Organisational Culture How Does It Affects Information Systems Commerce Essay

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Organisational culture is the atmosphere where decisions are made. It is about the people in the organisation that share knowledge and values. The significant importance is given to the tradition of the culture followed by the organisation.

Behaviour of individuals and groups in the organisations can be understood by Organisational culture. It is particularly applicable to information professionals as culture in the organisation will have a significant impact on the way that people use information, technology and information systems.

Organisational Culture models the behaviour and ethics followed by the people. It is concerned about the beliefs that is shared by the people and the policies and the procedures followed by the people to tackle any kind of situation which tells the behaviour of the organisation .It is concerned about the typical approach within the organisation

Organisational culture is influenced by the people currently working in an organisation and the beginners of the job follow it. The culture of the organisation tells the type of the environment it follows. Culture contemplates the behaviour and nature of the organisation.

Common characteristics of organizational culture:

The differences between the organizations culture can be pointed out by the characteristics presented by the people in an organization. Below are the detailed characteristics.

Behavior rules - Every organization has its own language i.e. jargon, principles, conventions, nomenclature and rites which is different for each organization. Information must be shared with each other to maintain the integrity of the organization.

Standards -Each organization sets standards for each and every person in the organization like the role which includes what to do. There might be a risk if individual takes a decision without sharing with the people in an organization.

Values - Each organization follow measures which is the base of the organizational culture. It guides the behavior of the people. Each company has its own values.

Philosophy - A system of beliefs about people are addressed in an organization accepted as authoritative.

Rules - The guidelines followed by the organization in recruiting new people and making them adapted to the environment of the culture.

Organizational climate - It is about the people in the organization interact with each other and also the way they deal with the clients.

Information systems helps us to understand to take the right decision at the right time as it involves the technology and the process that people follow in the organisation to maintain the organisation in the right track. As people play an important role in the Information systems, organisational culture is influenced in the growth and use of information systems. Here are some comparisons of organisational culture.

Organisational culture is same as organisational climate: Organisational culture is concerned about the practices of opinions, assumptions, notions, measures and conducts of the people working in the organisation. Nonetheless, organisational climate speculates about the characteristics and people in an organisation follow the organisation culture like morale, people treating each other like, satisfaction with job and commitment to the organisation. It is about the people's attitude in the organisation. Organisational culture is a macro processes where as organisational climate is a micro process.

Culture is same as 'groupthink': culture is concerned about the opinions, assumptions and notions, it may be confused with groupthink. Groupthink is concerned about the decision making by the group without hiding any conflicts how they feel and think and behave with each other. The group think involves close interaction with each other in small groups. Whereas culture is concerned about beliefs, notions and company procedures.

Culture is same as organisation: Culture is about the knowledge and values shared by a society and how people interact with each other in an organisation and also how the people think, believe and behave among them. Organisations on the other hand follow the rules, ordinances and norms of conduct since it is established.

Culture is a social structure: Social structures in various enterprises showcase real and specific ways in which people associate with each other openly. However, culture is about the system through which they guide the people dealing with physical and social needs in an organisation.

Basic concepts:

Different views of the definition of organisational culture. "Organizational culture is a series of understandings and meanings shared by peoples that are relevant to special group which are passed on to new members, and are tacit among members." Louis (1980). Hofstede (1980) states that culture is, "The collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another. The interactive aggregate of common characteristics that influences a human group's response to its environment." Sinha (2000) says "Culture consists of totality of assumptions, beliefs, values, social systems and institutions, physical artefacts and behaviour of people, reflecting their desire to maintain continuity as well as to adapt to external demands."

The above are the definitions of the organisational culture stated by versatile scholars and suggest that ethics are shared by all the people in the organisation. It makes the united organisation at the workplace without any indifference between them. It bonds the culture of the organisation.


The organisational culture in an organisation can be thought over in many forms. These could be:

The physical infrastructure.

Routine behaviour, language, ceremonies.

Gender equality, equity in payment.  

Dominant values such as quality, efficiency and so on.

Philosophy that guides the organisation's policies towards it employees and customers like 'customer is king', and the manner in which employees deal with customers.


Individually none of these imply organisational culture, however, together, they reflect organisational culture. Although organisational culture has common properties, it is found that large organisations have a dominant culture and a number of sub-cultures. The core values shared by the majority of the organisational members constitute the dominant culture. Therefore, whenever one refers to the culture of an organisation one actually talks about the dominant culture. Subcultures within an organisation are a set of shared understandings among members of one group/department/geographic operations. For example, the finance department of an organisation may have a sub - culture which is unique to this department. This means that this department will not only have the core values of the organisation's dominant culture but also some unique values. If an organisation does not have a dominant culture and is comprised only of various sub - cultures, its effectiveness would be difficult to judge and there will be no consistency of behaviour among departments. Hence, the aspect of common or shared understanding is an essential component of organisational culture. Also, organisational culture exists at various levels.


Organisational culture can be viewed at three levels based on manifestations of the culture in tangible and intangible forms.

