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I chose analyzing organizations since I am eager to get inside organizing processes far enough to reveal the intricate organizational patterns that make organizations understandable. What's more, it's said study organization theory helps we understand our roles and the relative responsibilities within an organization. Organization theory helps us to analyze complicated situations in the organizations, and to discover or invent effective and creative means for dealing with them. It opens our mind to many aspects of life both inside and outside organizations that we may take for granted, and it gives us both mental discipline and a wide-ranging knowledge of many different subjects.
It is about us and how we interact with others during our encounters in a vast array of different, often deceptively ordinary and mundane, social contexts that we take for granted because we cannot see or image any alternative to how things appear to be.(McAuley, Duberley and Johnson 2007:5)
Introduction of the four paradigms
Organizational paradigm stands for constituting overarching frameworks of basic or foundational assumptions defining the nature of organizations and the manner in which they are to be 'properly' analyzed(Reed 1992).
There are four main paradigms according Burrell and Morgan (Sociological Paradigms and Organization Analysis, 1979). The authors claim that one can understand the range of current sociological debate by mapping theories on a two-dimensional map, with the subjective-objective debate on one axis and the regulation-radical change on the other. Each quadrant corresponds to a particular paradigm in sociology.
Sociology of radical change
Sociology of regulation
Radical Humanist (Change-Subjective): Social opportunities and ideologies are controlled by large social institutions, often leaving people marginalized, voiceless and disempowered, leading to widespread alienation and the breakdown of communities. Interventions are aimed at concrete individuals and groups, establishing mutual-aid and consciousness-raising networks that will lead to eventual changes in social and economic structures.
Functionalist (Regulation-Objective): Societies are the coming together of populations with shared civic values who establish social order which on the whole benefits everybody. Individuals and some identifiable groups may fall into misfortune or maladaptive patterns. The goal of intervention is to help them adapt to existing structures, perhaps making minor institutional adjustments where warranted.
Radical Structuralist (Change-Objective): Fundamental underlying contradictions and regularities make our entire way of living unjust and untenable. Distressed individuals and groups can be helped to mollify the impact of structural problems, but lasting change can only be achieved by a complete transformation of the society. Intervention must be integrated across political, regional, community and interpersonal levels.
Interpretive (Regulation-Subjective): The meaning of social situations is largely a matter of interpretation. Anyone can feel trapped by their situation, but viewing things in a new light can open up new options and lead to better situations. Intervention focuses on helping people reframe events and adjust the maxims they use to regulate their own behavior.
Details of chosen paradigm
I'd like to choose functionalist paradigm to analyze the organization which I have knowledge of, because I definitely believe in the structure of organizations and their necessity since all the successful organizations have specific structures even if they are different from each other. Functionalist paradigm is the dominant framework for the study of organizations which believes organizations exist external to the individual. That means organizations are areas for empirical investigation. It is highly orientated towards managerial conceptions of organizations- providing rational explanations & practical solutions to practical problems, which is concerned with regulation, control, status quo, social order consensus, solidarity and need satisfaction. The purpose of analysis is to identify deviancy and put it right. Organizations play an important function in society.
In this assignment, I will use Haier which I have knowledge of as research organizations to explore the organization culture by evaluating of sociological paradigm which I prefer and have evidences to prove it.
As a "functionalist", in terms of culture we believe that it seeks to discover data about organizations in order that elite can better exercise control and organization culture articulated in terms of the organization's shared norm and value content. According to Peters and Waterman (1982) there are several characteristics of excellent companies: bias for action, staying close to the customer, autonomy and entrepreneurship, productivity through people, hands on management, sticking to the knitting, simple form, lean staff and simultaneous loose-tight organization.
I'd like to choose Haier as my target company. Haier is the leading brand of white goods globally and the most valuable brand in China. Its headquarters are in Qingdao, Shandong, People's Republic of China. With its 29 manufacturing plants, 8 comprehensive R&D centers, 19 overseas trading companies across the world and more than 60,000 global employees, Haier has involved into a giant multinational corporation.
Guided by the famous brand strategy determined by CEO Zhang Ruimin, Haier has adopted several strategies during different stages, namely Brand Strategy, Diversification Strategy and Internationalization Strategy. At the end of 2005, Haier came to its 4th strategic stage of global brand building. After 25 years of consistent efforts, its reputation throughout the world has been heightened significantly. Nineteen products of Haier, including refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine, television, water heater, computer, mobile phone and home appliances integration, have been awarded as Chinese Famous Brand products. Haier refrigerator and washing machine are among the first group of Chinese World Famous Brand products awarded by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the P.R.C.
As a full time student for this course, I don't have enough knowledge about a company which may be typical to be analyzed. However, I have some knowledge of the chosen company as I did some research about it previously. I read literatures and met the employees in the company so that I can say that even I am not one of them but I know much about it. The information brought out in this paper has been derived from secondary data. Secondary data provides an important source of supporting information about the company. As a result, company website and other databases which contain articles related to the company will be the main sources.
In this paper, I'd like to take organization culture for analysis, as organization culture has become such a popular concept since the 80's, as well it is said that the chosen company has a successful organization culture which is worth analyzing.
As for the definition of culture, I totally agree with Raymond William's statement that culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in English language. Even though people tried to give definitions through the ages, such as "The pattern of basic assumptions that a given group has invented, discovered or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, and that have worked well enough to be considered valid, and, therefore to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems" (Schein 1984).
