Organizational culture is a term used to refer to the personality of an organization. Culture is made up of basic assumptions, values, tangible signs also known as artifacts and norms formed by the members of an organization as well as their behavior. Culture can also be defined as the pattern of basic assumptions shared by a group which a group learns when solving problems associated with external adaptation and also internal integration. Culture is formed by those techniques that works during this period and which are subsequently considered valid to be passed on or taught to new recruits or members.
These basic assumptions forms the correct way to think, feel and perceive in relation to such problems which have already been solved. As organizations or groups evolve, they face challenges which include adapting to the external environment for survival purposes and integrating new individuals to the organization. However, culture is difficult to conclusively express though it is widely known and sensed in an organization (McNamara, 2008). Concepts and theories of organizational culture Culture is an attribute in an organization which is hardest to change and outlasts products, founders, services and even leaders.
Culture is built or initiated from inception or formation of
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As such, founders have a very big role in the establishment of organizational culture. However, as the organization continues to expand, employees establish their own problem solving techniques without much involvement of the leaders. Culture dictates the kind of leadership to be in place in an organization at different levels and also dictates how people work and relate with each other. As an organization continues to grow, there is need for succession of the founders with newer or younger generations.
This people have different ideas from the founders as well as new ways of performing or carrying out tasks. This calls for culture change which requires the direct intervention of the leaders. Culture once embedded in an organization becomes hard to change and the leaders must be willing to come into a compromise with the workers for effective change to be attained (McNamara, 2008). Culture is important when initiating organizational changes. The problem being faced by the new owners of Mahidra Satyam for example, is rooted on the organizational culture.
The founders of this company embedded a culture which the new owners find it hard completely to change. Mr. Raju the founder of Mahidra Satyam influenced the formation of the company’s culture since its inception. In the company, each department acts independently with only the top managers, that is, the founders being the overseer of the whole company. Managers in the different departments were allowed to make autonomous decisions regarding their jobs with little regard to other departments’ roles. This motivated them to work and be creative. Employees also looked up to Mr. Raju as a role model.
However, following the fraud scandal, employees were devastated and the company was taken over by new management who had their own way of managing. According to the new owners, their aim is to incorporate an integrative form of management where decisions of the departments are to be made by more than one person. Changing the culture which the founders influenced is difficult for the new owners and a complete overhaul is impossible. They have to retain whatever they feel is right while doing away with what they do not like. This has to be carefully explained to the workers and time allowed to effect the changes (Bellman, n.
d). Apart from the influence of leadership and founders, other elements of organizational culture include customs and rituals, metaphors and symbols, unstated as well as stated values and work climate. This forms part of values and beliefs as well as assumptions. Values determine the behavior of individuals although they are not observable directly unlike the behaviors. Behaviors are usually attributed to some stated values in an organization. However, even the unstated values influence how a person behaves and relates with his colleagues.
In the above mentioned case of Mahidra Satyam, it is stated that employees of the company used to refer to each other in a formal manner. This is an unstated value which influenced the behavior of the workers. Assumptions and beliefs develop from both the stated and unstated values which a certain group or workforce deems valid. However, they are usually dropped once a person becomes aware of the facts. Beliefs and assumptions form the root of personal and group culture although most people are unaware of them. Still on the case of Mahidra Satyam, people believed that Mr.
Raju’s way of doing things was the acceptable way and although they were unaware of it, their reluctant to change clearly reveal this fact (McNamara, 2008). Artifacts and behavior are also elements of the organizational culture. These are observable and one can easily tell the culture in an organization through observing the behavior patterns. Dressing codes, work layout and technology employed in an organization show the culture in place. Behaviors and artifacts also explain the tasks carried out by a group but do not give the reasons as to why the group does so.
Usually, culture evolves naturally which is referred to as culture by default. However, culture can also be designed and “implanted” in an organization. Culture by design involves a predetermined culture or behavior which is taught to employees before they are hired. Usually in designed culture, a firm carries out a workforce planning and also talent acquisition before hiring employees. Potential employees’ behaviors and temperaments are analyzed to assess whether they fit in the overall organizational culture. This ensures that the culture is not changed or tampered with and helps in enforcing a particular culture in an organization.
909 Group is one of companies which have adopted the culture by design approach to ensure innovation and creativity is upheld within the company. This is the new approach of the new leader Max who wants to ensure the company is innovative. Changing a culture is a slow process which as said before requires deliberate intervention of the leader. Max for example wishes to enhance innovation and the way to do this is by adopting a culture by design approach. He does this by engaging workforce planning firm known as CHARLOTTE, NC. This is an effective way of ensuring organizational culture change (Carolina Newswire, 2009).
Reference: Bellman, E. (n. d): Mahindra Satyam’s New Owner Tries To Move Beyond Disgraced Founder. Retrieved on 24th July 2009 from, http://online. wsj. com/article/SB124830819046274189. html Carolina Newswire (2009): Bankston Partners Engaged by The 909 Group for Exclusive Agreement. Retrieved on 24th July 2009 from, http://carolinanewswire. com/news/News. cgi? database=00001news. db&command=viewone&id=410&op=t McNamara, C. (2008): Organizational Culture. Retrieved on 24th July 2009 from, http://managementhelp. org/org_thry/culture/culture. htm.