When you start new job in the beginning everybody have some strange feeling about new colleagues and it seems like they act and do everything like one so similar and so different from you previous ones in your previous company. Personality is the thing that is unique and no relevance in each company and it common that that personality that company "soul', "spirit' and "mind' is protected from ageing. There is no meaning how many people with come and go in the company but this palace will protect his unique culture behaviour.
In literature are suggested and provided different and rich volume of definition for corporate culture and possibly each have its own life. But here I will try to provide not a survey of this definition. My aim is to provide a complex of general ideas, understanding and information about how corporate culture is so important nowadays from where all start and where it is now and how it was created this modern phenomena.
In these books is presented more complex approach of cultural behaviour with critical understanding in invisible aspect of corporate life. Beyond all this literature with importance new way of thinking became to represent role and characteristic of corporate culture in way that reveal the importance of performance of corporate culture how it is created, maintained and organized and how become truly phenomena in business behaviour.
The most literature suggest that the roots of corporate culture are hidden in anthropology level. It is undeniable that anthropology studies, styles and methods have great influence in developing of contemporary corporate culture of course no doubt that sociology have greater contribution in development too.
If we try to trace historical development of organizational sociology since Max Weber we would find that constant tension between those who prefer implicit or explicit features, or those who emphasize the capacity companies to order or rationality versus those who find something chaotic and non-traditional in features of organizational life and behaviour.
From these times of creating and forming modern understanding of social phenomena was provided complex of definitions that all have their own importance and values. I will provide some of them but the most of all sources define corporate culture as a share believes, values and assumptions that brings behavioural norm.
Influence of anthropology on corporate culture
The elements that comprise culture to anthropology are such as social structure and development, language and rituals in years. All this culture elements and needs represent what the specific unique problems of needs of social life and survival are, and in this sense culture to the anthropology both dependent and independent variables. In many ways some people takes organizational culture not for a natural solution but as instrument of top management to design behaviour of employees in purposive ways. Typically organizational culture is taken as independent variable rarely attending to the environmental forces that shape truly culture. There are many differences and doubts but despite of them the beneficial is the method of anthropology in corporation culture development.
Influence of organizational sociology on corporate culture
Sociology has broad and direct influence on organizational culture behaviour. It's hard work to define most significant effects and streams. But some of them are definitely: myths and rituals, symbolic interaction, and study of organization as institution. Perhaps best understood will give us struggling between explicit and rational vies and implicit and nonrational view of organization.
Explicit versus Implicit feature of organization
Myths and ritual are basic point of development of socio-organizational structure. Durkheim suggests that symbols like myth and rituals can provide even deeper and more clues to strains and forces in social life. Finally this approach becomes central theme of the study of organizational culture. Decision and discussing about implicit or explicit feature in social life regard both of them for essential.
Rational versus nonrational feature of organization
This debate is still looking for his answer nowadays. There different approaches in both ways but in conclusion that there must be always have a tension between the rational goal of economic organizations and nonrational approach for other ones.
The intellectual founders of corporate culture
The idea of corporate culture as shared believes and values derive at least in 1961 form Burns and Shaker. After that significant contribution in the field have Schwartz and Davis (1981) they define culture as "some interrelated set of beliefs, shared by most of their members' and "a pattern of beliefs and expectations that is shared by the organization's members". Key moment in process of popularization of corporate culture had a bestseller In Search of Excellence by Peters and Waterman (1982), where was firstly defined "shared values' and "basic beliefs'
Probably one of the most common and cited works in the field of corporate culture is Edgar Schein (1985). He defines culture on three levels. The first one - visible relate culture as pattern of behaviour. It's "the way how things are done here', the norms, the stories, the symbols. This basic superficial level reflects on the second deeper one that defines organizational shared values. And from this shared values, on their turn, affect on third most fundamental level of culture - shared assumptions. Contribution have and Kotter and Heskett (1992) they based their definition on Schein (1985) but eliminate distinction between values and beliefs.
All these definitions consider norms, stories and symbols as expressions tools of already mentioned shared beliefs or assumptions. In all books and authors above study culture because of its behaviour implications and here we see the need of deep analysis of theory and we found answer in values and beliefs.
Of course it has many other relevant definitions that would be revealed but I would like to mention some important:
3 perspectives on corporate culture
1. According to the Integration perspective all members of the firm share an organization-wide consensus (in the sense of shared beliefs).
2. The Differentiation perspective explicitly recognizes and focuses on the fact that there are subcultures.
3. The Fragmentation perspective has a 'focus on ambiguity as the essence of organizational culture.'
The definition in this paper essentially combines the first two perspectives. Some beliefs are shared by the whole organization while others may be shared by specific subgroups only. Elements of both are in fact found in nearly any discussion of corporate culture.
