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Organizational culture is considered to be a critical factor in building and reinforcing knowledge management in organizations by impacting how members learn, acquire, and share knowledge. But there is no theoretical framework, to explain the effect of organizational culture in initiating knowledge creation, and it’s sharing and transferring in organizations. This paper endeavours to develop an integrative framework for organizational knowledge management and organizational culture by identifying the conceptual parallels between theories of organizational culture and knowledge creation and conversion frameworks. The integrative framework of organizational culture and organizational knowledge management would not only facilitate organizational learning and lead to the improvement of knowledge management practices but should also facilitate creation of processes to put that knowledge in action. This paper also presents the implications of suggested integrative framework for theory and practice, and directions for future research.
Keywords: Organizational culture, Knowledge Management, Competing Values Framework, Knowledge Creation and Conversion Framework
In the era of globalization, knowledge creation and knowledge management has become the dominant factor for organizations’ global competitiveness (Bhagat, Kedia, Harveston, & Triandis, 2002), and it is a crucial progenitor to effective organizational performance and success (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Martin, 2000; Popadiuk & Choo, 2006). The significance of knowledge creation and management was highlighted by Nonaka (1991) when he noted “successful companies are those that consistently create new knowledge, disseminate it widely throughout the organization and quickly embody it in new technologies and products.” Knowledge management facilitates organizations to actualize the value of human capital (Brown & Woodland, 1999).
The organizational culture is considered to be a critical factor in building and reinforcing knowledge creation and knowledge management in organization by impacting how members learn, acquire, and share knowledge (Gummer, 1998; (Knapp & Yu, 1999; Gupta & Govindarajan, 2000; Martin, 2000; Alavi & Leinder, 2001). Paradoxically, the organizational culture has also been identified as the main hindrance to successful knowledge management in organizations (Ribere & Sitar, 2003; De Long & Fahey, 2000; Rastogi, 2000; Bock, 1999; Knapp & Yu, 1999). But it is very little known how organizational culture enables or obstructs knowledge creation and knowledge creation and knowledge management in organizations.
It is evident from the research literature that the primary focus of the studies have been to develop frameworks/models and typologies to define and outline the characteristics of organizational culture, for e.g., the ‘Competing Values Framework’ (Quinn & Rohrbaugh, 1983), the “Organizational Culture Profile” (O’Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwel, 1991), etc. The recent researches in knowledge management have also unambiguously emphasized the intimate relationship between knowledge management and organizational culture (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Davenport & Prusak, 2000; as cited in Holowetzki, 2002). But there is no theoretical framework to explain the effect of organizational culture in initiating knowledge creation, and its sharing and transferring in organizations. In addition, recent studies also increasingly recognize that the organizational and social context of learning is a vital aspect of knowledge creation, conversion and transfer (Easterby-Smith, Snell, & Gherardi, 1998). Thus, knowledge management is built on augmenting individual participation in communities of practice (Easterby-Smith, Snell, & Gherardi, 1998). In other words, as compared to ‘inert’ reserve of knowledge, the organizational success is more dependent on the active social processes through which knowledge is created, enhanced, renewed, and transferred. Hence, organizations need to foster cultures where their members are promoted to share knowledge in order to gain competitive advantage, but unfortunately they have little understanding of how to create and leverage it in practice (Wenger, 1998). Therefore, further research is needed to understand the relationship between organizational culture and knowledge creation and its management.
In this paper, I have endeavoured to extend previous theories by examining the interrelationships between organizational culture and knowledge creation and knowledge management, and develop an integrative framework for organizational culture and knowledge management in organizations by identifying conceptual parallels between theories of organizational culture and knowledge creation and knowledge management frameworks. The integrative framework of organizational culture and knowledge management in organizations would facilitate organizational learning and lead to the betterment of knowledge management practices. It should also facilitate creation of processes to put that knowledge in action.
