The implications of workforce and organization performance

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Before start focusing on organizational culture and its implication it is very important to understand what does organization culture mean? In a business world, "Organizational culture is a communicatively constructed, historically based system of assumptions, values, and interpretive frameworks that guide and constrain organizational members as they perform their organizational roles and confront the challenges of their environment."

Organisational culture is the personality of the organisation. Culture is comprised of the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organisation members and their behaviors. Members of an organisation soon come to sense the particular culture of an organisation. Culture is one of those terms that are difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when they sense it. For example, the culture of a large for-profit corporation is quite different than that of a hospital which is quite different than a university. You can tell the culture of an organisation by looking at the arrangement of furniture, what they brag about, what members wear, etc. similar to what you can use to get a feeling about someone's personality.

Organisational culture of KBR as described all the way through "KBR WAY" can be regarded as open, caring and relaxed. This culture stresses quality, low cost and customer service. It's a strong and positive culture, where the relation between management and work force is good and communication is informal (mead, hall).

There is no status barrier between manager and co-workers Distaste for bureaucratic procedures are evidently clear in the organisation. Managers are discouraged to apply formal rules. Degree of formality is minimal here, suggesting it as a loosely controlled culture. What make them different are practices such as treating its employee as true partners.

KBR culture believes in well being of their co-workers (feminism). Individual is the ultimate source of idea and quality of their ideas is directly proportional to the freedom of having them1 is the centre-stone of their management policy (Mead). Workers are encouraged to take initiative at each level and managers are believed to make consensus based decisions after consulting their subordinates, showing the signs of people orientated as well as employer orientated work culture.

Managers in KBR closely monitor the employee job satisfaction. Job security and social well-being are believed to motivate the employee rather than monetary incentives and promotions. Preference is given to the applicants who have the good potential rather than a diploma. Although their pragmatic approach to solve the problems and intuitive way of doing business suggest that they are risk taking but the managements insistence on only their ideal way suggests otherwise. It seems they have a fear of failure, which doesn't go well with their low uncertainty avoidance national culture. Though KBR's consensus based approach can be also questioned in the way that foreign country managers have to negotiate so many times with product manager for national consideration but its justified by considering their stress on cost effectiveness.

KBR's employees are more than likely to have strong preference for moral commitment to organisation rather than calculative. Emphasis is on loyalty to organisation (collectivism). KBR culture as well as Swedish culture believes in the egalitarian approach. Equal opportunities are given to every individual to grow. But at the same time they are putting barriers on the development of their foreign managers. Why can't a high potential manager, who doesn't know Swedish language, move up? This question remains to be answered?

Over time the organisation will develop 'norms' i.e. established (normal) expected behavior patterns within the organisation.

A norm is an established behavior pattern that is part of a culture. A number of organisational culture types have been identified by researchers. 

1. A power culture is one based on the dominance of one or a small number of individuals within an organisation. They make the key decisions for the organisation. This sort of power culture may exist in a small business or part of a larger business.

2. A role culture exists in large hierarchical organisations in which individuals have clear roles (jobs) to perform which are closely specified. Individuals tend to work closely to their job description, and tend to follow the rules rather than to operate in a creative way.

3. In contrast task cultures exist when teams are formed to complete particular tasks. A distinct team culture develops, and because the team is empowered to make decisions, task cultures can be creative.

4. A person culture is the most individualistic form of culture and exists when individuals are fully allowed to express themselves and make decisions for them selves. A person culture can only exist in a very loose form of organisation e.g. an overseas sales person working on their own for a company, allowed to make their own decisions.

It Implications moving an organisation on from one form of culture to another, usually through a culture change program.

Culture as Variable Tool

Something an organisation "has"

By-product of organisational activities

Stories, rites, rituals, and heroes

Culture is changeable by management

Organizational "tool" for enhancing organisational effectiveness

In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman)

Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life (Deal & Kennedy)

Strong cultures have four key components

Values - basic beliefs and concepts (concrete guidelines for success)

Heroes - personify cultural values

Rites and rituals - public performances that display and enact values

Cultural network - primary carrier of cultural information (stories, myths, legends, jokes, and gossip)

Criticisms: shortsighted, more than strategy, not just a skill; culture is a complex, communicative phenomenon rooted in the history of the organizations events.