Culture is shared property and has a language and symbolism which can be de-coded.
Evaluation of Haier's culture
According to Schein's (1985) model of culture, culture has been divided into three levels: visible, accessible and assumptive. At the surface level, physical objects and behavior patterns have been sent as message to the public. From a "functionalist" point of view, I illustrate Haier's culture in different ways as following.
There're several famous key words in the culture of Haier: the behavior of Haier, the management of Haier and the objectives of Haier.
The organization culture:
Spirit of enterprise: pursuit of excellence
Work style: take an action immediately after a rapid reaction
Group model: accomplish 1+1>2 by the mode of combined fleet
Management concept: high quality products from high quality people
Marketing strategy: famous brand strategy, create markets. Involve in all areas, "try to be the best when decide to do".
Internal management model: OEC, market chain
Quality strategy: all the work must be centralized by customer and product, trying to meet the customer's requirements by producing innovative products with the lowest cost and the best design. So the main working principles are:
Continuous quality improvement under the objectives of marketing
Current technology and advanced standard
Expectations and requirements of customers
The new international star service standard of Haier:
provide customers satisfaction beyond their expectations continuously
no complaints when using the products of Haier
Haier genre: advanced technologyã€perfect in workmanshipã€satisfactory service
Everyone is talented
Values underpin the surface manifestations, and are invisible, but are familiar to Haier's people. Peters and waterman (1982) proposed value as central energy which can hold together the other key elements, like system, skill, strategy, technology because it has function of directing employees' behaviors constructed mainly by middle managers.
Following is some values of Haier:
It's consensus about the criteria of what is important, what is not important, what is correct, what is wrong, what should give up and what should strive after. During the different period, the CEO always creates proper values for the stuff in time.
A famous management model OEC, it is short for Overall Every Control and Clear. O means Overall, E means Everyone, Everyday and Everything, C means Control and Clear. The content can be reduced to finish and clear everyday's work within the day; everyone should improve himself through everyday's work.
Through the success of Haier, we can see that rational human action is correct.
Philosophy of operation
The philosophy of operation for an organization reflects the guiding concept, the mission and social responsibility.
The key knacks for the success of Haier is its operational philosophy:
Try to be the best once deciding to do.
Tomorrow's objective must be higher than today's.
Everyone is talented. There is a competitive appointment system which is open, justice and equal, everyone can apply for leader position when he is qualified.
Do things best before considering profit. A good brand is more valuable than short profit.
Continuously creating new markets by the core competence of innovation capacity and organization culture.
Prestige is more important than product. Sincerity forever is a famous slogan of Haier.
There is culture inside and markets outside.
There is no name-brand in China. That means there is name-brand only internationally.
Though this philosophy came from the CEO, everyone in Haier believes in it and follows the rules and norms from the philosophy. There is no multiple understanding between them. As a result, they keep succeeding for a long time.
Spirit of enterprise
Spirit of enterprise is a cultural feature with strong characteristics. All successful enterprises have their distinct spirits, providing them with a faith which keeps the enterprises progressive.
For Haier, the spirit is "dedication to the job and pursuit of excellence".
Ethic of enterprise
Ethic can be used to adjust and appraise the behavior of the organization and the staff, which connects to moral such as justice and honesty.
In Haier, all the staff is on a dynamic process for positions from "trial" to "qualified" and "excellent". For example, as a manager of a division there are trial manager, qualified manager and excellent manager, thus everyone on the position feeling stress and competitive. If you are a trial employee, after three months' inspection your performance appraisal is approved; you will be the qualified employee. And after another three months, you may be the excellent employee. But if your performance appraisal is not approved, you may drop from excellent to qualified, and to trial, and to get hired.
The further question about Haier's culture is where do these intangible but powerful values come from and how are they formed, communicated. Referring to Schein (1985)'s the fundamental level of culture framework. The possible answer is the organization's "culture carries". Robbins (2005) indicates senior management; sometimes, it is the founder who tailored the organizational belief and orientations. There is a mode in the formation of Haier's culture, which is called "three steps". First, the dominant mangers provide new concepts and values which can be inspired by anyone in the company. Second, provide typical individuals and events which can represent the new concepts and values. Finally, make sure these kinds of individuals and events spring up under the guidance of the new concept and values. For example, the CEO Zhang came up with his quality concept: no defects and no complaints. Then once a day, following CEO Zhang, they broke 79 fridges which had small defects using hammers so that everyone knows that quality is important. Afterwards, the quality concept becomes one aspect of Haier's culture.
In conclusion, organizations are becoming more and more important nowadays, so does analyzing organizations. The organization theories can guide people to get further understood of specific organizations, such as the four paradigms have been put forward by Burrell and Morgan. Personally, I still believe in the Functionalist which is objective and regulative. In this assignment, I analyzed the organization culture in Haier which is valuable from a functionalist perspective. Haier is a typically successful company in China by combining its culture with structure and strategy. However, there are some limitations of my analysis. First, I only analyze the organization from one perspective. Second, I don't have working experience in the company, so the analysis may be not precise. Third, I only analyzed the culture of the organization; there are some other aspects to be analyzed such as structure, power and control from the perspective of functionalist.