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Organization or corporate culture refers to the way things are seen and done within organizations. It aims at cultivating a long-term identity and is created through traditions and educational programs. After some period of practicing the resulting culture, players in an organisation find themselves with shared basic assumptions about internal and external beliefs that bind them together; this leads to adoption of similar practices that end up aligning their practices, thus define them as a group (Shafritz, J & Ott 1993). The relevant organisation end having managers and employees who share similar goals and are aware of expectations bestowed upon them by other stakeholders. Such alignment of thoughts and practice results is expected to create excellent working teams that produce excellent results, because of the set of beliefs that get integrated in employees' minds. But what is the impact of this culture on employees? This paper will attempt to answer that query in four subsequent sections. It will first explain organisation culture in detail, and then explore the elements and strengths of organisational cultures before defining four types of culture and close by enquiring on the impact of organisational culture on employees.
Corporate culture aims ate creating beliefs and practices that will end up enhancing the company's comparative advantage. It therefore means that what is being practiced must have an impact on company or organisation's strength in the market place. It is therefore up to the senior management to ensure that culture of their organisation is well communicated to all employees and stakeholders. Indeed Ram (2001) found that strong corporate cultures enhance dialog and advance productive business models, which lead to enduring competitive advantages. This is contrary to what a popular belief, which holds that it is individual company products are the ones that illustrate the engraved culture. Ram (2001) further says that competitors can easily company a company's product and thus acquire the culture in them but no one can copy internal business models and the flow of communication in another company. It is through this dialogue that organisational culture is passed down to employees and stakeholders. Current employees are subjected to vigorous educational programs and are further requested to practice what they learn. Their practice is meant to keep them reminded of what the company stands for and the goals to be accomplished. New employees are subjected to the training and reminded to keep reciting and practicing the organisation's culture, which, combined with seasoned employees, become a day to day practice within the organisation. The management should be at the forefront of practicing this culture so they can set example to junior employees. It is not unique to observe management repeating the culture at the beginning of employee meetings.
Organisational culture could also be regarded as a process used to measure how well companies can establish themselves in the society by using self developed mechanism. This mechanism involves looking at what the society needs or is demanding and responding by supplying exactly that. It is therefore a system that involves: 1) inputs from the society in terms of demand and 2) output from organisations in terms of developing ways and means of developing products that will satisfy society's wants (McManara 2008). It could therefore be concluded that each company's culture is determined by the market that it serves as well as competition's culture, and that best cultures are the ones that fulfil their customers' needs in most efficient manner. When designing such winning cultures, organisation and consultancies helping them should remember to consider all stakeholders in their industry. Considering only the customers, or competition or employees will lead to half baked organisation cultures that will lead relevant companies astray. Instead, the culture makers should look at what competition cultures are, so they can try to make even more productive cultures; what customers demand so they can design cultures that will lead to high quality products; and the type of employees in the organisation; all this help in designing stakeholder driven cultures (Schroeder & Mauriel 2000) that will serve the designing company well in the long run..
Organisation cultures could however change as companies go through various stages of growth. This transition from one culture to the other does not come easy for organisations, especially considering that they had practiced one culture for many years and sometimes decades. The preparations for changing culture take time, because doing it suddenly could lead to wrong choices that might impact the organisation negatively. Luckily, there exists a large pool of consultants helping companies change from one culture to another or develop new ones. Companies should therefore feel obliged to make use of consultancy services. This is especially advised when companies are introducing improving their cultures die to change in certain production processes or organisational structures (McManara, 2008), because new cultures can help employees remember the significant of the new ways of performing activities in the organisation.
Elements and Strengths of Organisational Culture
Gareth Morgan (1993) acclaimed that should demonstrate seven key elements which include: 1) Stated and unstated values, 2) overt and implicit expectations for all members behaviours, 3) organisation's customs and rituals, 4) stories and myths about history of the organisation or company, 5) shop talk, which illustrates typical language used within and outside the organisation, 6) climate, which exemplifies feelings evoked by the way organisations' members interact with each other, with competitors in the industry, and with their organisation's environment, which includes the facilities they occupy, 7) and metaphors and symbols, which could be conscious or unconscious but are evidently embodied in the organisation's cultural elements.
Morgan (1993) further explained that successful organisational cultures are empowered by several strengths, which are well incorporated during the process of designing those cultures. These strengths must address the needs of all stakeholders in the industry, which includes employees, shareholders, competitors, customers and authorities among others—this explains another reason why stakeholders' views should be sought in the designing process as illustrated earlier in this paper. Most consulting companies know this fact and can be very helpful to organisations. These strengths can be used in various organisations and companies no matter their size or occupation, what matters is that they are incorporated in cultures, which must subsequently be applied. Here are the strengths in detail:
Humane: Organisations culture must always concentrate on the human side of organisation's aspects, that is, they should not be abstracts that will be hard to imagine and thus really difficult for employees to envision and practice. They should also be easier for the management to teach to new members of staff, as well as being the role model to the rest of the organisations staff. Other stakeholders in the company, especially shareholders, suppliers and customers should also understand and be able to be part of the culture. A humane and easily understandable culture could even enlarge the company's client base by inspiring more customers with quality products.
