The Components Of Culture Business Essay

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Norms unwritten laws of behaviour.They are never expressed in writing,in case they were,they would have been in terms of policies.They are normally informal guidelines to people on ho w to be done,said and believed.An example can be how managers treat the members of the team.

Artefacts-visible and tangible aspects of an organisation that people hear,see or feel and which contribute to their understanding of the organisation's culture.Example can be the way in which the people work.

Management style-the way in which managers take decisions and deal with their staff.An example can be autocratic where the leader himself take decisions without any discussion to its workers,while another example can be democratic where managers engage in discussion with workers before taking discussions.

Importance of culture

Culture is an imporant variable in an organisation.Cultures believe to help people to cope with the uncertainty and ambiguity that naturally occurs in organisations.

First,it has a boundary-that is a defininf role which helps to create distinctions between an organisation and others.

It conveys a sense of identity for the organisation members.

Culture facilitates the generation of commitment to something larger one's individual self-interest.

It enhances social system stability.Culture is the social glue that helps hold the organisation together by providing appropriate standards for wht the employees should say and do.

Culture serves as a sense-making and control mechanism that guides and shapes the attitudes and behaviour of the employees.

Culture reduces ambiguity.

It focuses attention on the human side of organisational life,and finds significance and learning in even its most ordinary aspects.

It clarifies the importance of creating appropriate systems of shared meaning to help people work together towards desired outcomes.

It requires members especially leaders,to acknowledge the impact of their behaviour on the organisation's culture.

Organisational Culture also contributes significantly to the organisation's brand image and brand promise.

Organisation culture creates energy and momentum.The energy will permeate the organisation and create a new momentum for success.

Classifying Key Cultures

Harrison ( 1972) defined four key cultures

1.Power Culture

A power culture is frequently found in small campaiging societies.It involves a powerful character or leader that is only one person in the organisation who holds a lot of power and takes decision. Power Culture usually operates informally,with few rules and procedures.Control is exercised by the centre and decisions are taken on the basis of power and influence.Size is a problem for power cultures,if it becomes too large and complex,it has a tendancy to break.Power Culture are usually found within a small or medium size organisation.Decisions in an organisation that display a power culture are centralised around one key individual.That person likes control and power behind it.As group work is not evident in a power culture,the organisation can react quickly to dangers around it as no consultation is involved.Howeever,this culture has its problems,lack of consultation can lead to staff feeling undervalued and de-motivated,which can lead to high staff turnover.

2.Task Culture

The task culture is job or project oriented.That is they construct people and give employees right to voice out their opinions.Task culture promotes team work.A task culture refers to a team based approach to complete a particulat task.They are very popular in today's modern business society where the organisation will establish particular " project teams " to complete a task to date.A task culture clearly offer some benefits.Staff feels motivated because they are empowered to make decisions within their their team,they will also feel valued because they may have been selected within that team and given the responsibility to bring the task to a successful end.

The matrix organisation is one of the structural form of the task culture.Task culture arranges human resources around the project in hand,and lets the team organisation themselves ( self-determining teams).Influnece is based more on expert power than on position or personal power.This culture is extremely adaptable,and appropriate for task-centred,mission driven organisations-particularly campaigning organisations-as it enhances creativity and motivation.It is flexible and enables reactivity.However, task culture finds it difficult to achieve economies of scale.This system can become strined when the organisationis short of funding or people.Then,the manager can tend to attemp to wrestle back control,and team leaders can begin to compete for funding or staff resources-leading to a breakdown of team mentality and a move towards power or role culture.

3.Role Culture

Role culture is what was previously known as "bureaucracy".Work is coordinated by a manager,or small number of managers,at the top of the structure.The pillars are strong functional departments.The work of these departments is coordinated and controlled by;

Procedures governing roles e.g authority and job descriptions

Procedures for communications e.g document distribution and circulation rules

Rules for settlement of disputes e.g appeal to lowest crossover points

With ultimate coordination of disputes and control by senior manager (s)

Position power is the major power source in this culture : personal power is not welcomed,and expert powerr only appreciated "in its proper place ".Rules and procedures are all encompassing.The success of this culture depends on appropriate allocation of roles nad responsibilities.Also,a stable environement is necessaryfor this culture to work. Role culture is frustrating for individuals who are power orientated or want control over his or her own work and the way in which it is done.

