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Culture has been defined in various ways by various scholars. According to Kroeber and Kluckholn (1952) culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups including their embodiment in artefacts. The essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e., historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values. Cultural systems may on one hand be considered as products of action and as conditioning elements of future action.
In the words of Hofstede (1984) 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.”
Anthropologist Symington (1983) has defined culture as, “… that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs and capabilities and habits acquired by a man as a member of society.” On the whole it can be critically analysed from all the above statements that Culture as being an entity through which a person or a group of people associate themselves through a set of defined and particular type of behaviour.
The Indian perspective of culture given by Sinha (2000) suggests that “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.”
What these descriptions suggest is a set of value systems that are equally shared by all the members. They take a long time to evolve and are sustained over a long period of time. They form a common core which binds people together for example, a football club, a political party and a bussiness organisation etc. These being the definitions of cultures with regards to a place or country, Now the question that presses is that of the organisational culture and how it varies and influences the behaviour of the employees working in them. This essay tends to answer those questions with an Indian organisational focus
Work culture, on the other hand, is a totality of various levels of interaction among organisational factors (boundaries, goals, objectives, technology, managerial practices, material and human resources, and the constraints) and organismic factors (skills, knowledge, needs, and expectations) interacting among themselves at various levels. Over a period of time they develop roles, norms and values focusing work and is called as the work culture.
Tayed(1996) commented that
Organizational culture is a commonly held-in-the-mind framework of organizational members. Culture encompasses basic assumptions and values. These are passed on from existing employees to new ones as the way to perceive, think, feel, behave, and expect others to behave in the organization. It becomes the common language and the common background. Culture therefore is a result of what has been beneficial for an organization. Culture is an offshoot of leadership, propelled by the collective learning of organizational members and is a set of pivotal forces that control human action. Culture is more than an organizations mission statement. Culture is the web of tacit understandings, boundaries, common language, and shared expectations maintained over time by the members.
Organisational culture in India:
I would like to describe the Indian work culture based on Hoftsede's (1984) famous 5 points on culture dimensions.
A) Power distance index (PDI):
It focuses on the degree of equality or in equality between people in a given culture.
According to hofstede India ranked 77 for PDI and it is highest compared to a world average of 56.5. This score indicates the high level of discrimination or inequality of power and wealth among the society.
Bass and burger (1979) commented that it is difficult for non family member to take position in power upper management especially in private sector in India; power is generally relegated in favour of position power.
According to Kanungo et.al. (1994) the managers and their subordinates accept their relative position in the organisational system and they tend to work and operate from these fixed positions.
Individualism indicates the individual behaviour in the work place and their influences.
A high individualism indicates that the individual within these high ranking individualism societies may tend to form a larger number of looser relationships. Low individualism ranking indicates that people within these society are more collectivist nature with close ties between individuals and in these society all group member all together take the responsibility for all doings.
According to Sharma (1984) Indian people/employees have low individualism and it implies that family and group take the prudence over the work outcomes. Whereas researches by Sinha and sinha (1990) contrastingly states that generally Indian people works individually rather than in groups because the power based hierarchy existing in most of Indian organisations and as a consequence, we find inexperience and limited capability among the employees towards the collectivism and its advantages.
It is also seen that the Indian employees resist change and unable to take bold decision. But Sharma's and Sinha et.al.'s researches were conducted during the pre-liberal times of Indian stratum. The recent research by Smith (2007) point out fewer changes in this particular aspect of the employees, in particular towards their attitude towards power differences and the emphasis placed on indivdualism.
C) Masculinity (MAS):
According to Hofstede (1984) India is the 3rd highest ranking in terms of masculinity.
This high ranking indicates that the country experiences a high degree of gender differentiation and in such a culture male dominates the maximum portion of the society and power structure and low ranking indicates the females and males are treated equally. Devi (1991) explained that females in India are highly respected but this respect does not always get translate into equality in the workplace, earning or in society culture. Even during the last decade, Indian women were expected to be obedient and submissive but now the attitude towards gender equality has started to change rapidly and progressively (Mammen et.al.,2000).
D) Uncertainty Avoidance Index ( UAI):
The culture with low UAI are unclear, unpredictable, nervous and they avoid taking responsibility, where as cultures with strong uncertainty avoidance are active, aggressive, emotional, compulsive and security seeking and intolerant.
And India ranked lowest UAI according to Hofstede (1984).
Sharma (1984) explains the reasons for the low UAI in India and according to him the average Indian employees resist change and are fearful of taking any independent decision, they seem to hesitate to delegate, totally dependent upon superior direction and decision. India has always emphasized respect for elder and superior and because of this they find it difficult to express their ideas in front of superiors because they wish not to offend them.
E) Long Term Orientation (LTO):
According to Hofstede (1984) LTO is very important to understand the mindset of people and to understand the values in the workplace as they are highly influenced by the larger culture. India is ranked higher for LTO and it indicate the culture is perseverant and ungenerous.
The high ranks indicate that the Indian employees are committed and have respect towards their work and the organisation. Tripathi (1990) views as the revere pressure created by the organisation on the workforce they can't shift there work from company to other so till LTO is valid for the majority of the Indian workforce.
From the above discussion on Hofstede's 5 major cultural dimensions, we can conclude that Indian societal culture has a powerful impact on most of the management functions which include staffing, motivation, leadership, communication and control.
