Explain the primary method of maintaining organizational culture. What can management do to create a more ethical culture?
Define the merits of the Mckinsey 7-S Framework for use as an assessment tool and discuss what you think is missing in the basic 7-S Framework.
How can you personally reduce prejudice in this world? Discuss the problems of prejudice in the workplace and provide one example of how you can change this.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Question 1: Explain the primary methods of maintaining organizational culture. What can management do to create a more ethical culture?
Organizational Culture refers to the shared values, beliefs and assumptions of how members of an organization are expected to behave - the values that characterize an organization. In essence, how an organization functions and gives meaning to its way of doing things is the purpose and function of culture, and this helps to foster internal integration, bring staff members from all levels of the organization much closer together, and enhances their performance. It is sometimes argued that an organization's way of doing things, which includes, traditions and customs, can be due to its past experience and successes gained in that regards. Culture is believed to always mainly go through a three way creation process, which starts with the recruitment stage, where management employs individuals who think and feel the way they do. The recruits are then indoctrinated and socialized according to the way of thinking and feeling of the organization. And the third stage is where management's attitudes and ways of doing things serve as an example that is meant to encourage other employees to identify with them and be positively influenced by their beliefs, values and ideologies. This is why the founders of an organization traditionally have a major impact on that organization's early culture. Also, as much as culture-creation is important, much of the work usually lie with management's strategies in place to maintain the existing culture.
2.0 Methods of maintaining organizational culture
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As already mentioned, culture creation is one thing and its maintenance is another. Once the culture has been established and recognized in an organization, there are certain practices within the organization that should act to support and maintain it. These practices are deemed crucial to the maintenance of culture and they include the selection practices of management, actions of the top management team, and socialization methods. The selection process includes recruiting staff with the requisite skills and qualifications to successfully perform assigned responsibilities within the organization. This can be a process of information transmission to applicants about the type of organization they are aspiring to work with and it will give them the opportunity to make a timely quit off the selection pool if they sense a conflict between their values and those of the organization.
Also, actions of the executive management team greatly impact on the organization's culture. Most times an organization's executive management team patterns the organization's visible culture through what they say and do. This could include issues such as the extent of freedom enjoyed by the employees from managers, whether risk taking is encouraged; mode of acceptable dressing; operating appraisal systems, promotions and other rewards.
But no matter how good a job the organization does in recruiting and selecting new employees, these employees will always find it difficult to be fully indoctrinated in the organization's culture if there is no appropriate socialization and this has to do with the third aspect. In essence, the organization would want new employees to adapt to its culture. Socialization involving adaptation is when the organization tries to mold an outsider into an employee. This action further contributes towards the maintenance of an organizational culture.
3.0 How Management can create a more Ethical Culture
The culture-creation stage is very important to any organization. How management create a more ethical culture is crucial to the sustainability of the organizational culture. Like I mentioned earlier, the process of culture-creation is believed to happen in three ways. But in all of these, management plays a leading role. Most times employees' behaviors are primarily influenced by the behaviors of an organization's management team. From the onset, management can reduce ethical ambiguities through appropriate communications to the employees, the organization's code of ethics and ethical expectations. This code of ethics is expected to include the organizational values and the ethical rules that employees should observe. Additionally, management can provide training on ethical issues which reinforces the standard of conducts of the organization to make certain clarifications on the does and don'ts and to address possible ethical dilemmas. It is important that management consider rewards to employees for good ethical acts and likewise punish for nonconformance. These actions of management most times prove successful in helping to create a more ethical culture in organization.
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Question 2: Define the merits of the Mckinsey 7-S Framework for use as an assessment tool and discuss what you think is missing in the basic 7-S Framework.