This rest of the paper is structured into six sections. In the first section, I have explained the framework for ‘knowledge creation and conversion’ (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). In the next section, I have briefly described the ‘Competing Values Framework’ (Quinn & Rohrbaugh, 1983; 1983) and some conceptual modifications to the ‘Competing Values Framework’. In the third section, after examining the linkages and interrelationships between ‘Competing Values Framework’ and ‘knowledge creation and conversion’ framework, I have developed an integrative theoretical framework to understand the relationship between creation and management of knowledge in organizations and its culture. I have briefly discussed the theoretical and practical implications of the proposed integrative model in the penultimate section. I have concluded by highlighting the importance of the proposed integrative model, limitations of the present study, and presenting directions for future research.
Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Management: A Theoretical Framework
Knowledge is a multifaceted concept and researchers have defined it in many ways. Interesting, while the researchers have unanimously agreed about the significance of knowledge, especially with regard to requirement of the organizations to continuously develop new knowledge to compete in the rapidly changing environment, there is no agreement among the scholars and practitioners with respect to the concepts and definitions related to knowledge and knowledge management (King, 2000; Martin, 2000). According to (Davenport & Prusak, 2000; as cited in Holowetzki, 2002) “knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information.” (Davenport & Prusak, 2000; as cited in Holowetzki, 2002) further explain that in organizations, knowledge “often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories, but also in organizational routines, processes, practices, and norms.”
According to Malhotra (1997), knowledge that is contained in the minds of organizational members is the greatest organizational resource. Malhotra (1997) further contends that knowledge management is not only about managing knowledge assets, but also managing the interpersonal and organizational processes that act upon these assets. In a 1998 study, Malhotra further defines “knowledge management as a synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.”
Rastogi (2000) defines knowledge management as a “systematic and integrative process of coordinating organization-wide activities of acquiring, creating, storing, sharing, diffusing, developing, and deploying knowledge by individuals and groups in pursuit of major organizational goals.” It is the process through which organizations create and use their institutional and collective knowledge by incorporating organizational learning, knowledge production, and knowledge distribution (Rastogi, 2000).
Despite the subtle differences between various definitions, scholars agree that effective and efficient knowledge management is central to the organizational performance and success (Martin, 2000; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). In this paper, I define knowledge as ‘justified true beliefs’ derived from accumulated information (Nonaka, 1994), and knowledge creation as the generation of new knowledge (Argote, McEvily, & Reagans, 2003).
Knowledge Creation and Conversion
Nonaka’s research (Nonaka, 1994; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Nonaka, Toyama & Konno, 2000; Nonaka & Toyama, 2003) represents the main theoretical underpinning for understanding how organizational knowledge is created, shared, converted and transferred in present-day organizations. Even though some scholars disapprove of Nonaka’s work for emphasizing the need to convert tacit knowledge (Tsoukas, 2003) and assuming cultural universality (Glisby & Holden, 2003), his research provides an internationally agreed terminology that is used to describe a generalized theory of knowledge creation and conversion to which important divergences can be drawn. Therefore, Nonaka’s framework (Nonaka, 1994, 2005; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Nonaka, Toyama & Konno, 2000; Nonaka & Toyama, 2003) has been used in this study to describe the process of knowledge creation and conversion in organizations.
Scholars generally categorize ‘knowledge’ into two types – tacit and explicit knowledge (Nonaka, 1994, 2005; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Nonaka, Toyama & Konno, 2000; Nonaka & Toyama, 2003). Nonaka’s research (Nonaka, 1994, 2005; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Nonaka, Toyama & Konno, 2000; Nonaka & Toyama, 2003) builds on the difference between explicit and tacit knowledge (Polanyi, 1966; as cited in Walsh, Bhatt, & Bartunek, 2009). Tacit knowledge, also known as embedded and sticky knowledge, is subjective and experience based knowledge, which cannot be expressed in works, sentences, number or formulas, etc. (Polanyi, 1966; as cited in Walsh, Bhatt, & Bartunek, 2009). This also includes cognitive skills such as beliefs, images, intuition, and mental models as well as technical skills such as craft and knowhow (Polanyi, 1966; as cited in Walsh, Bhatt, & Bartunek, 2009). Tacit knowledge is deeply embedded in an individual’s actions and experience as well as in his/her ideals, values, or emotions (Nonaka & Konno, 1998). On the other hand, explicit knowledge or sometimes called leaky knowledge, is objective and rational, which can be documented and can be distributed to others which includes guidelines, procedures, white papers, reports, strategies and others (Nonaka & Konno, 1998; Kakabadse, Kouzmin, & Kakabadse, 2001). Although both types of knowledge have distinguishing features between them, they actually complement each other so far as knowledge creation and conversion in organizations is concerned. Explicit knowledge without the tacit insight quickly loses its meaning (Nonaka, Toyama & Konno, 2000). However, according to Nahapiet & Ghoshal (1998), “tacitness may be considered as a variable, with a degree of tacitness being a function of extent to which the knowledge is or can be codified or abstracted.” Knowledge may dynamically shift between tacit and explicit over time (Nonaka, Toyama & Konno, 2000), but some knowledge will always remain tacit (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998).