Communication: After designing cultures that are easily to understand, the organisation leadership should ensure the existence of clear communication systems between them and employees and other stakeholders, that is, it should be easy for the management to share the culture with stakeholders. The management should not be laboured into headaches of wondering how to teach other stakeholders about the cultures that will get their organisation a new identity. Other than the management understanding and having an easier ways of them to educate others, the new culture should also be easy for stakeholders to share and practice it with each other. This involves the development of mechanism that will help them practice the culture at all times within and without the organisation. This step is especially necessary at the beginning stages of exercising their organisation's new identity.
Self Inquiry: The new culture should succeed in having employees, including the senior management to question their commitment to the culture, values, goals and the mission of their organisation. Asking themselves such questions will further encourage these individuals to make more contribution and impact to the organisation. Compounding such actions all over an organisation will have a greater impact. In addition, the communication channels within the organisation will most likely have the employees discussing their self question with peers, who will respond by saying same things. This would spark conversations that will result to teamed-up efforts to ensure that the peers encourage each other to the commitment of practicing organisational culture.
Organisation-Environment Relationship: Successful organisational cultures should are the ones that bind their organisation and its environment together. This helps stakeholders practice their cultures in a way that will have a positive impact to the environment. This interrelationship keeps reminding employees of the organisation they work for, what it does, what are the expectations, who its clients are, who the competitors are, and what regulators and authorities except of the organisation, its employees, products and facilities. Such understanding puts an organization at a higher level than its competitors. For a profit oriented organisation, this strength enables it to out out-compete other firms through understanding of consumer needs and providing them though the most efficient means. On the other hand a non-profit organisation is able to meet its stakeholders' needs efficiently and thus live to the expectations of all stakeholders. This is another reason why stakeholders and the environment should be the indicator of the kind of culture that will work best in a certain organisation.
Types of Organisational Culture
Though the aforementioned strengths apply equally to all organisations no matter their size or industry, the several types of organisational powers are successful when applied in certain industries and in specific sizes of organisations (The Times 2008). This is because the success of each culture is based on the people working in a team, their experience, authority in the organisation, and whether the organisation is a business or a non-profit organisation. All forms of organisation culture should be or management and consultants' minds when designing what end up being the being seen as the said organisations identity. Failure to do so will bring forth different results than the desired ones. The four types of organisation culture are explained below in detail:
- Power Culture: This form of organisational culture is well utilized in small operations, where key decisions are made by few individuals within the organisation. It could also be seen in some big organisations and especially in government agencies. Power culture does not come with design; it just crops up in the course of running business or organisations. For instance, small business operators will hardly sit down with consultants to develop a culture to follow. This is even hard when the business employs just the owner and few member of the family. The same happens in government agencies where the leader makes vital decisions while other civil servants follow instructions.
- Role Culture: This type of cultures exists in hierarchical organisations that have most of their employees play specific roles assigned to them regularly or were assigned during recruitment. Role culture develops because the employees are provided with their job description during recruitment together with specific procedures of undertaking projects. Since the employees could usually be stick with those roles and procedures as long as they work in the same departments, they end up developing the culture of following the old ways. Creativity hardly plays part in such occasions because incentives are almost non-existent. The culture changes when such employees are transferred to other departments, where it starts all over again. One can argue that role culture increases productivity in the long run due to specialisation, though the mutinous could breed boredom.
- Task Cultures: This form of culture develops when individuals work in groups to complete assigned tasks. This is an important form because it enhances team work within the organisation and thus improves employees' efficiency. It has a higher propensity of improving creativity within the team and the organisation, because members are supposed to make important contributions during discussions Task culture can be used to increase productivity in the organisation by dividing group tasks according to team members' skill and experience. Such arrangements increase the speed at which projects are accomplished; also the quality of the job done by each team member and the group as a whole.
- Person Culture: This form of culture is the one that allows individuals in any organisation the liberty to express themselves fully. It also has a higher propensity of productivity and creativity because employees will most likely undertake the assigned projects in through the most efficient means they know how. It could be used together with Task Culture, especially when teams assign duties to each member. Such a combination will bring forth employees who work effectively within a team and efficiently with minimal supervisions, which are both qualities of a dream employee. By exercising Person Culture, company employee are able to make their own decisions which will leave the management making the most important decisions regarding the organisation—both of which will result to higher productivity.
