scott (2003) identifies the mobilization of resources and inducing contributions as key components in the development of an organisation. Mobilization of resources refers to the formation of a group of individuals for the pursuit of collective goals utilizing resources such as materials, energy, infonnation, and humans.

One of the most crucial factors in organisational design is the type of incentives offered to induce contributions. It is imperative that an organisation has the ability to inspire individuals to make significant contributions of time, effort, and resources (Rogers, 1995). Furthermore, theorganisation must inspire an individual's loyalty to the organisation rather than giving his or her time or effort to a competing organisation. Organisation must use incentives to attract and maintain participants. Theses incentives can be tangible, intangible, and purposive. A tangible incentive would be salary and benefits. An intangible incentive may be the sociability and status of the organisation.

The natural theorists state that the rules are just the rules and the actual interpretation and execution of these rules by the participants actually shape the organisation. Lastly, the open system theory stresses the intricacy and changeability of the individual parts from both individuals and subgroups. This theory highlights the interaction between participants as a governing factoring in organisations (Rogers, 1995; Scott, 2443).

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These factors must be considered in a comprehensive manner when designing an organisation. Far example, an organisation that has a rational approach will choose a formal design that has rigid unit groupings and job descriptions, extensive rules and regulations with specific salary ranges for each specific job. On the other hand, an organisation with a more natural or open system approach may design the organisation with more flexibility that encourages teamwork, creativity, empowerment with job descriptions, salary ranges, and

Organisational performance is optimized through the creation of a strategic vision that can be utilized as a compass to provide direction in the pursuit of improved service quality (Rigby, 2003). The behaviors of employees are an underpinning to the success of service organisations (Scluzeider and Bowden, 1993). Organisational culture significantly influences the employees' ability to service customers (Davidson, 2p03). Organisational culture is the mechanism that binds the organisation together (Creque, 2003; Cameron and Quinn, 2005). Therefore, building a service-oriented store would begin in the creation of an apposite organisational culture.

The retail industry has very few companies that have a reputation for service equal to Nordstrom stores. Nordstrom stores operate seventy-seven full-line upscale department stores and twenty-four clearance stores in twenty-five states with annual sales of over $S billion. Nordstrom stores have become the standard against which many other companies measure themselves both publicly and privately. Nordstrom stores have been cited by many sources, for their exceptional customer service such as 60 Minutes, and New York Magazine. Even the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call once ran an article suggesting politicians use Nordstrom's techniques to improve their image. Furthermore, many large corporations currently use Nordstrom as a role model for customer service such as Ford Motor Company, Starbuck Coffee Company and Westin Hotels (McCarthy and Spector, 2000).


The term 'methodology' is usually employed to indicate the sets of conceptual and philosophical assumptions that justify the use of particular methods. Methodological pluralism treats all methods as equal, assessing the merits of any given method in terms of how appropriately it tackles the research task on hand. The method(s) chosen should depend on what we want to discover, i.e. the nature of the research question (Payne and Payne, 2004). In this research researcher will use a quantitative research approach.

Research Design

This research study will utilise a quantitative, non-experimental, descriptive correlational method that will collect "data on predetermined instruments that yield statistical data" (Creswell, 2003, p. 18). The research methodology and purpose of this study will be to investigate the most appropriate organisational culture type that embraces quality and quick service in large retail stores. The research design will be descriptive statistical and cross-sectional data that will be obtained from survey instruments. A quantitative analysis of variables will be performed. According to Ziktnund (2000), in a correlation research, the main purpose is to establish whether two or more variables are related, and if so, establish the direction of the observed relationship. Correlational research may be considered in this study that will be non-experimental. There will be no manipulation of the independent variable and no attempt to establish causality. Instead, variables under investigation will be simply measured to determine if a relationship exists between them. "Exploratory research should be followed by subsequent research in order to provide conclusive evidence" (Zikmund, 2000, p.33).

Data Collection Method

The venue for this study will be the retail industry. The researcher will examine the organisational culture type of a retail chain nationally recognized for service-oriented practices with that of a retail chain, which has received lacklustre service results. Two hundred surveys will be handed out at each store creating a total sample size of 400. The researcher will travel to both locations to collect the data in person.

Data Analysis

Data analysis is a kind of act of transforming data with the aim of extracting useful information and facilitating conclusions. Depending on the type of data and the question, this might include application of statistical methods, curve fitting, selecting or discarding certain subsets based on specific criteria, or other techniques. Data visualization is sometimes an important part of data analysis, especially in the case of explorative data analysis. The analysis of survey data will be carried out using SPSS version. (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), and will include general descriptive statistics regarding level or agreement with different statements and also inferential statistics identifying significant differences between responses on key questions between different groups differentiated using demographic information. In addition, Excel for windows is going to be used to produce the findings of the results. Summarizing, categorizing, and calculating the mean, median, and mode, standard deviation and percentage of distribution will be used in accomplishing this goal.

Timescale/Research planning

Key stages for accomplishing the research will be as follows:

Stages &Tasks

Completion Date


Proposal Submission


Literature Review


Research Design- Process


Poster Design


Arranging Access to Respondents


Collecting Primary Data


Data Analysis


Writing Draft




Final Submission

Recipient for the Research

The research proposal is going to be submitted to the London School of Commerce. The recipients are going to be my Supervisor. However, a copy of the proposal might be also presented on request to the retail organisations to prove the reliability of my research and emphasize its effectiveness.


This research will add to the body of knowledge by examining the relationship between organisational culture type and service-oriented behaviour in the retail industry. In general, the information found in the literature review will be used as ground knowledge during the analysis of this study.

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