Knowledge is created through a process in which various contradictions are synthesized through dynamic interactions among individuals, the organization, and the environment (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000; Nonaka & Toyama, 2003). Besides, the process of knowledge creation is through a spiral that integrates seemingly two opposing concepts such as “tacit and explicit, chaos and order, micro individual) and macro (environment), self and other, mind and body, part and whole, deduction and induction, creativity and control, top-down and bottom-up, bureaucracy and task force, and so forth” (Takeuchi & Nonaka. 2004)
Figure 1: Knowledge created through a spiral
Source: Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno (2000)
Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) have identified four distinct processes – socialization, externalization, combination and internalization (SECI) – by which new knowledge is created through conversion between tacit and explicit knowledge. Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno (2000) have further extended the SECI process and proposed a more detailed framework consisting of two more elements, which explains how organizations create knowledge dynamically. These two elements are ba, the shared context for knowledge creation; and knowledge assets – the inputs, outputs, and moderator of the knowledge-creating process (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000).
The SECI process: four modes of knowledge conversion
According to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), an organization creates knowledge through the interactions between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge, and the interaction between the two types of knowledge is known as `knowledge conversion’. The basic concept underlying the SECI process is that the knowledge is first created with in the individuals, which is then transmitted to other organization. The approach underlying Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) model is that knowledge conversion is a social interaction between individuals and not confined within an individual. Figure 2 provides a conceptual diagram of the four modes of knowledge conversion.
Figure 2: Conceptual diagram of the SECI process
Source: Adapted from Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995)
‘Socialization’ is a process where individuals share experiences with each other, which also includes creation and sharing of mental models, world views, and mutual trust (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Nonaka & Konno, 1998). Socialization also occurs beyond organizational boundaries. Firms often acquire and take advantage of the tacit knowledge embedded in customers or suppliers by interacting with them (Bojnord & Afrazeh, 2006). ‘Externalization’ characterizes the conversion of tacitly held knowledge, such as specialized knowledge held by customers or specialists, into an explicit, readily understandable form (Nonaka & Konno, 1998; Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). The conversion of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge helps it to be crystallized and being shared by others, which becomes basis for creation of new knowledge (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000; Byosiere & Luethge, 2004). The successful conversion of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge depends on the sequential use of metaphor, analogy, and model (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). The above two modes, which use tacit knowledge as an input, represent ‘exploration’ processes (Popadiuk & Choo, 2006).
The other two modes of knowledge creation, which employ explicit knowledge as an input, represent ‘exploitation’ processes (Popadiuk & Choo, 2006). ‘Combination’ is the next stage where existing explicit knowledge is articulated, shared, and reconfigured into more complex and systematic sets of explicit knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Nonaka & Konno, 1998; Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000; McIntyre, Gauvin, & Waruszynski, 2003). This process is facilitated by large-scale databases and computerized communication networks (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Finally, the ‘internalization’ mode is the process where explicit knowledge is embodied and internalized through knowledge interpretation and is converted into tacit knowledge (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000; Byosiere & Luethge, 2004). When knowledge is internalized to become part of individuals’ tacit knowledge bases in the form of shared mental models or technical know-how, it becomes a valuable asset ((Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). This tacit knowledge accumulated at the individual level can then set off a new spiral of knowledge creation when it is shared with others through socialization (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Instead of progressing in sequential stages, these four modes represent essential components of an optimal spiral of knowledge creation, which “amplifies knowledge created by individuals and crystallizes it as a part of the knowledge network of the organization” (Nonaka, 1994).