       1. At Level one the organisational culture can be observed in the form of physical objects, technology and other visible forms of behaviour. Though the culture would be visible in various forms, it would be only at the superficial level. For example, people may interact with one another but what the underlying feelings are or whether there is understanding among them would require probing.

       2. At Level Two there is greater awareness and internalisation of cultural values. People in the organisation try solutions of a problem in ways which have been tried and tested earlier. If the group is successful there will be shared perception of that 'success', leading to cognitive changes turning perception into values and beliefs.

3. Level three represents a process of conversion. When the group repeatedly observes that the method that was tried earlier works most of the time, it becomes the 'preferred solution' and gets converted into underlying assumptions or dominant ethic.

These three levels range on a scale of superficial to deeply embed.


All the organizations' culture isn't stable because the internal and external factors influence culture change. Schein (1985) who is one of the most influential, believed that before any attempt is made to change an organization's culture, it is first necessary to understand the nature of its existing culture and how this is sustained. He argued that it can be achieved by:

For new members, analyzing the process of employment and induction;

Analyzing responses to critical events which are often translated into unwritten history of organization. But rules of behaviour are still very strong.

Beliefs, values and assumptions of guardians and promoters of organization's culture are analyzed;

Paying special attention to puzzling characteristics which have been observed.

Types of Organisational Culture

Different views of organisational culture based on specialization of one organisation from other are presented below:

            1. Strong vs. weak culture: Organisational culture can be labelled as strong or weak based on contribution of the core values among organisational members and the degree of commitment the members have to these core values. The higher the contribution and commitment, the stronger the culture increases the possibility of behaviour consistency amongst its members, while a weak culture opens avenues for each one of the members showing concerns unique to them.

            2. Soft vs. hard culture: Soft work culture can emerge in an organisation where the organisation pursues multiple and conflicting goals. In a soft culture the employees choose to pursue a few objectives which serve personal or sectional interests. A typical example of soft culture can be found in a number of public sector organisations in India where the management feels constrained to take action against employees to maintain high productivity. The culture is welfare oriented; people are held accountable for their mistakes but are not rewarded for good performance. Consequently, the employees consider work to be less important than personal and social obligations.

            3. Formal vs. informal culture: The work culture of an organisation, to a large extent, is influenced by the formal components of organisational culture. Roles, responsibilities, accountability, rules and regulations are components of formal culture. They set the expectations that the organisation has from every member and

Informal culture on the other hand has physical and nonphysical, specific and nonspecific expressions of shared measures, beliefs, and assumptions. This part of organisational culture comprising of artefacts, symbols, ceremonies, rites.

Below is an example of the case study of the organisational culture of SQL Star International limited:


Organisational Culture at SQL Star


SQL Star has been in the business of delivering knowledge driven business solutions through technology since its inception in 1987. Headquartered in India with wholly owned subsidiaries in the US, Australia and Singapore, SQL Star is uniting the best practices and competencies brought in by leading professionals of some of the most renowned names of the corporate world. Over the past two decades, SQL Star has provided specialized Knowledge Services to a wide range of industry verticals. This puts them in a unique position where they not only deliver cutting edge solutions but also help build in-house competencies to the Clients, be it in the Knowledge Services domain or a part of our Enterprise services. Companies mission statement "Knowledge drives us" as they believe in relationships, in being strategic partners rather than solution providers, giving special focus to processes and quality.

SQL Star mix knowledge with technology where they deliver the best solutions to their clients. SQL Star provides three services. They are knowledge Services which provide training to Students (of IT and Non-IT backgrounds), and corporate so they can successfully implement Business Ready software for Information technology. Enterprise Services provide services through various Enterprise Services Business Units that are equipped with necessary resources to handle all requests ranging from Requests for Quotations to Project Execution to delivering on Annual Maintenance Contracts. They provide the following services to Enterprises in India and overseas along with IT consultation and Software outsourcing .And the E-governance which provides customized solutions that address the entire spectrum of the information technology needs of state governments, central government and local government bodies facilitating effective Government-to-Government (G2G), Government to Employee (G2E), and Government to Citizen (G2C) interaction. Its mission keeps pace with the developments in the field of IT that is evolved through organisation wide discussions which helps develop commitment among employees. The organisation operates with the help of task teams designed for specific customer requirements for a specific period to carry out the work. Team culture and openness are emphasised a great deal. They focus on values such as quality, creativity, and customer satisfaction. The quality culture of SQL Star has been the result of the continuous efforts by the management - carried on through induction, socialisation, reinforcement, innovation, and concern for internal and external customers. Also, quality efforts are backed by results, which are rewarded.

Employees are treated as intellectual capital and are looked like a family. The happy and committed employees ensure customer satisfaction and this has got them wide acceptance across the globe. It has got well designed mechanisms for monitoring the quality for its products, services and or software processes. SQL Star is partnered with top notch companies in the IT field. It also has ISO 9000 certification. The work culture at the company has gone through all the stages of culture development like conduct, measures, attitudes, and shared assumptions, and probably this is the reason it has been able to remain the one of the best organisations in India.