A Study On Organisational Culture Definition Culture Essay

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"Organisational culture can be defined as: A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has 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."(Edgar Schein 2007)

The two most important aspects of organisational culture are the manner in which culture influences control and how cultural control can be reached in order to establish social norms, which will impact people's behaviour.

Cultural control exists to shape up the organizational behaviour norms and to encourage employees to monitor and influence one another's behaviour.

Cultural control of HEWLETT-PACKARD & TESCO

Hewlett-Packard is an organisation which uses social instruments for task accomplishment, wherein cultural control operates as an adaptive regulatory mechanism. (Linda Smircich.1983). It weaves individual members of the organisation into well-knit social structures. As per the HP video (shown in lecture) every individual is a unique link and plays a vital role in terms of socialism and performance. Quality, speed and innovation form the crux of HP's organisational culture. It recruits employees from diverse nationalities solely on the basis of their aptitude, skills and competence. The work environment within the organisation is very informal. For instance there is no starting in and out timings in the firm. As regards cultural control, HP uses an innovative and effective way of communication termed MBWA (Managing by wandering around) which smoothens employee interaction and helps them share their views in order to avoid any conflicts. Its core focus is to keep the managers informed about any complications so as to assist them to solve the problems at the initial stages. Teamwork plays a crucial role in Hewlett-Packard in terms of innovation and quality.

Dave Arkless, the personnel manager says that "history plays a great part; everyone in the firm knows the history".(HP video)

The employees of the Hewlett-Packard are given space and opportunities to accomplish their objectives. Hewlett-Packard uses the CLAN culture. Therefore the organisation emphasises on attributes like loyalty, personal commitment, extensive networking, integrated effort, self-management and social influence. (Helleriegel D. and Slocum J.W. 2004). The most remarkable aspect of HP's cultural behaviour is that the employees of the firm recognize an obligation beyond the simple exchange of labour for salary. The individual's long-term commitment to the organization (loyalty) is exchanged for the organization's long-term commitment to the individual (security).

Tesco employs two organisational structures. One for the company as whole, which includes the board of directors and the other is the structure used within each of its stores. (Hofstede, G. & Hofstede, G.J. 2005). Tesco's simple store structure allows employees to effortlessly sight the superior in charge of each department or their department manager. Tesco today is recognized by the motto of "pile it high and sell it cheep"(TESCO 2009), but the company has also vastly improved on their quality and range of products. Tesco has diversified by introducing products like computer accessories, electronic devices, clothes etc. By shelving these products, Tesco has made a move towards changing their image to a "one stop shop" so as to help the consumers to meet all their needs under a single roof.

Tesco has a culture which acts as an instrument for securing human biological and psychological needs. Tesco has a week culture as more importance is given to customers rather than the employees. The HR department of Tesco is well organized at all stores as well as in the regional and head offices. In order to minimise the level of staff turnover the HR department offers each member of staff an opportunity to increase their flexibility within the business by means of training & way of rewards or incentives.

As unlike HP's recruitment policy, most of Tesco's recruits are localities rather than people from different nations. Tesco has a bureaucratic organisational culture as it stresses on formality, stringent regulations, standard operating procedures, and hierarchical coordination. In the long-term the inflexible bureaucratic format tends to fall prey to unpredictability, inefficiency, and instability. Undue importance is placed on standardized goods and customer service, which stifles employee development. Managers view their roles as being good coordinators, organizers, and enforcers of set rules and standards which ensures that the tasks and responsibilities for all employees are clearly defined.


The distinct organisational cultures and the ways in which the managers implement, operate and control, of both TESCO & HEWLETT-PACKARD has been highlighted above. Hewlett-Packard follows a "has" culture that is the culture develops within the organisation. The high degree of flexibility of this culture in the organisation ensures that managers adapt to or change the culture. This propels and aids innovation in management. The integrated and well connected social structures ensure that the organisation as well as individual objectives are attained smoothly. On the other hand, Tesco follows an "is" culture, which is a social science perspective. In Tesco, the culture can't be formed artificially and is based on value system. Thus the culture of the organisation is also orthodox and intransigent. (Huczynski A.A and Buchanan D.A . 2007)

Also, another aspect to be taken note of is that HP's culture is driven by the notion of human resource is an organisation's most crucial asset. They believe that the productivity of the organisation is directly proportional to employee satisfaction. Self motivated employees spell success for the organisation. TESCO on the other hand is customer oriented. It lays importance on customers, and employee satisfaction is strayed aside.

Decisions in Hewlett-Packard are more collective as they have a good communication mechanism which allows them to discuss all the issues as a team. Tesco is an individualistic firm as the decisions are made solely by the managers without consulting the employees.

Thus taking into account the above facts, we can, by simple conviction, conclude that Hewlett-Packard's managers employ better tools and techniques to control the organisational culture as compared to that of Tesco.


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