Ba: shared context in motion for knowledge creation
Contrary to the Cartesian view of knowledge, which emphasizes the absolute and context-free nature of knowledge, Nonaka (1994) and Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno (2000) assert that the knowledge-creation is basically a rational process, which requires ‘ba”  or shared context. ‘Ba’ is the key in “knowledge creation, generation and regeneration as it provides the energy, quality, and place to perform the individual conversions and to move along the knowledge spiral” (Nonaka & Konno, 1998). Ba, however, does not essentially mean a physical space; it, in fact, means a specific time and space (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000).
The key idea in understanding ba is ‘interaction’ among those who share the context, and such interactions consequently results in knowledge creation (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). There are two dimensions of interactions: one dimension characterizes whether the interaction takes place individually or collectively, and the other dimension characterizes whether the interaction takes place through face-to-face contact or virtual media such as books, manuals, e-mails, etc. (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Ba is classified into four types on the basis of the dimensions of interactions: (i) originating ba, (ii) dialoguing ba, (iii) systemizing ba, and (iv) exercising ba (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). While the relationships between each single ba and conversion mode is not exclusive, each ba offers a context for a specific step in the knowledge-creation process.
Originating ba is a place, which primarily offers a context for socialization where individuals interact face-to-face and share their experiences, feelings, emotions and mental models, which are important elements in sharing tacit knowledge (Nonaka & Konno, 1998; Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Originating ba is the place where care, love, trust, and commitment emerge, which forms the basis for knowledge conversion among individuals (Nonaka & Konno, 1998). Dialoguing ba is place where collective and face-to-face interactions take place during which individuals’ mental models and skills are shared, and converted into common terms, and expressed as concepts (Nonaka & Konno, 1998). Thus, dialoguing ba primarily offers a context for externalization (Nonaka & Konno, 1998; Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Systemizing ba is a place which mainly offers a context for combination where existing explicit knowledge can be relatively easily transmitted to a large number of people in formal form such as through on-line or network modes of communication, groupware, documentation and databanks, which actually offers a virtual collaborative environment for the creation of systemizing ba (Nonaka & Konno, 1998; Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Exercising ba is a place where individual and virtual interactions takes place which facilitates individuals embodying explicit knowledge that is communicated through virtual media, such as written manuals or simulation programs (Nonaka & Konno, 1998). Thus, exercising ba primarily offers a context for internalization (Nonaka & Konno, 1998; Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). The SECI process of knowledge creation and conversion and the characteristic of ba can be mapped together (Figure 3).
Figure 3: The SECI process of knowledge creation & conversion and types of interaction of ba
Source: Adapted from Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno (2000)
According to Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno (2000), knowledge assets, which are the inputs, outputs, and moderating factors of the knowledge-creating process, are extremely critical to the knowledge-creating processes. For example, trust among organizational members is created as an output of the knowledge creating process, and at the same time it moderates how ba functions as a platform for the knowledge-creating process. For proper understanding of how knowledge assets are created, acquired, and exploited, Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno (2000) have categorized knowledge assets into four types: (i) experiential knowledge assets, (ii) conceptual knowledge assets, (iii) systematic knowledge assets, and (iv) routine knowledge assets.
