Organizational Culture

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Posted on Jan 22, 2015

 Organizational culture is one of the most frequent term used while studying and understanding the nature of organizational behavior. Organizational culture and organizational behavior are interrelated terms. These both terms influence each other. Organizational culture is about the philosophies, beliefs, ethics, behaviors, practices and attitudes which an organization defines. The set values and behavioral structure of the organization which contribute to the unique social and psychological environment is known as organizational culture. There are many elements included in organizational culture. Organizational culture of any organization is based on some sort of written and unwritten rules which been developed over a course of time, the shared attitudes, customs and beliefs. Many times, organizational culture is replaced with corporate culture. These shared attitudes, beliefs and customs strongly influence the organization. They dictate how they dress, act and perform their duties within the organizational environment. Every organization is based on a certain culture which defines guidelines and behavioral principles for the people working together.

According to Becker and Geer (1960), organizational culture is a set of common understandings around which the action is organized… finding expression in language whose nuances are peculiar to the group.

According to Louis (1980), a set of understandings or meanings shared by a group of people that are largely tacit among members and are clearly relevant and distinctive to the particular group which are also passed on to new members.

According to Allaire and Firsirotu (1984), a system of knowledge, of standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating and acting that serve to relate the human communities to their environmental settings.

Gareth Morgan has described organizational culture as the set of beliefs, values and norms together with symbols like dramatized events and personalities that represents the unique character of an organization, and provides the context for action in it and by it.

There are seven characteristics of organizational culture, listed below:

  1. Innovation (Risk Orientation): The organizational culture should be innovative. An innovative organizational culture motivates the employees for better job performances. Innovation brings the change in the working structure of the organization which facilitates better working abilities.
  2. Attention to Detail (Precision Orientation): The organizational culture where employees are expected to be accurate in their tasks. If there is high attention to detail, the employees perform their jobs with proper precision.
  3. Emphasis on Outcome (Achievement Orientation): A company which focuses on the results instead of how they achieved, places great emphasis on outcomes.
  4. Emphasis on People (Fairness Orientation): The companies put high emphasis on the people as the organizational decisions affect the people in the organization. Companies should treat their employees with dignity and respect.
  5. Teamwork (Collaboration Orientation): This characteristic is followed by the companies which put high emphasis on team work instead of individual work. People show greater positive relationships with their coworkers and managers in this type of organizational culture.
  6. Aggressiveness (Competition Orientation): This type of organization culture highlights if the employees are aggressive/assertive against the competitive companies in the market.
  7. Stability (Rule Orientation): A rule orientated organizational culture places emphasis on stability are predictable and bureaucratic. These companies work better in the non – changing marketing environments.

Simply, organizational culture describes the human behavior within the organization. In late 1980s and 1990s, the term corporate culture gained wider attention.  Organizational culture defines the ways an organization conducts its businesses, how it treats its customers. Organizational culture is helpful in understanding how power and information is flowing within the organizational layers and how much commitment is shown by the employees in the accomplishment of organizational objectives. The human resource management department of the organization has to ensure an effective and productive organizational culture.  The productivity and performance of the organization is highly influenced by organizational culture. It provides guidelines for better customer case and customer services. It is helpful in enhancing the product quality and safety. Good organizational culture ensures that the employees are performing well and are punctual.  It is the most unique feature of the organizations and is really hard to change.

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