Organizational culture is the set of beliefs, values, and norms, together with symbols like dramatized events and personalities that represents the unique character of an organization, and provides the context for action in it and by it. It is a highly descriptive term, and unlike job satisfaction, it is not evaluative or feeling oriented. Some main characteristics of Culture are as follows:
- Innovation and risk taking
- Attention to detail
- Outcome orientation
- People orientation
- Team orientation
These in turn collaborate and influence the Culture’s Functions, which is to define the boundary between one organization and others.
- Convey a sense of identity for its members.
- Facilitate the generation of commitment to something larger than self-interest.
- Enhance the stability of the social system.
- Serve as a sense-making and control mechanism for fitting employees in the organization.
The culture of an organization may or may not change with time. However, in most cases the changes are such that they are still in tandem with the founding principles of that organization. To understand how a culture of any organization begins, one can take help from the following illustration:
The philosophy of the organization’s founders; their mission and objective more or less lays down the basis for the kind of culture they would like to be developed in their institution. This in turn influences their selection criteria as only those employees are hired and kept who think and feel the same way they do. Also, the founders indoctrinate and socialize these employees to their way of thinking and feeling. The founders’ own behavior acts as a role model that encourages employees to identify with them and thereby internalize their beliefs, values, and assumptions.
- Vision: To be the pre-eminent communications management school.
- Mission: To develop innovative professionals in the practice, development and management of communications to serve the needs of the industry and society through education, research and advocacy.
The founding principles of MICA, elaborated through its Vision and Mission statements, clearly chalk out the kind of educational institute MICA strives to be. The focus is not just on excellent and global educational standards but also to help develop individuals who would help the society at large through the learnings that they have acquired at MICA.
The beliefs, values and attitude of this organization as a whole can be best illustrated by the Director’s message. It clearly describes how MICA respects and learns from its celebrated lineage and history while continually trying to mould and evolve itself according to the new times. It strives to be nothing short of the best business communication school with its unique blend of courses, noteworthy faculty, efficient infrastructure and a vibrant blend of like-minded students.
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While the above might encompass the kind of ideals that the founders of MICA had envisioned for MICA, there is still another aspect of culture, and that is the perceived attributes of the organization according to the people who might or might not be directly associated with it. For instance, the industry perceives MICA to be a C-school which churns out professionals in the field of marketing and advertising. It sees MICAns as those who have a creative flair. On the hindsight, there are some people who perceive MICA to be a laidback organisation where extra-curricular activities are given more importance than education.
According to Robbins, there are 8 basic characteristics needed to create a functional working ethos in any organization. MICA covers all these aspects in order to become a holistic working environment where students as well as employees receive an all round development:
- Openness – MICA encourages an environment where ideas, feedback, feelings and productive meetings are an everyday matter. Students are given regular feedback forms to fill in order to assess the performance and efficiency of the pedagogy in place. Also, the on and off-campus faculty help foster a healthy open environment where the students can directly approach the senior students, the faculty, administration and even the Director himself.
- Confrontation – involves facing problems and working jointly towards solutions. The various committees with their head as the MCS as well as the Class Representatives make sure that every problem, however minute or large it might be, is dealt with in the best democratic and transparent way possible.
- Trust – means confidentiality of information and helping others when need arises. Anyone who is approached, whether they are a faculty member or the MCSA, makes sure that the information shared with them is kept confidential.
- Authenticity – is congruence between what one feels, says and does. The elaborate mix of industry associates who come for teaching the students make sure that the students get a real time industry experience. In addition to this a connection is kept between what the professors say themselves and how they actually behave. “Practice what you Preach” is truly practised at MICA.
- Proactivity – means taking initiative and preventive action as well as preplanning. If there is one thing which MICAns stand for is the energy and vibrancy them bring with them to any project.
- Autonomy – using and giving freedom. The various committees and the kind of power they have is evidence to the fact that the students are given full freedom to handle situations as they deem fit. Entire fests, seminars, events and shows are planned, executed, monitored and analysed by the student body itself.
- Collaboration – working together, team spirit. There is no need to elaborate on how well the entire MICA family works together. It is clear for everyone to see that team-building and group exercises are given major importance here. Even the selection criterion has team-building exercise as one of its tests.
- Experimentation- encouraging new and innovative approaches, using feedback to improve and taking a fresh look. The entire industry knows and expects a certain kind of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking from every MICAn and the institute makes sure that they are not disappointed by formulating a curriculum which gives room for individual creativity.
Functional Aspects of MICA
- Academics and Research – Faculty and Academic Associates of MICA are world class. Apart from the regular faculty, there is visiting faculty from the likes of IIMs to other reputed MBA colleges which imparts all required knowledge to students. There are timely workshops which are conducted on a regular basis to give the students a flavour of the practical applications. The cases taught in class facilitated by the faculty are an asset to the students of MICA.
Apart from PGPM-C which is the flagship course, there are various other courses like EDC, CCC etc. seeing the requirements of the industry.
MICA also conducted Academic Research in addressed to the needs of the marketing and communication industry, in keeping with MICA’s mandate. This acts as a boost to MICA’s reputation in the industry.