Experiential knowledge assets consist of the shared tacit knowledge, which is built through shared hands-on experience amongst the members of the organization, and between the members of the organization and other stakeholders (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Often because of tacit nature, the experiential knowledge assets are difficult to comprehend, evaluate or trade. In addition, if these assets are difficult to imitate, they are a source of sustainable competitive advantage to a firm (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Conceptual knowledge assets consist of explicit knowledge expressed through images, symbols and language (Magnier-Watanabe, 2009). They are the assets based on the perceptions held by members and other stakeholders of the organization, for e.g., brand equity is a notion perceived by customers, and designs are notions perceived by the members of the organization (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Since conceptual knowledge assets are tangible, they are easier to comprehend as compared to experiential knowledge assets (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Systemic knowledge assets consist of systematized and packaged explicit knowledge, such as explicitly stated technologies, product specifications, manuals, and documented and packaged information about customers and suppliers (Magnier-Watanabe, 2009). Other examples of systemic knowledge are legally protected intellectual property rights such as patents, geographic indications, trademarks, etc. Since these assets are tangible, visible and easily comprehensible, they can be transferred relatively easily (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Routine knowledge assets consist of the tacit knowledge that is routinized and embedded in the actions and practices of the organization, for e.g., know-how, organizational culture, organizational routines for carrying out the day-to-day business of the organization, etc. (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). Through continuous exercises, certain patterns of thinking and action are reinforced and shared amongst organizational members (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). These four types of knowledge assets form the basis of the knowledge-creating process, and since knowledge assets are dynamic, new knowledge assets can be created from existing knowledge assets (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). The four categories of knowledge assets correspond with the four modes of SECI knowledge creation and conversion processes (Figure 4).
Figure 4: SECI knowledge conversion process and knowledge assets
Understanding Organizational Culture: ‘Competing Values Framework’
In the past few decades, the concept of organizational culture has gained wide acceptance as a way to understand human systems and it has been studied from a variety of perspectives ranging from disciplines such as anthropology and sociology, to the applied disciplines of organizational behavior, management science and organizational commitment (Naicker, 2008). The contemporary definition of organizational culture includes what is valued, the dominant leadership style, the language and symbols, the procedures and routines, and the definitions of success that characterizes an organization (Schein, 1992; Cameron & Quinn, 1999; as cited in Berrio, 2003). Organizational Culture represents the values, underlying assumptions, expectations, collective memories, and definitions present in an organization (Schein, 1992; Cameron & Quinn, 1999; as cited in Berrio, 2003).
Several scholars have developed integrative frameworks of organizational culture (Allaire & Firsirotu, 1984; Schein, 1985, 1992; Ott, 1989; Martin , 1992; as cited in Zhou-Sivunen, 2005; Hatch, 1993), but there is hardly any consensus with regard to a general theory of organizational culture (Zhou-Sivunen, 2005). I have, however, used the ‘Competing Values Framework’ (CVF) in this paper to develop an integrative framework as it is one of the most significant and extensively used models for constructing the profile of an organization’s culture (Cameron and Quinn, 1999). The Competing Values Framework’ was initially based on research to identify indicators of organizational effectiveness  (Quinn & Rohrbaugh, 1983).
The basic framework consists of two dimensions: one dimension differentiates an emphasis on flexibility, discretion, and dynamism from an emphasis on stability, order, and control; and the other dimension differentiates an internal orientation with a focus on integration, collaboration, and unity from an external orientation with a focus on differentiation, competition, and rivalry (Cameron & Quinn 1999). While one continuum ranges from versatility and pliability on one end to steadiness and durability on the other end, the other continuum ranges from cohesion and consonance on the one end to separation and independence on the other (Cameron, n.a.). Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983) pointed out that these two sets of competing values are recognized dilemmas in the organizational literature.
The two dimensions of the ‘Competing Values Framework’ form four quadrants, each one representing a distinct set of organizational and individual factors which guide organizational tasks of environmental management and internal integration (Cameron & Quinn 1999). It is noteworthy that these four models represent opposite or competing assumptions (Cameron & Quinn 1999). Each dimension highlights a core value that is opposite from the value on the other end of the continuum, i.e., flexibility versus stability, internal focus versus external focus. The dimensions, therefore, produce quadrants that are also contradictory or competing on the diagonal.
Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983) named the four quadrants as four models: human relations model (upper left quadrant), open system model (upper right quadrant), rational goal model (lower right quadrant), and internal process model (lower left quadrant). The four effectiveness criteria models in the ‘Competing Values Framework’ are also called four organizational culture types (Cameron & Quinn 2006; as cited in Yu & Wu, 2009). Based on former organizational culture studies in the literature, these four culture types were termed as Clan, Adhocracy, Market, and Hierarchy, respectively (Cameron & Quinn 2006; as cited in Yu & Wu, 2009). The characteristics and implications of each culture type are summarized as below.
