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A set of basic tacit assumptions about how the world is and ought to be that is shared by a set of people and determines their perceptions, thoughts, feelings and, to some degree, their overt behavior. (Schein 1992:12)
Organizational culture is a cluster of assumptions, values and norms shared by members of an organization. Employees are told what is important to an organization through their values which help in increasing organizational effectiveness. Culture performs a number of functions within an organization. According to Robbins (2001) Culture distinguishes an organization from the others, creates a sense of identity for the organization members, facilitates the feeling of commitment and enhances social system stability. Culture has fundamental implications for individual and corporate performance. Culture is concerned with how employees perceive the characteristics of an organizations culture. Culture is the social glue that helps hold the organization together.’ Managing culture requires skills that are expected from managers to lead the workforce.
HP’s corporate objectives have guided the company in the conduct of its business which were written by co-founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. The organizational culture can be explained through Schein’s three levels of culture. HP’s organizational culture starts with HP’s world famous policy the “HP way” which gives importance to individualism as well as teamwork which forms the basic assumptions. The organizational culture followed by HP encourages knowledge sharing and risk taking at all levels. It focuses on teamwork and cooperation in an organization, which are the values that the organization possesses. Hp’s culture ensures that it has a pool of cross functional employees, they are trained in such a way that they are skilled in more than one operation, which is advantageous to both the company and its employees. This ensures a degree of high efficiency, and allows managers to chose the right induviduals from across the company to do the job and not just from the same career path which forms artifacts and culture as something new has come into existence.
The soul of the company comes from Japan and hence most of their activities are based on team work. HP maintains a decentralized organization and worked constantly to keep a flat hierarchial structure. At HP activities are guided through Management by Objectives which is initiated from the top level and adjusted down through the organization to allow for individual initiative and influence.
With reference to the HP video it has been observed that HP follows an informal communication within the employees by adopting the MBWA concept that helps them in doing things together like playing sports and having lunch together. It was started by managers and supervisors to encourage employees to approach the management. Staff meetings were held every week where people were encouraged to give their opinions. Total Quality Control was also incorporated which aims at producing highly qualified products. Lots of opportunities and benefits were being provided. Competition amongst peer groups was encouraged in a positive way resulting in effective contributions. Diversity and inclusion are guided by deeply held values which are the key drivers of creativity, innovation and invention.
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TESCO is an international company with a strong reputation for providing quality products and services. Tesco has created a culture of trust and respect where managers help employees to do jobs. People work better when they are given the power to make decisions and take responsibility. Tesco strives to provide a positive work environment that supports productivity, dignity and sense of worth. Managers recognize the work they do and encourage employees. Tesco follows a diverse culture regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The management provides flexible working conditions whenever possible. Tesco provides support for specific charities and plays a contributor to the society as a whole. Tesco follows a whistle blowing policy now in all countries where they encourage employees to report any misconduct or malpractices to protect the interests of other employees. Available at :www.tescocorporate.com [Accessed: 6/12/2009]
Tesco has integrated both technological aid as well as labor power into their organizational structure and follows a culture where they use technological assistance to do precision requiring tasks and rely entirely on man power for serving their customers.
Tesco managers are given a wide span of control and can communicate to and control all the employees on the sales floor and can assure customer satisfaction. Tesco focuses on serving their customers and keeping them happy and hence “the wide span of control” is a useful practice that they follow. Tesco decision making activities are decentralized where the power is devolved down the line and employees at the lower end can make decisions.
Managers feel that by doing this it enables people who are close to the shop floor and close to the customer to be able to make decisions and influence power so that customers are satisfied. They also have a policy of having HR departments in each store or regional offices. Tesco makes an attempt to protect employees from harassment and takes action to address any concerns that arise.
With comparisons drawn from the HP organizational culture and Tesco organizational culture, in my opinion Tesco is more likely to achieve cultural control than HP due to the formal nature of the business done at Tesco. Tesco follows a particular discipline and organizational structure unlike HP where the culture is informal which seems to work for their kind of business model. HP seems to lack visionary leadership that was required in this increasingly new and rapid business environment. The management style of HP has been questioned and comes with a lot of criticism considering their corporate culture. New employees find it difficult to adapt to the HP style as managers expect you to do things on your own rather than telling you what is to be done.
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