Aspects which I would like to change in present organisational culture so that the workforce will be genuinely cared about what they did and they are:
Even though there are a whole lot of aspects that needs revising in the Indian organisational context, I perceive that the two major factors that shall influence the productivity and also for the employees to care about their work is by showing them that the organisation equally cares about them. This can be done as Herzberg () points out by not just providing the hygiene factors but motivating factors that shall influence their behaviour towards a positive stratum.
Hence the two major aspects that I would change are the Motivational practices and the Health and Safety practices in the current organisational system.
Motivational practices play key role to change the organisational culture and behavior of workforce (Florian, 2004). Even though there are various major motivational theories such as Maslow's, Mclelland etc., I would like to focus upon Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene theory.
Herzberg (1993) found that people have two different categories of needs in the work situation and these are essentially independent of each other and affect employee behaviour in different ways. He found that when people felt dissatisfied with their jobs they were concerned about the environment in which they were working. On the other hand when people felt good about their jobs this had to do with the work itself. Herzberg called the first category of needs hygiene or maintenance factors: Hygiene, because they describe people's environment and serve their primary function of preventing job dissatisfaction: maintenance because they are never completely satisfied - they have to continue to be maintained. He called the second category of needs motivators since they seemed to be effective in motivating people to superior performance.
Motivation and Hygiene Factors
Hygiene Factors Motivators
Environment The job itself
Policies and administration Achievement
Supervision Recognition for
Working conditions Challenging work
Interpersonal relations Increased responsibility
Money, status, security Growth and Development
The absence of hygiene factors will cause dissatisfaction but their presence does not create a positive motivation. In the presence of satisfactory hygiene factors, motivators are necessary to stimulate positive motivation. Hygiene factors, when satisfied, tend to eliminate dissatisfaction and work restriction, but they do little to motivate an individual to superior performance or increased capacity. Satisfaction of the motivators, however, will permit an individual to grow and develop in a mature way, often implementing an increase in ability. Thus, hygiene factors affect an individual's willingness or motivation and motivators impact an individual's ability.
The current motivational strategies adopted by the Indian in the organisation are not very effective and most of the motivational strategies adopted by the Indian organizations are heavily borrowed from the western and Eastern successes and hence finds itself difficult to fit into the Indian stratum so, the organizations are all demanding better motivational practices for continuous development in the future.( Bakthavatchaalam et.al., 2009)
So the question is “How would it be possible for me to increase motivation to work especially in an Indian context?” I have to aimed allowing employees to work on higher order needs (achievement, self-esteem, self-actualization) while working towards organizational goals. Assuming that lower order needs are met, a motivating climate would have these factors:
- The work itself must allow opportunities for employees to satisfy their higher - order needs.
- The employees must be involved in determining what needs are important and what will be done to satisfy those needs.
- The immediate work context must be supportive of these efforts at improvement.
Given these factors, three major types of interventions may be applied to work situations in an attempt to make them more motivating.
- Data feedback methods, in which information about the state of the organization is collected from employees, organized and fed back to them as a basis for collaborative problem solving.
- Job enrichment methods, which attempt to change the nature of job by groaning responsibilities, giving more autonomy for decision making and generally enlarging the scope of the job.
- Socio-technical system interventions, which attempt to match the necessary technology of the job with the social needs of the employees.
Health and safety:
The next aspect that I would change is the Health and safety practices persistent in the current Indian organisations.
Stellman(1998) Creating a safe environment for work is very important because it shows how much employee are important and it reflects that company cares about each individual so that employee can do work efficiently effectively and safely.
Compare to other countries India is far behind for providing safe environment to workforce. So its major concern to work on health and safety of workforce.
The question is how I can crate safe workplace:
- By giving induction to the employee regarding their work.
- By conducting or organizing awareness camp for health and safety in the organization.
- Providing better medical facilities in the organization for employee and for the respective family.
- Providing medical allowances to employee.
- I would like to highlight few more points which I would like to change, they are:
- Making workforce to work in a group or as a team rather than individually.
- Providing flexibility in work hours and workplaces.
- Providing transparency and fairness in the incentive scheme.
- By recognition and praising the employee for there work and awarding performance award.
- Providing better education and training for new equipment and about their work so that it can enhance employees qualifications and their employability as well.
I would not only like to provide the hygiene factors in the work for the employees but also find out the major motivator factors from already conducted researches and try implement them as well.
Problem which I would like to face:
Changes can't be made instantly it requires a lot of time. Changes will take place slowly. Distrust is the main thing which I am going to face while changing the above aspects.
So I have to make them to believe that these changes are made for the benefits of organization and for the employees.
Strength and weakness:
My strengths, as my ability to manage, adopt to people, and create a friendly environment at the work place, and my ability to listen to people is one of the biggest strengths, people management is as said one of the most difficult, and an essential one, and my continuous flare to develop my skills in people management, and leading people is another strength of mine. The usage of statistical techniques in data collection, and analysis, Communication skills, the ability to adapt to quick changes and an interest to learn new things on a continuous basis are few more of my strengths. My weaknesses are that my skills in the field of advanced IT is very limited, and my financial skills is still elementary. I still am working hard on my punctuality, which I still find eluding me yet, and my ability to keep up with appointments and my memory are things that still require more of an improvement.
Management has to be very supportive, friendly and cooperative and they have to give regular feedback and have to motivate their workforce on regular basis so that workforce will slowly adapt the changes of the organizational culture and hence it will enhance the productivity of the organization.
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(www.scribd.com/doc/20010830/OrganisationalCulture accessed on 14-11-09 )