Culture as Root Metaphor

Something an organization "is" as opposed to something it "has"

Organizations as expressive forms, manifestations of human consciousness

Culture is the process of sense-making created and sustained through communication and interactions

Rituals and stories are 'generative processes' the yield and shape meanings

Provides deep understanding of the way members of a particular organization make sense of the world around them

The essence of an organization is culture

Three Primary Elements

Complex (multi-level construction of values, beliefs and attitudes)

Communicative Construction (constructed and reconstructed through interaction)

Subcultures and Countercultures

Differential interaction

Shared experiences

Similar personal characteristics

Three common characteristics

Culture is SHARED

Frameworks of understanding and interpreting organizational phenomena


Consists of values, assumptions, norms, and frameworks


Construction of human interaction that affects and is affected by the behavior of all members of the organization

Other characteristics

Communicative creations

Cultures are created, sustained and influenced by and through human interaction


Cultures emerge and develop over time

Schein's Model of Organizational Culture

Three Interrelated Levels of Culture

Artifacts and Creations

tangible, physical, or hearable things in the environment of the organization

Important to connect artifacts to values


Sense of what "ought" to be, as distinct from what is

Common basis for operating together

Cognitive constructions

Basic Assumptions - represent the essence of culture


Humanity's relationship to nature

The nature of reality and truth - is truth real or discovered?

The nature of human nature

The nature of human activity

The nature of human relationships

Q# 4 Examine the issue of motivation theories, the motivational policies used in the leadership and case and its impact on individual and organization performances.

The Relationship between the organisation and its members is governed by what motivates them to work and the fulfillment they drive from it. The manger needs to understand how to elicit the co-operation of staff and direct their performance to achieve the goals and objectives of the organisation. The manager must know how best to motivates staff so that they work willingly and effectively.

There are many competing theories which explain the nature of motivation. These theories are all at least partially true, and all help to explain the behavior of certain people at certain time. However, the search for a generalized theory of motivation at work appears a vain quest. Nevertheless, any theory or study which aids an understanding of how best to motivate people at work must be useful.

Major theories of motivation are;

Maslow's hierarchy of needs model

Alderfer's modified need hierarchy model

Herzberg's two-factor theory

McClelland's achievement motivation theory

Maslow's basic proposition is that people are wanting beings, they always want more, and what they depends on what they already have, He suggested that human needs are arranged in a series of levels, a hierarchy of importance. The hierarchy ranges through five levels

Physiological needs. These include homeostasis (the body's automatic efforts to retain normal functioning) such as satisfaction of hunger and thirst, the need for oxygen and to maintain temperature regulation. Also sleep, sensory pleasures, activity, maternal behavior, and arguably sexual desire.

Safety needs. These include safety and security, freedom from pain or threat of physical attack, Protection from danger or deprivation, the need for predictability and orderliness.

Love needs. These include affection, sense of belonging, social activities, friendships, and both the giving and receiving of love. It often referred to as social needs.

Esteem needs. These include both self respect and the esteem of others. Self-respect involves the desire for confidence strength, independence and freedom, and achievement. Esteem of others involves reputations or prestige, status, recognition, attention and appreciation.

Self- actualisation needs. This is the development and realization of one's full potential. Maslow sees this as: What human can be, they must be' or "becoming everything that one is capable of becoming". Self-actualisations needs are not necessarily a creative urge, and may take many forms which vary widely from one individual another.

There are some limitations in Maslow's hierarchy theory,

Self-esteem may seem to be more important than love to some people. This is the most common reversal of the hierarchy; it is often based on the belief that the person most loved is strong, confident or inspires respect. For some innately creative people the drive for creativity and self-actualisation may arise despite lack of satisfaction of more basic needs. Higher-level needs may be lost in some people who will continue to be satisfied at lower levels only. A need which has continued to be satisfied over a long period of time may be undervalued. For example, people who have never suffered from chronic hunger may tend to underestimate its effects, and regard food as rather an unimportant thing. Where people are dominated by a higher level need this may assume greater importance than basic needs.

Some people who have been deprived of love in early childhood may experience the permanent loss of love needs. People with high ideals or values may become martyrs and give up everything else for the sake of their beliefs.

Alderfer's Modified need Hierarchy model

A modified need hierarchy model has been presented by Alderfer. This model condenses Maslow's five level of need into only three levels based on the core needs of existence, Relatedness and growth

Existence needs are concerned with sustaining human existence and survival, and cover physiological and safety needs of a material nature.

Relatedness needs are concerned with relationships to the social environment, and cover love or belonging, affiliation, and meaningful interpersonal relationships of a safety or esteem nature.

Growth needs are concerned with the development of potential, and cover self esteem and self-actualisation.

Like Maslow, Alderfer suggests that individual progress through the hierarchy from existence needs, to relatedness needs, to growth needs, as the lower-level needs become satisfied. However, Alderfer suggests these needs are more a continuum than hierarchical levels.

More than one need may be activated at the same time. Individuals may also progress down the hierarchy; there is a frustration-regression process. For example, if an individual is continually frustrated in attempting to satisfy growth needs, relatedness needs may reassume most importance. The lower-level needs become the main focus of the individual's efforts.