4.People culture

person culture is where the individual is the focus of the organisation.Communes and partnerships ( e.g management consultants) sometimes have this culture.Person cultures are commonly found in charities or non profit organisations.The focus of the organisation is the individual or a particular aim.

How is Culture develop?


Culture is normally developed by the owner or founder.He has an enormous role in establishing its onw culture,altough its impact will wane over time.


Culture often changes as an orgnisation grows.For example, as the number of staff and functions of an organisation expand,a move towards role culture is often seen.

Organisational Environment

In a rapidly changing environment,task culture may be approriate. In a static environment,role culture may be preferable.A challenging environement ( for example,in times of dictorship or other challenge,power culture may be appropriate )

National Culture

Different nationalities may work better in different organisational cultures.

Function and purpose

Different cultures may be appropriate for different fuctions or purposes.For example,a task culture may ne convenient for campaigning and role culture for servvice delivery.

Goals and Objectives

Qualityof service delivery is more likely to be achieved under role culture ,whereas successful campaigningis more likely under task culture.A power or task culture is more appropriate for growth goals.Goals are devised according to that culture.


Different individuals prefer working under different cultures.It may be counter-productive for an organisation to attempt culture if key staff would feel uncomfortable or alienated in the desired culture.


The move towards increased use of technology tends to push organisations towards role culture,with associated procedures and protocols.


An organisation's policies also become part of its culture,and impart strongly on its work.It follows that these should be formulated and agreed carefully,with full staff consultation.

Critical Incidents

Culture is also developed according to lessons that have been learnt from the past whether it has been a good experience or a bad one.

Every organisation has its own culture,whether it knows or not.It is a very powerful influence on everyone's behaviour,from the senior management to the janitor.


According to Deal and Kennedy ( 1982),"culture is a system of informal rules that spells out how people are to behave most of the time." while Furnham and Gunter (1993) defined culture as "the way we do things around here ".

There are at least as many slants on the definition of culture but all of them suggests that culture is a complex set and pattern of assumptions,beliefs,formal and informal operating rules and policies,norms,values and behavioural artifacts ( examples-language,jargon language,stories,symbols,myths,ceremonies and rituals) that develop in an organisation.

A recent Fortune magazine over story entitled " The 100 Best Companies to Work For" [ Levring and Moskowitz,2001,pg 148 ] states that the current business environment can be characterised as ' a pitched battle for talent '.There are many jobs than people,especially in firms..... that need highly skilled people." The article also poses the question " How do best companies maintain their leading edge in such a competitive environment?" Fortune's answer lies in one word: Culture.The concept of culture has become an increasingly important factor in the management of today's organisation.

Culture may be strong or weak.In a strong culture,the organisation's core values are both intensely held and widely shared.The more the members who accept the core values and the greater their commitment to those values,the stronger is the culture.A strong culture will have a great influence on the behaviour of its members because of the high degree of sharing and intensity creates an internal climate of high behavioural control.


An organisation's current customs,traditions and general ways of doing things are largely due to what has been done berfore and the degree of sucess it has had those endavours .This has lead us to the ultimate source of an organisation's culture-its founders.Once a culture is established,practices within the organisation act to maintain it by giving the employees a set of similar experiences.For example,human resource practices like selection process,performance evaluation,criteria and promotion procedures ensure taht the employees fit in within the culture.

Weak points of culture

Culture is considered to be a liability where the shared values are not in agreement with those that will increase the organisation's effectiveness.When,the environment is undergoing rapid change,the organisation's entrenched culture may no longer be appropriate.So,consistency of behaviour becomes a liablity to an organisation and makes it difficult to respond to changes in the environment.Organisations which have strong cultures become a barrier when the usual business is no longet effective.

Strong culture limit the range of values and styles that the employees bring.Organisations normally recruit diverse individuals because of the alternative strenghts thses people bring to the workplace.Yet,these diverse behaviours and strenghts are likely to diminish in strong cultures as people attempt to fit in.Therefore,strong culture become an obstacle when they effectively eliminate these unique strenghts that people of different backgrounds bring to the organisation.

Role of HRM on org culture

HRM is a reflection of culture in which it operates,of its characteristics and of power relationships between individuals.HRM has in ensuring employee groups and employee identity is the core of managing a healthy organisation culture.

HRM must cater for cultural values as the latter influence the behaviours of employees in an organisation.If a worker is satisfied and motivated,so the employer will surely contribute to the sucess of the organisation.