The Collective Programming Of The Mind Commerce Essay


Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another. It may therefore be identified as ways of behaving, and ways of understanding, that are shared by a group of people. Organisational culture may be defined as "The collection of traditions, values, policies, beliefs and attitudes that constitute a pervasive context for everything we do and think in an organisation" (Mullins 1983, 3). Writing in 1972, Harrison suggested that organisations could be classified into four types. The four types are differentiated by their structures, process and management methods. Charles Handy later popularised Harrison's work in his book "Gods of Management", where he gives the name of Greek God to each distinctive culture. For the purpose of our study, we are going to have a look on role culture (Apollo) and task culture (Athena).

(a) Role Culture

The role culture is also known as the bureaucracy where there is a presumption of logic and rationality. This means organisations which adopt this management method have a formal structure, and operate by well-established rules and procedures. These organisations are classical, rational, slow-changing, formalised, impersonal and most important the authority there is based on position and function. Therefore, in these organisations, individuals are required to perform their job to the full, but not to overstep the boundaries of their authority. Individuals who work for such organisations tend to learn an expertise without experiencing risk; meaning that many do their job adequately, but are not over-ambitious. This bureaucratic style can be very efficient in a stable environment; when the organisation is large and when the work is predictable. This type of culture can be linked to formal organisation structure; meaning that everything that is done in the ordinary course of business has a specific way of being done and employees must stick to it and never pass through a higher authority.

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(b) Task Culture

The task culture has been given the name Athena by Charles Handy, as is this type of organisation culture management is seen as completing a succession of projects or solving problems; management is directed at outputs. It is a team-based culture, horizontally structured, flexible and get-the-job-done oriented. The task culture is therefore reflected in project teams and task forces. In such organisations, there is no dominant or clear leader as the principal concern is to get the job done. The individuals who are important are the experts with the ability to accomplish a particular aspect of the task as performance is judged by the results. In addition, I would say that task cultures are expensive as firstly experts demand a market price and secondly because according to me task cultures depend on variety, and to blow creativity requires a tolerance of perhaps costly mistakes. However, in opposition to the role culture, organisations which adopt task culture are mostly matrix-linked structures. In this type of organisational structure authority is shared and multi-disciplinary project team are created where members are drawn from different functions because emphasis is on the role and outcome and not on the position of an individual.

Practical advantages and disadvantages

As a comparison, both role and task cultures have their benefits. The role culture has mostly the benefit of specialisation, where employees concentrate on their specific role as allocated to them by their job description and this is likely to an intensification of the productivity for the company. The task culture for its part has the benefit of stimulus on the employees because they are allowed to make decisions within their team and they will also feel valued since they may have been designated within that team and given the duty to bring the task to a successful end. Disadvantages for both cultures could be that if an organisation wrongly chose its culture it may not accomplish its goals; for example large organisations with clearly defined departments may chose role culture whereas matric-structure linked organisations will chose task culture.

Task B

Factors influencing individual behaviour at work

According to authors on organisational behaviour, the major factors that influence individuals' behaviour at work are divides in five forms that are demographic factors, abilities and skill, perception, attitudes and personality which are for most of them governed by other factors themselves. First of all, the demographic influences are socio economic background, education, nationality, race, age, sex, etc. Organisations favour persons that belong to good socio-economic background, well cultivated, young as they are supposed to be performing better than the others. Secondly, what is meant by "abilities and skills" is firstly the physical ability of an individual to do something (ability) and secondly the aptitude to act in a way that allows a person to perform well (skill). The individual conduct and performance is highly predisposed by aptitude and skills; for example an individual can achieve well in the organisation if his abilities and skills are harmonised with the job requirement. Moreover, the perception factor is the intellectual progression expected for interpreting the environmental motivations in a meaningful way. There are many factors that influence the perception of an individual; for example, employees are likely to perform better if they are going to perceive their working environment in a positive way. Then comes the fourth factor which is known as attitude and which can be defined as, according to psychologists, "a tendency to respond favourably or unfavourably to certain objects, persons or situations". There are factors such as family, society, culture, and organisational factors influence the formation of attitude within employees. For example, by maintaining high staff welfare (like Google), employees keep a positive attitude regarding their work. Finally, the last and most important factor able to influence individuals' behaviour at work is the personality of each employee. There are several other factors themselves that impact on the personality like heredity, family, society, culture and situation. It is suggested that individuals differ in their manner while responding to the organizational environment and their personality supports them accurately in directing their energy and motivation for the completion of the organisational goal.

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Task C

Leadership style is the method and attitude in order to provide direction, implement plans, and motivate people in an organization. There are three major styles of leadership: "Authoritarian or autocratic, participative or democratic and delegative or free Reign" (U.S. Army Handbook 1973, 180). Although good leaders usually practice all three styles, with one of them normally dominant, bad leaders tend to stick with one style.

Impact of Melanie's leadership style on her staff

At Innovative Prods Ltd., Melanie tends to mix two leadership styles that are the delagative one and the authoritarian one even though the delagative leadership style is dominating. In the first leadership style, the "free reign", the leader normally allows the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader should still be responsible for the decisions that are made. This is used when employees are able to analyse the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. In this case, as the knowledge required to achieve the tasks is fairly limited and staff soon reach a high level of proficiency as soon as they are trained, the essence of this leadership style should suits well Melanie's department. Moreover, as the other leadership style that is being used by Melanie is the authoritarian, where she is supposed to tell her employees what she wants done and how she wants it achieve and take all responsibilities on her behalf, she is not using it properly. While delegating all her tasks to eight different officers, Melanie does not keep a continuous communication with them to assure that work is done properly. However she still wants to maintain a powerful discipline over her staff which won't be easily accomplishable as she remains distant with them and does not even communicate and check on their work. As a conclusion, Melanie's attitude regarding her staff is likely to demotivate all employees because they are supposed to be accountable to a leader who does not even check on what they are doing and if they are doing it well.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs model

In his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation", Abraham Maslow defined a hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy recommends that people are motivated to accomplish basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. According to Maslow, there are five levels of needs; people move higher need once the lower needs are met.

Firstly, physiological needs are the most basic human needs. They include food, water, and comfort. Innovative Prods Ltd. already helps to satisfy its employees' physiological needs by the paycheck at the end of each month.

Secondly, safety needs are the desires for security and stability, to feel safe from harm. Innovative Prods Ltd. should help to satisfy employees' safety needs by for example some benefits.

Thirdly, social needs are the desires for affiliation; they therefore include friendship and belonging. For this level of needs, Innovative Prods Ltd. and more specifically Melanie could help to satisfy its employees through sports teams, parties, and celebrations. Moreover, as it is the most important lack in this department, Melanie should help fulfill social needs of her employees by showing direct care and concern for them.

Fourthly, esteem needs are the desires for self-respect and respect or recognition from others. Melanie could help to satisfy her employees' esteem needs by matching the skills and abilities of each employee to the job and by showing them that their work is appreciated.

Finally, self-actualization needs are the desires for self-fulfillment and the realization of the individual's full potential. Melanie may help fulfill self-actualization needs of employees of her department by assigning tasks that challenge their minds while drawing on their aptitude and training.