Alderfer proposed a number of basic propositions relating to the three need relationship, some of these propositions followed Maslow's theory; some were the reverse of the theory.

Unlike Maslow's theory, the results of Alderfer's work suggest that lower-level needs do not have to be satisfied before a higher-level need emerges as a motivating influence. The result, however, do supports the idea that lower-level needs decrease in strength as they become satisfied.

Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Herzberg's original study consisted of interviews with 203 accountants and engineers, chosen because of their growing importance in the business world, from different industries in the Pittsburgh area of America.

He used the critical incident method. Subjects were asked to relate times when they felt exceptionally good or exceptionally and about their present job or any previous job. They were good or exceptionally bad about their present job or any present job or any previous job, they were asked to give reasons and a description of the sequence of events giving rise to that feeling. Responses to the interviews were generally consistent, and revealed that there were two different sets of factors affecting motivation and work. This led to the two-factor theory of motivation and job satisfaction.

One set of factors are those which, if absent, cause dissatisfaction. These factors are related to job context, they are concerned with job environment and extrinsic to the job itself. These factors are 'Hygiene' factors, analogous to the medical term meaning preventive and environmental or maintenance factors. They serve to prevent dissatisfaction.

The other set of factors are those which, if present serve to motivate the individual to superior effort and performance. These factors are related to job content of the work itself. They are the motivators or growth or growth factors. The strength of these factors will affect feelings of satisfaction or no satisfaction, but not dissatisfaction.

McClelland's work originated from investigations into the relationship between hunger needs and the content to which imagery of food dominated thought process. From subsequent research McClelland identified four main arousal-based, and socially developed, motives:

The Achievement motive;

The power motive;

The Afflictive motives; and

The Avoidance motives.

The first three motives correspond, roughly, to Maslow self-actualisation, esteem and love needs.

The relative intensity these motives vary between individual. It also tends to vary between different occupations. Managers appear to be higher in achievement motivation. McClelland saw the achievement need as the most critical for the country's economic growth and success. The need to achieve is to entrepreneurial spirit and the development of available resources.

Despite the apparent subjective nature of the judgments, McClelland had, over years of empirical research, identified four characteristics of people with a strong achievement need: a preference for moderate task difficult; personal responsibility for performance; the need for feedback; and innovativeness.

They prefer moderate task difficult and goals as an achievement incentive. This provides the best opportunity of proving they can do better. If the task is too risky, it would reduce the chances of success and of gaining need satisfaction. If the course of action is too easy or too safe, there is little challenge in accomplishing the task and little satisfaction from success.

They prefer personal responsibility for performance. The like to attain success through the focus of their own abilities and efforts rather than by teamwork or chance factors outside their control. Personal satisfaction is derived from the accomplishment of the task, and recognition need not come from other people.

They have the need for clear and unambiguous feedback on how well they are performing. Knowledge of results within a reasonable time is necessary for self-evaluation. Feedback enables them to determine success or failure in the accomplishment of the task and recognition need not come from other people.

They are more innovative. As they always seek moderately challenging tasks they tend always to be moving on to something a little more challenging. In seeking short cuts they are more like to cheat. There is a constant search for variety and for information to find new ways of doing things. They are more restless and avoid routine, and also tend to travel more.

Process Theories of Motivation

Process theories attempt to identify the relationships among the dynamic variable which make up motivation. They provide a further contribution to our understanding of the complex nature of work motivation. Many of the process theories cannot be linked to a single writer, but major approaches and leading writers under this heading include:

Expectancy-based models - Vroom, and porter and lawler

Equity theory - Adams

Goal theory - locke

Attribution theory - heider, and Kelley

The underlying basis of expectancy theory is that people are influenced by the expected results of their actions. Motivation is a function is a function of the relationship between:

Effort expended and perceived level of performance; and

The expectation that rewards (desired outcomes) will be related to performance.

The expectation that rewards (desired outcomes) are available.

VROOM'S Expectancy Theory

Vroom was the first person to propose an expectancy theory aimed specifically at work motivation. His model is based is based on three key variables: valence, instrumentality and expectancy. The theory is founded on the idea that people prefer certain outcomes from their behavior over others. They anticipate feelings of satisfaction should the preferred outcome be achieved.

Equity Theory of motivation:

One of the major variables of satisfaction in the porter and lawler expectancy model is perceived equitable reward. This leads to consideration of another process theory of motivation - equity theory. Applied to the work situation, equity theory is usually associated with the work of Adams.

Equity theory focuses on people's feelings of how fairly they have been treated in comparison with the treatment received by others. It is based on exchange theory. People evaluate their social relationships in the same ways buying or selling an item. People expect certain outcomes in exchange for certain contributions, or inputs.