The Mckinsey 7-S framework is an assessment tool developed to diagnose the causes of organizational problems and to formulate programs for improvement. What this model is saying is that for an organization to perform well, there are seven elements that needs to be aligned and mutually reinforced. The model helps to identify areas requiring realignment for purpose of improved performance. This 7-S framework model was first mentioned in a publication titled, "Art of Japanese Management" by Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos in 1981 whiles they were investigating how Japanese industries had been successful. Around this same time, two leading management consultants, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman of the Mckinsey & Company Consulting Firm were also exploring what made a company excellent. Out of the works of these four scholars, the 7-S model was eventually born. After it reappeared in Peters and Waterman's famous publication, "In Search of Excellence", it was taken up as a basic tool by the Global Management Consultancy Company Mckinsey. Ever since then, it became the famous Mckinsey 7-S Model. This model involves the seven interdependent factors outlined below.
Shared Values (also known as super-ordinate goals)
The shared values element refers to the central beliefs and attitudes of the organization - what the organization stands for, its core values and its corporate/team culture. Shared values or super-ordinate goal are the company's core values manifest in its corporate culture and the organization work ethics. These goals are the fundamental ideas around which a business is built. They can also be seen as the blood notions for future directions of the organization. Placing super-ordinate goals at the center of the model indicates that these values are crucial to all the other critical elements. The original objective of creating an organization is reflected on its general strategy, structure, skills, style and staff. This tells what the organization stands for and it usually reflect the company's initial vision that results from the values upheld by the creators that sometimes affect affects the other elements also.
Structure (how the organization is structured)
This element explains how the company/team is divided, how the team members organize and align themselves, the communication lines, and the organizational hierarchy. In such, the structure element refers to the way in which the organization's units relate to each other. It has to do primarily with arrangements about report relationships, line of communication, rules and procedures which exist to guide the various activities performed by various hierarchical position in the organizational structure. It more or less refers to the formal relationship among various positions and activities performed in the organization.
How an organization intends to achieve its objective is very important. Also, how its strategies are adjusted for environmental issues and to deal with competitive pressure is equally important. Strategy here refers to how the firm's scarce resources are distributed over time to reach desired goals. Strategies are long-term objectives of the organization designed to build and maintain competitive advantage for the organization.
Style (style of leadership adopted in an organization)
The style of leadership in any organization is also crucial to the success of that organization. This specifically refers to the organization's cultural style and the behaviors to achieving the organizational goals. It is the pattern of the management team and the tool they use to bring about organizational changes.
Staff (employees and their general capabilities)
Also important is the staffing issue. This refers to the number and type of personnel used by the organization. Staffing is the process of acquiring human resources for the organization and assuring that they have the potential to contribute to the achievement of the organizational goals. It involves the selection, placement, training and development of appropriate and qualified employees.
It is always important to consider the systems that run an organization as vital in the 7-S model. This shows what characterize how the work is done in the organization. That is, the processes and procedures. Every organization has a system of operation. It refers to the rules, regulations, procedures that compliment the organization structure. Depending on the size and type of organization, there could be financial system, recruitment, promotion and performance appraisal system, capital budgeting system, training and development system, information system, etc.
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Skills specifically points out to personnel distinctive competence or ability in an organization. The strongest skills represented within the company can make a difference in its success. It is important to know whether the organization's team members have the competence to carry out assigned responsibilities as expected and how are the skills monitored and assessed to determine whether there are gaps.
2.0 The Seven Elements Categorized
As already stated above, the Mckinsey 7-S Model involves seven interdependent factors, which are divided into two parts. It is either "Hard Elements" or "Soft Elements" as shown on table below:
2.0 What is missing in the 7-S Model
A careful study of the Mckinsey 7-S Model reveals that it only provides an internal analysis of an organization. That means, the external environment is not mentioned in the 7-S model.
Question 3: How can you personally reduce prejudice in this world? Discuss the problems of prejudice in the work place and provide one example of how you can change this.
Prejudice, refers to a situation where one makes a pre-judge or form an opinion about something before all the basic facts are available. It is a discriminatory attitude that keeps people from dealing with a person or a situation objectively. That is, it blocks your objectivity and causes you to see things not as they are. Today, prejudice in any form, racial or social, is destructive and costly to society and hence every effort must be made to reduce it if not eliminate it.
