Organizational culture is shaped by common values and ideals shared by people in an organization. It gives the organization identity and a sense of belonging for the employees working in that organization. Culture defines the organizational structure of an entity. Culture could stem from the founders of the organization, repetitive events conducted or the common ‘language’ understood by the employees. Organizational culture and personality are closely linked ( Hofstede, 1980).
An organization can choose to focus on people. All systems and policies will be defined around people in the firm. Such an entity will ensure that employees’ needs are attended to first. The working environment has to be fit for employees. People will have access to training and development. Organizations that choose this cultural structure invest heavily in their human resource. Employees will have adequate medical cover, insurance policies and membership to fitness clubs. Other firms may choose to be customer-focused. All organization’s efforts will be directed to ensuring the customers’ needs are satisfied. The customer is viewed as the king. (Drucker, 1997)
Some firms adapt team structures where the focus is on teamwork. People in an organization have shared responsibility and unity of purpose.
Teams outperform groups and what each member can do on their own. Such organizations believe in the synergy produced by teams.
Some structures place emphasis on results. Such organizations ensure that there the end products or activities are a success. Firms, for instance, may not be strict on the rules. Employees may be given autonomy in decision making. Red tape measures may not work in such forms. Employees may be free to work at home or even dress casually. What the management is concerned with is the result.
Changing the work environment may entail self-renewal. This involves changing individuals’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Gradually, this will be felt in the organization. The way of doing things in an organization will change.
Organizational Culture and its Implications
Working “with” an organization culture implies that a manager is confined to what has been the norm in the organization. For instance, an organization that its people follow the values left by the core founder. A manager follows in the defined path even though some of the practices may be obsolete. It may be beneficial to some organizations and disastrous to others if it hinders progress. “Several recent studies suggest that strong culture contributes significantly to the long-term success of organizations by guiding behavior and giving meaning to activities” (Kast,1985 p. 664).
Knowledge in organizational culture aids in management activities. These areas in management contribute greatly to the success of an organization. The key managerial areas cover planning, organizing, controlling and leading.
Planning covers the setting of organizational goals and how to achieve them. This gives an organization the strategy they will use to manage its operations. For instance, if its people-focused all aspects of planning will be built around people.
Organizing determines how activities and resources will be allocated. For instance in team allocation of work, departments, and definition of authority and responsibility. Some cultures allow delegation and decentralization of authority. The span of control allows innovation. This creates a culture that promotes people’s skills and new technology (Burnes, 2004).
Leadership involves influence, motivation and communicating to employees so as they work towards a common goal. This is a key aspect that shapes organizations. The test is when to use authoritative, democratic or participative leadership in organizations. This at times causes a gap between managers and leaders. Charismatic leaders will be able to drive people in directions that they will. After being given the general direction to follow controls have to be in place to ensure that the organization is working as per the set goals.
Drucker, P. (1997). People and performance. Ballard Estate, Mumbai: Allied Publishers.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: international differences in work related values.Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage publications.
Burnes, B. (2004). Managing Change: a strategic approach to organizational dynamics. Essex: Prentice Hall Publishers.
Kast, E. F., Rosenzweig, E. J. (1985). Organization and management: a system and contingency approach (4th ed.). McGraw-hill Inc.