Importance of Organisational Culture
As indicated in the previous section, practicing organisational culture is very instrumental in company or any organisation's operations. For a profit-oriented organisation, culture helps in increasing its economic performance and organisational viability (Holistic Management 2000). This is because employees understand what the expectations of the management, thus perform accordingly and with minimal supervision. Coupled with division of labour in lines with employee experience and skills, it makes its easy for department heads to control their areas and be productive without constant clarifications from the senior management. The departments thus run smoothly and the organisation easily attains its laid down goals. The organisation can therefore continue to perform well even after senior management moves from their positions. Processes, not individuals, become the most important production function of the organisation.
Such smooth production processes are therefore capable of fast implementation of projects such as new products and services, or when undertaking structural change within the organisation. All that the organisation requires is for employees to start operate organisational systems that will provide good results. Innovation will also be possible because of the task and person cultures that are instituted with organisation's overall cultures. This will make the employees to cooperate with each other in crucial times of innovation. Since organisation culture teaches employees the needs of customers, they are able to take care of production processes when some of them have moved on to other careers or are not present. Thus the organisation's activities will never be affected by unexpected shortage of labour.
Organisational culture further helps in attaining higher levels of organisational effectiveness, especially in the non-profit sector (Willcoxson & Millett 2000), because all the stakeholders are well aware of what the organisation they are dealing with, that is, the organisation's demands of them. Suppliers will for instance understand that untimely delivery is against their clients' culture and thus ensure that goods are delivered on time. Employees will also understand that dedication in their duties is a key component of their employers culture and should thus do their best in helping achieved the goal of satisfying clients and with quality products, failure of which could mean end of their careers with the said organisation.
Organisational culture further helps employees of a profit-oriented company to get connected to their employer's goals, mission, values and mission. This is aided by the repeated choruses of company culture by the management, board of directors as well as long serving employees. It could also be achieved through a way of displaying company culture all over their premises, on strategic areas or on miniature items. Such an easy of helping employees get connected to company's goal should always be the dream of all managers of all firms because it will translate higher productivity at all among company employees (Khan 2005). Since culture will enable employees to be aware of their employers' expectations, it shall be possible for them to remind each other of what they are supposed to be doing in order to help the company reach its goals, all of which will be done through the company's culture system. This will be enabled by the fact that all employees' goals would have been aligned (Sorensen 2002) with those of the company, which will make them talk to each other when they see any behaviour that is not consistent with what is held commonly with other stakeholders. This will make management's activities easier because monitoring employees will be minimal.
It shall be easy for stakeholders to share issues regarding the company because of the culture that is cultivated. This open communication between parties makes them aware of the goings in the organisation. Problems within the organisation are thus easily detected. Rectifications are therefore done before things get out of had. As a result of the increased openness employees can easily air their concerns regarding certain processes, and actions be taken on time, which would lead to greater job satisfaction on their part and greater productivity for the firm, because of the resulting efficiencies (Chow, Harrison, McKinnon & Wu 2001). Employees' satisfaction with their occupations will however leave them with self inquiry questions, such as what can I do to serve this organisation better. The self evaluation will most likely lead to answers directly related to increased productivity, which would lead to more sales and revenue for the firm. Further attention to employee needs by senior management will keep this cycle going round and round for long durations of time—something that will keep company sales rising compared to competition. Such a scenario goes hand in hand with Devis (2007) claim that successful organisational culture provides enabling environments for employees to evaluate the impact their conducts or their employers' goals.
Other than increasing employee job satisfaction and general productivity of an organisation, organisational culture can be used to improve on other areas of employees' lives that do not really to on the company activities or goals abut are essential on the general welfare of employees. For instance, Erickson (2000) notes that companies should include safety on their cultures because it would lead to a situation where employees are concerned with risk issues, and thus ensure they wear protective gear and that tools are working well. This benefits both the organisation and employees; the organisation will escape insurance expenses and employees will be safe at all times.
Employees of the firms exercising organisational culture become part and parcel of their employer; they take pride as part owners of the culture, since they were involved during development and implementations stages. This result to a highly motivated employment force that helps the organisation reaches gaols and lives by its mission and values. Indeed Eikenberry (2008) observes that successful organisation culture helps the practicing organisation attract, retain, engage, synergize, energize, talents as well as changing view of work, and creating a sense of success in the entire team that ranges from senior management to the newest employee. Such a team is the heart of every successful organisation no matter its industry or size.
The job satisfaction experienced by members of staff act as a magnet that draws new employees into the company. This is a good thing for the organisation practicing culture because it shall be able to filter potential employee and thus get the most qualified and skilled employees, whereas the competition gets the rest. When the new members of staff gets on board, they are welcomed by their colleagues and taught how to uphold the organisations culture as they are now part of the winning team. Researchers have actually found that new employees of organisations practicing organisational culture portrayed high levels of adaptability and involvement with company activities (Christensen & Gordon 1999), which enables them to make quicker contributions to their new employer's activities.
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