2.0 How we can personally reduce Prejudice in this world
There are many ways we can direct efforts to reducing prejudice in the world. Each of us personally have a responsibility to confront prejudice wherever we sense it and do in our own little way to reduce the level of discrimination in our societies. From the above definition, we can start the job by asking certain questions about ourselves, and to challenge our views by creating a checklist. Whenever we are tempted with this vice, we must pause to ask ourselves the following questions:
Is what is before me true?
Are all the facts available?
Am I over generalizing?
Am I considering the whole picture or only paying attention to the negative aspects?
Am I unfairly labeling this group or person?
At the end of it all, one will realize that by just making the first step of looking at and questioning the 'common sense' views we hold about people, groups and cultures would be a major step forward in opening our eyes to our own levels of prejudice and challenging the pre-conceptions we hold.
There are many other methods of approaching the reduction of prejudicial behavior. One of these has to do with tolerance, which more or less is the appreciation of diversity and the ability to live and let others live. Tolerance refers to our ability to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, religion, nationality and so on differ from one's own. The approach here is that as individuals, we must continually focus on being tolerant of others in their daily lives. Individuals with religious beliefs can reduce prejudice if they stop following intolerant teachings of religious texts. One example of how we can reduce prejudice in this regard is by reducing our own prejudices thereby reducing prejudice in our communities.
Also, our exposure to other cultures, or rather our lack of it, greatly influences our understanding of what is normal behavior and what is not. The fact is that people who strongly identify with their group and have limited exposure to different cultures, people and culture are more likely to consider the values of other groups as alien and therefore be prejudice against them. As an example of how we can help reduce prejudice in this world, we must endeavor to tolerate other cultures that are alien to ours.
Others believe that we must try to live as compassionate as possible without sacrificing our principles.
3.0 The problems of prejudice in the work places
There are many problems associated with prejudice in our work places. These problems range from racial discrimination to other social issues. In the case of social prejudice, it kills motivation and raises overhead cost of a business. This could be in different forms such as, 'I am better than them, I come from a better neighborhood, I have a better education and authority and therefore I must make all the decisions, etc'. Racial or social prejudice carries a heavy price, lowers efficiency and increases overhead cost.
Racial prejudice is more prominent in western countries. In mot cases prejudice create barriers between white-collar and blue-collar employees. One of the harmful things about prejudice in work places is that it kills communications, innovations and many other good attributes that drives a business to success. For instance, departments will limit communication with other departments; craftsmen will consider production workers of low intelligence to name two. At each level, people believe lower levels have low capabilities and this becomes the mindset of the organization. Self-fulfilling prophecy proves everyone right.
3.1 Example of how we can change the problem of prejudice in our work places
Lets consider and incident that occurs in one of the outlets of the organization I am working for.
One of our frontline staff at the customer service department had refused to give one of our customers an appropriate attention whilst the man was requesting for his pension payment. Upon inquiry the staff replied to me that he knows the man and that he is a drunker who does not deserve to be treated seriously. Questioning the man, we realized that he knows what he wants and his rights as a customer. After I witnessed a repetition of such behaviors from our frontline staff, I requested Management to design a comprehensive customer service training program for our frontline staff which includes a teaching on how we can reduce prejudice in discharging our official duties.
In another instance, our benefits officer at the pension payments centre failed to do a careful calculation of a benefit claim made by an old man that physically appeared to be an illiterate before him. Interesting, he thought the man is an illiterate and therefore ignore a calculation error he made that reduces the man's financial benefit. After going through the benefits payments process, the man called his attention to the calculation error he made and he insisted that he cannot receive anything less than what is due him. My reaction to the staff as his supervisor was to query him with a stern warning that discrimination of treatment to individuals by their physical appearance is not tolerated by management.
Another attempt I am making to change the prejudicial behaviors in our workplaces is through a deliberate effort to encourage colleagues from other religions and tribes. In the case of tribal prejudice, it is so evident in our company but I am making enough effort to reduce it through the making of close friend from other tribes.