The clan culture (upper left quadrant), referred to as the human relation perspective, is characterized by values that highlight internal, organic focus and flexibility (Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). The emphasis is on information sharing, teamwork, collaboration, talent management, empowerment, interpersonal relationships, and participative decision-making (Cameron, n.a.). Members are part of a common social system or clan and are bonded together through the development of a sense of affiliation and belonging (Cameron & Quinn, 1999; Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). According to Wilkins & Ouchi (1983), the growth of clan culture is encouraged by conditions such as a relatively long history and stable membership, absence of institutional alternatives, frequent interactions among members, etc.
The adhocracy culture (upper right quadrant), referred to as the open systems perspective, is characterized by values that highlight external, organic focus and flexibility (Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). The emphasis is on innovation, creativity, articulating future vision, adaptation, transformation change, growth, entrepreneurship, external support, and resource acquisition (Cameron, n.a.). Members are part of adjusting adhocracies and are bonded together through being motivated, enthused and challenged (Cameron & Quinn, 1999; Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). The adhocracy culture is like a temporary institution, which is dissolved or which ceases to exist whenever the organizational tasks are ended, and reemerges quickly whenever new tasks arise (Yu & Wu, 2009). The adhocracy culture is frequently found in such industries as filming, consulting, space flight, and software development, etc. (Yu & Wu, 2009).
The market culture (lower right quadrant), denoted as the rational goal perspective, is characterized by values that highlight predictability, external focus, and control (Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). The emphasis is on competitiveness, fast response, decisiveness, productivity, goal clarity, driving through barriers, efficiency, and goal achievement (Cameron, n.a.). Members are part of market type organizations and are united together through goal orientation and competition (Cameron & Quinn, 1999; Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). Instead of focusing on the internal management, the emphasis of market culture is on the businesses/dealings/communications with the environment outside the organization instead of on the internal management (Ouchi, 1979; 1984; Yu & Wu, 2009). The organizational goal is to earn profits through market competition (Ouchi, 1979; 1984).
The hierarchy culture (lower left quadrant), referred to as the internal process perspective or hierarchy culture, is characterized by values that highlight predictability, control, and internal focus (Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). The focus is on routine and predictable work processes, structuring, documentation, assessment and measurement, centralization, controlling processes, stability, efficiency improvement, and continuity (Cameron, n.a.). In organizations typified by hierarchical culture, members are united together through internal controls mechanisms such as rules, guidelines, policies, and procedures (Cameron & Quinn, 1999; Cameron, Quinn, DeGaff, & Thakor, n.a.). These organizations have clear organizational structure, standardized rules and procedures, strict control, and well defined responsibilities (Weber, 1947; as cited in Yu & Wu, 2009).
In the real world, organizations are rarely typified by a single culture type; an effective organization may need to perform well on all four sets of criteria, and the organizations having all the four quadrants adequately represented are considered to be ‘balanced’ and perform well (Yu & Wu, 2009). Leaders in such organizations are able to balance inconsistent and competing demands, suggesting that high performance requires concurrent mastery of seemingly contradictory or paradoxical abilities (Yu & Wu, 2009). In contrast, cultures considered ‘imbalanced’ tend to underline values linked with rational goals (market) and internal process (hierarchy) cultures at the expense of values that characterize other cultures, thereby resulting in comparatively poor organizational performance (Denison & Spreitzer, 1991; Yeung, Brockbank, & Ulrich, 1991). Though organizations have propensity to develop an overriding organizational culture over time as the organization adapts and responds to the challenges and changes in the environment (Cameron & Quinn, 1999), at any given time there are likely to be tradeoffs between the criteria (Yu & Wu, 2009). Quinn & Cameron (1983) suggested that organizations are often confronted with contradictory functional requirements that are linked with the formation of mutually antagonistic arrangement that function to meet these requirements. Furthering this contention, they also suggested that at certain thresholds, these conflicts might become particularly overstated; often resulting in m
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