Culture appears to be an inalienable part of every organization. Admittedly culture influences a majority of aspects of an organizational life, such as decision-making process, rewards distribution, treatment of colleagues, internal environment, etc. The article ‘The Impact of Organizational Culture on Performance of Educational Institutions’ explores the influence of the organizational culture in higher education and places it in the dialogue with the organization’s performance. An array of definitions has been given to culture, Hofstede (1983) defines culture as “collective mental programming: that part of our conditioning that we share with other members of our nation, region, or group but not with members of other nations, regions, or groups (p. 76).
Ng’ang’a and Nyongesa (2012) define organizational culture as a “set of important assumptions-often unstated-that members of an organization share in common” (p. 211). The organization culture is based on beliefs and values where beliefs are people’s perception of reality backed up by experience while values are assumptions pertaining to the ideals that are worth perusing (Ng’ang’a & Nyongesa, 2012). It is only when the beliefs and ideals coincide and shared, may they result in the creation of a truly corporate culture (Ng’ang’a & Nyongesa, 2012). Organizational culture may also be viewed as assumptions and experiences accumulated by a group in the course of solving problems and addressing internal integration issues (Ng’ang’a & Nyongesa, 2012). Based on the definitions, organizational culture is generally perceived as a cognitive phenomenon.
Despite strong organizational culture, people’s individual culture is still present in them. If all the members in an organization were asked to voice their opinion on a specific subject, it would be wrong to assume that their views would mirror with those of others. This means that we shouldn’t assume that every individual in an organization is programmed the same way. It is true that general behavior and belief patterns may be similar in an organization; however, individuals may be inclined to have their own opinions which may be different from other members of an organization. The culture of a certain organization takes time to develop and the development is based on a myriad of factors, such as history, the size of the organization, its location, environment, type of leadership, and others (Ng’ang’a & Nyongesa, 2012). Bearing that in mind, one may assume that the organizational cultures in big companies are often different from the organizational cultures of small, family businesses.
When people work side by side in an organization for many years, they tend to be united by the goals that the organization peruses. In working towards those goals, the members of the organization will eventually use similar strategies, play by the rules of the organization, thus adopting the organizational culture and making it part of their own.
Organizational performance is crucial for an educational institution, as the demand for education increases, the institutions need to expand to accommodate the influx of students. However, performance may be perceived differently by institutions, commercial institutions will put forward profit and revenue as the primary performance indicator. Non-commercial establishments will use other criteria such as culture of the employees, how employable graduates are, competition, etc. Ng’ang’a and Nyongesa (2012) agree with the views of Hofstede who said that “an organizational culture is so important to the organization that, in the long run, it may be the one decisive influence for the survival or all of the organization” (p. 215). The role of culture should not be underestimated as it contributes to the overall performance and success of an organization. A strong organizational culture may promote better communication, facilitate decision-making process, foster cooperation and enhance commitment achieving the organization’s goals.
Ng’ang’a and Nyongesa agree that there is evidence backed up by years of research that links organizational culture to its performance. With this in mind, there is an increased need to develop and maintain a strong culture in an institution, as a strong culture is a pillar on which performance is based on.
Hofstede, G. (1983). The Cultural Relativity of Organizational Practices and Theories. Journal of International Business Studies, 14(2), 75-90.
Ng’ang’a, M. J., & Nyongesa, W. J. (2012). The Impact of Organisational Culture on Performance of Educational Institutions. International Journal of Business & Social Science, 3(8), 211-217.