The degree of culture in companies

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As we know that each individual organisation has its own value and unique environment, and that brings out the influence on the human nature. But it should be also bear in mind, that there are certain things, that is not in the limit or authority of one individual's power, and the person who is new to the business must learn what these things are.

Usually Managers who are new to the organization try their best effort to bring out the changes in the culture with the best of their up-to-date knowledge and skills. They gain these knowledge by attending seminars and workshops.

Not all the Managers are best in passing out the knowledge to their employees,

or sometimes they take longer to do so because they are fully occupied in other different things.

We can take a metaphoric example of describing "Culture" of any organisation as the lion, chimpanzee, gorilla, wolf, dog, cow, sheep, elephant and cat.

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The "lion culture" symbolizes "a leader in its field", ruling it with his great effort, taking over others when he needs to, but relaxed for most of the time. So the lion becomes a "dominant" figure.

So, basically the organizational culture helps to take account for differences amongst other organizations. A question is asked to the Manager working in a particular company that why people know things in their own way and behave differently? The answer is, that is the way they come up with. Each individual has his own thinking, taste, likeness and dislikeness.

The culture not only reduces the complexity but also provides the consistency in the way the individual thinks and values. It also helps to make decisions and coordination amongst the other individual.

Understanding Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is simply defined as the combination of values, attributes, beliefs and norms or an organization.

For example:

In 1979, Andrew M Pettigrew introduced the anthropological concept of culture and showed how related concepts like symbols, myth and rituals can be used in organizational analysis. Besides, different authors gave different definitions of organizational culture. "Culture is the pattern of shared beliefs and values that give members of an institution meaning and provide them with the rules for behaviour in their organization".

Davis (1984)

According to Schall (1983) "An Organization might then be studied by discovering and synthesizing its rules of social interaction and interpretation, as revealed in the behaviour they shape Social interaction and interpretation are communication activities, so it follows that the culture could be described by articulating communication rules"

Also consider definition of organizational culture by Van de Post et al. (1998), "Culture is, to the organization, what personality is to the individual. It is a hidden but unifying force that provides meaning and direction. It is also a system of shared meanings, or systems of beliefs and values that ultimately shapes employee behaviour."

(Rashid et al., 2003, p710-713).

So it is clearly to be understood that the culture is a phenomenon that strictly impacts on the aspects of daily life. It determines the way that people behave, socialize and interact with each other. It also defines the nations and also seperates them according to the way of people's thinking.

It is said that a person brings culture to the degree of the organization, it is done so through his vast observation, this makes him to manage, change and manipulate in the organization. But it must also keep in mind that the elements of good leadership is the process of culture creation and strong management skills. The cultures is developed by the leaders who are able to implant their values and assumptions onto a group.

There are factors that influence the organizational culture, I.e.,

Leadership

Management practices

Formal socialization process

Business environment.

The informal socialization process.

The concept of organizational culture has been widely adopted in professional and academic literature and is a very important element is providing the basis for managerial judgment about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Manager's role of the organizational culture that exist in their workplace are the main factors of their work attitudes, and thus provide an important framework for understanding manager's decisions and behaviour at work.

The Culture and its impact on the Organization:

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The concept of culture has become so fixed into the work organizations that it is people who work within the organization who understand what it means. This in turn made them how to manage organizational culture.

Organizational culture is formed and transformed over time to time. An organization responds to and reflects industry characteristics such as the competitive environment and the customer requirements, as well as the community values held by its employees, and the values and behaviours of its founders or early leaders.

There is a wide understanding that the organizational culture is a major component that contributes towards the success of the business organization. There are different opinions that people have about this view. Some authors such as Peters and Waterman (1982) believe that the culture has an impact on organizational performance whereas others such as Hitt and Ireland (1987) opined that no coherent link can be found between the culture and the performance has become a critical tool for strategists to design organizations because it enables the organization to make the best use of its knowledge and experience for establishing and achieving desired goals and learning about wisdom as the process of discerning judgments and action based on knowledge. (Bierly et al., 2000 cited in Wang et al., 2003, p11-12)

According to my research, I have tended to look at all the views of different authors and how the cultural factor leads to business success. According to Martins and Terblanche (2003) post industrial organizations are knowledge based organizations and their success and survival depends upon creativity, innovation, discovery and inventing .An effective reaction to these demands does not only lead to changes, but to innovative changes within organizations that ensure their existence. The concepts of creativity and innovation have a role to play in this change process for survival, and the result is that organizations and leaders try to create an institutional framework in which creativity and innovation will be accepted as basic cultural norms.