The Journals like Journal on Creative Communication are designed to promote inquiry into contemporary communication issues within wider social, economic and technological contexts and provides a forum for the discussion of theoretical and practical insights emerging from such inquiry.
- KEIC – One of the most important assets of MICA is the online Knowledge and Information Centre (KEIC). This provides the students and faculty with numerous information through the database present across the countries. The library has books, journals, magazines, newspapers which increase the knowledge base of all.
- Placements - MICA has been producing high quality, talented individuals since its inception. There are placement companies visiting from across the niche segments like Marketing, Sales, Account Planning, Media Planning. Additionally there are profiles of Corporate Communications etc. offered according to the interests of the students. MICA has regular recruiters who keep coming every year to recruit again banking on the talent of the students.
- Industry Interactions- MICA has always maintained industry interactions across various activities like training, consultancy and joint research through student bodies such as MICAMINDS, MICANVAS and MICA Lecture Series, thereby contributing to the learnings in the Post Graduate Diploma Programme. This is in addition to the Professional Development Programmes conducted by the Institute’s faculty through MICA’s Centre for Continual Education and Learning.
- Alumni – There is a huge database of Alumni which MICA has, especially due to the students working across industries at good positions. The Alumni committee further works with them continuously for their assistance. Alumni Meet is a perfect example of that. Marketing positions for MICA alumni has gained ground, and is peaking. The other industries where MICA alumni have made a place for themselves are Advertising, Media, Public Relations and Entertainment.
- Student Activities – There are various student activities which makes MICA a distinguished institution among other regular MBA colleges. There is MCSA, which is the official face of all students on campus and it acts as a link between students and the administration and thus performs a two-fold function. There is MICANVAS, the regular brand management festival which is organised by the MICANVAS team of college. Similarly, there is a budding Sankalp (Theatre Festival) and a Literary Festival as well. Likewise there are other committees like MICA News, Interface etc. for showcasing MICA in the outside world using Mass Media; MCR which has an annual publication for the college.
- Competitions – MICA gives its students a unique opportunity to participate in various competitions in some of the most prestigious colleges of the country like IIMs, IITs etc. and MICA students prove themselves in the same. There is a lot of exposure due to the same as students solve live cases, practical situations and get a hold of the work in the industry. Students of MICA have won several laurels in the same.
- International Exposure – MICA has students exchange programmes with various universities abroad which gives its students a unique experience to study cross border experiences. Students have choices of good universities abroad amongst which they can choose according to their interest and ability.
Dysfunctional Aspects of MICA
Image crisis(B-School/C-School confusion): One of the major recurring issues that keeps cropping up is MICA’s identity whether its a Business management school or a Communications school. The flagship course Post Graduate Program in Communication Management indicates that its a program which deals with managing communication aspects of the businesses which covers branding, advertising, market research and media buying-selling. However due to its origin from Mudra group which is well known as a major advertising company in India and the CCC program in MICA which is for copywriters, MICA is also perceived just as an advertising institute while advertising is just one aspect.
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This confusion is not limited to just the outsiders but even the students in MICA upto a certain level. While the MICA administration wants to protray it as a C-School a large number of students in MICA came in expecting it to be a B-School. Also the fees which is charged is similar to any top B-School in country but the placements opportunities being better in terms of salaries for business management students rather than communication students also is a major issue that concerns students. This issue also creates conflict for academic curriculum between administration and students.
- Lack of Punctuality: A major aspect of MICAn culture is lack of punctuality. For any lecture or meeting it hardly ever happens that more than 10% students are on time. Even the students who are inherently punctual get demotivated and become non-punctual over time. While this might work in MICA it creates a negative tendency in students to be non-punctual even later on in life which creates a negative image of MICAns in the industry. Also the deadlines are hardly ever adhered to whether its for assignments or projects.
- Academic curriculum: Since MICA offers specialised program in Communication Management which is somewhat exclusive as compared to other B-Schools, therefore certain subjects’ curriculum which are unique to MICA is not evolved enough and there are even doubts over the requirement of certain subjects and the way they are taught.
- Faculty, Assignments and Projects: While MICA is known for its amazing faculty, however for certain courses students feel that certain professors are not good enough to teach the students in a fruitful way. A number of students also feel that while assignments and projects help them in understanding the concepts better however a number of projects and assignments hardly do any value addition and are instead a waste of time. Also since most of the assignments are generally given towards the end of term which results in students hardly being able to give decent time to any of them thereby the intended learning also suffers.
A clear positioning statement for MICA needs to be devised. Thus in this manner there is no ambiguity between the B-School/C-School confusion.
Punctuality issues can be resolved by stricter deadlines and making students realise the importance of deadlines.
More practical and application based assignments should be encouraged. This helps in directly applying the concepts learnt in class. Quant and research based subjects should have practical examinations to test the usage of software being explained in class.
More industry exposure can be planned with the help of industrial visits or guest lectures by industry professionals. This aids in gaining clarity about the industry and know what one is going to work as.
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