Culture are pure conversation
Another important view is that of culture as simple conventions. This is also the first notion of culture in the Kreps model. In the presence of multiple equilibriums, culture defines which equilibrium will be followed. Also that culture as language or meaning is closely related to the idea of conventions.
Culture as norms
Another closely related idea is that of 'culture as norms.' This differs from 'culture as convention' in that norms also have some moral element or an idea of punishment. The second notion of the Hermalin model can be interpreted along these lines.
A measure for culture
Given definition of corporate culture as share beliefs give us two ideas how to measure the "strength' of a culture:
Internal homogeneity - degree in which people share the same beliefs
External homogeneity - degree in which shared beliefs are different form beliefs of the population
Concept of organizational culture
Generally the concept of organizational culture used in organizational studies is borrowed from anthropology. Pettigrew (1979) assumed that organizational culture is 'the system of publicity and collectively accepted meaning operating for a given group at a given time. This system of terms, forms, categories, and images interprets a people's own situation to themselves'. To Schwarttz and Davis (1981), organizational culture is a pattern of beliefs and expectations shared by the organization's members' and it can make 'norms that powerfully shape the behaviour of individuals and groups in orgainzation'. Schein (1985) contended that organizational culture is 'a pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with 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'. From the above typical examples of definitions of organizational culture, we can see that even though the definitions may be diverse, to certain extent there is consensus that organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, beliefs, values, and behaviours in an organization. Furthermore, if the idea of Schein (1985), Dyer (1985) and Kilmann et al. (1985) is correct, culture should have three different levels: shared assumptions, values, and norms (overt attitudes and behaviours) arranged from abstract to concrete and from deep to superficial.
The difficulty of communication information
I assume that a firm's experience is observed only by the firm's current members. It should be uncontroversial that some information is indeed difficult to communicate. This idea that some information is difficult to communicate is well captured by Confucius' 'Tell me and I will forget, Show me and I will remember, Involve me and I will understand!' New members of firms (or new members of a profession) are often told to follow a specific methodology. As they discover the merits of the method and start using it independently, they become in fact socialized.
It would be very difficult for an employee to communicate his experience to his boss by making his boss do something in a specific way. This may be one reason why it is so difficult to transfer culture from one organization to another and why it is often said that cultural change has to come from the top.
The role of learning in the formation of culture
Culture in this paper gets developed over time through shared experiences. The management literature mentions this idea explicitly. Take for example Schein's (1985) definition of corporate culture as 'a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved 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.' Schein deems the process of learning so important that he includes it in his definition of culture. Donaldson and Lorsch (1983) claim that 'although the founders' personal beliefs lie at the heart of the belief system, corporate history also plays an important part in shaping current beliefs. As the founders and their successors manage by their principles, their experiences lead them to modify the system through the process of incremental change. All these remarks suggest that culture is developed to a large extent through joint learning from the company's experiences.
Managers and culture
The management literature suggests that an organization's culture is influenced by the beliefs of founders and early managers (Donaldson and Lorsch 1983, Schein 1985, Kotter and Heskett 1992). The first proposition shows that the manager's prior has indeed an important influence on the firm's eventual behaviour.
Culture and performance
A phenomenon of corporate culture has been driven by potential impacts of corporate performance. In his works Deal and Kennedy (1982), Peters and Waterman (1982), or Collins and Porras (1994) try to popularize idea and their view that corporate culture is key and important factor for successful corporate culture performance. Truly this correlation between corporate culture and performance is fact to be expected, even it is not positive one. And it is no doubt that companies with good and more than good performance establish strong culture. There are two interesting mechanisms that definitely through them can be reach good performance effect.
Extreme - value effect
Communication or socialization effect
The driven idea in the first effect is that employees will observe good performance actions about high results of the company and will be convinced that is the normal action and this high performance is a need. This model can show exactly how strong company's culture is.
The effect of socialization is even simpler and it is related with flow of information and channels that provide that to happen. In strong culture companies with high performance it is necessity that information channels and flows to be well developed because communication flow is greater. This model of high performance communication process will lead employees eager to learn how thing work and they will see effectiveness of this method.
This paper is try to show how corporate culture derive, evolve and develop form common experience of company's members. The culture of organization if influenced by original manager's beliefs and even can persist long after that manager is gone. Competitors influences is more likely to change culture than employees. And companies in similar branches and circumstances can develop different beliefs and behaviours.
The key moment of evolution and development of corporate culture phenomena is correlation between culture and performance. Implicitly the paper also suggests that firms have a natural tendency to develop a culture in the sense of shared beliefs. Management can try to influence this process, but only to some extent.
Undoubtedly both anthropology and sociology approach in development of corporate culture have their unique effect and contribution of our understating of behaviour and performance of organizations.
This paper doesn't pretend to be detailed and exhaustive true source for corporate culture origin and development understanding but can be good base for future deeper research.