(Martins et al., 2003, p 64)

However, various other authors have emphasized on the importance of organizational culture in this context since it is the organizational culture that seems to have an influence on the degree to which creativity and innovation are stimulated in an organization.

So why is Organizational Culture Important?

Culture plays an important role of effective organizational performance.

Peters and Waterman (1982) drew attention to their importance of corporate culture in their study of 62 American companies which had an outstanding successful performance. According to them, "the cultural factor proved to be an essential quality of such companies."

(Mullins, 1996, p715)

In this case the strong culture was the main reason why these organizations were directed towards the marketplace and there was a lesser need for 'written rules'. People who work in such organizations are well acknowledged that what they have to do and how they are going to do.

Therefore, the part of the organizational development and improved performance is the specific element for effective management. The responsibility of the management in consideration and cooperation, guide and direct the efforts of members towards the achievement of targets and goals. However, the surrounding environment also counts for the management. Therefore both the management and applications of organizational behaviour are dependent upon the culture.

Its been proven that organizational culture is a powerful tool for improving the performance, leadership and organizational development. These performances are developed by understanding the needs of the individual.

Case Study:

The British Airways Cultural

As we know that British Airways is the UK's largest international scheduled airline, flying to over 550 destinations at suitable times to the passengers, and on the best located airports. The British Airways group consists of British Airways Plc and a number of subsidiary companies including in particular British Airways Holidays Limited and British Airways Travel Shops Limited.

By the standards of modern management myths the British Airways transformation is impressive. Back in 1980's BA was performing worst against almost every indicator. An old fleet made for uncomfortable journeys and airline's record for unpunctuality, its productivity was below that of its main overseas competitors. BA adopted the management literature attributes and this turnaround to its own cultural change which wonderful staff attitudes and set customer care as the primary focus of activity. It is certainly true that a great deal of effort and energy went into shaping BA's culture.

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In December 1983, the company's new chief executive, Colin Marshall, launched training program 'Putting People First'. That was originally intended for staff who were into customer services. It was attended by all 40,000 employees in 1986 and it aimed to revolutionize their attitudes. By privatization in UK, BA controlled 60% of the UK domestic market. Post privatization its position was actually strengthened when it gained a 75% share of domestic routes.

But the most impressive aspect of BA's cultural change is not so much the sophistication of the PPF program itself, nor the commitment of executive time, but the extent to which other employment policies and practices were changed to fit the 'new' culture and the continued emphasis on these practices and programs throughout the 1980s and 1990:

· Managerial bonuses could be as much as 20 per cent of salary

· The way cabin crew was roistered was also changed. 'Families' of staff were created to work the same shift patterns.

· Courses intent to support and teach employee, training programs, etc.

Direct contact with all staff was considered so important that 'down route' briefings were developed to ensure that mobile and isolated staff was not neglected and in March 1996 BA became the first company to make daily TV broadcasts to its staff.

Colin Marshall as chief executive continued this active management of company culture and said of his staff: "I want them to feel inspired; I want them to feel optimistic, I want them to feel that this is a good place to be".

Together with other presentations of culture change it neglects structure. Yet the existence of cultural factors does not negate more material ones and there were certainly structural reasons for BA's success. Colin Marshall's emphasis on putting people first and caring for one another had been preceded by a rule of fear. BA's first response to its problems had been a massive series of redundancies, the largest in British history at the time, with staff numbers reduced by 40% between 1981 and 1983, senior staff were not exempt from this.

(www.baa.com)

In my opinion, the company's cultural transformation is a open to question. There is little doubt that, in theory, cultural change inventions are both manipulative and autocratic. There was enthusiasm and acceptance certainly, but there was also doubt, concern, opposition and open cynicism. This is not to suggest that BA's cultural change was unimportant. Indeed, the move to 'design' employees, to shape the way they think and feel about their work rather than simply control what they produce is a new development. BA's program of culture change was not an expression of mutual trust and reciprocal emotional obligations between the company's employees and its management. Rather, it was an alternative control mechanism and should be understood as such. The way that this control mechanism is implemented and the consequences that it has differ from other forms of personal, technical or bureaucratic control; but management by culture is not automatically either better or worse than other forms of regulation and may inspire varied responses.