Back to Analysis.

Here we will draw the group conclusions.

By Theresa Fadero

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PowerPoint Presentation (Erlanb Bakiev 2012) Organizational Culture Presentation
Video ( 2010) It's About Culture
Video (Google 2009) Google Culture

“Practically speaking- Culture is the Way We Do Things Here

There are many different definitions of organizational culture, although almost all of the most widely accepted ones are similar and cover many of the same aspects. Organizational Culture (OC) is composed of the basic assumptions and beliefs that members of the organization share. McGraw and McShane 2010 defines OC as “The basic pattern of shared values and assumptions governing the way employees within an organization think about and act on problems and opportunities.”Organisational Culture can be defined as "the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one organisation from others", Geert Hofstede. So while there are many definitions of organizational culture, all of them focus on the same points: collective experience, routine, beliefs, values, goals, and system. These are learned and re-learned, passed on to new employees, and continues on as part of a company's core identity.

Given a rapidly changing environment and continuing insights into organizational effectiveness, organizations are seriously rethinking what they do and how they can best define and accomplish their goals and objectives. Once goals are defined, it is necessary to address the type of culture that is necessary to advance these goals and objectives and ensure the successful implementation of the necessary changes. Apparently, OC is relevant to organizations and the reason for its emphasis and many controversies. The first documented extensive work of the concept of OC appeared in 1971 with the work of English sociologist, Barry A. Turner. The concept of OC was popularized in the early 1980s. Many modern OC literatures contribute important insights and ways of thinking about the role, importance, and characteristics of organizational culture. Also, research on the effect of culture on organizational performance and investigations into how organizational cultures are created, maintained, and changed received great attention. Organizational culture is now viewed less as a natural, organically emergent phenomenon and more as a manipulable and manageable competitive asset. (Baker 2002)

The concept of culture is a key issue within management and organization studies. Culture is the social glue that helps hold an organization together by providing appropriate standards for what employees should say or do. OC comes from organizational founder; vision and mission; past practices; top management behaviour; and socialization. Characteristics of culture include: (Bakiev, Erlan 2012)
  • Innovation and risk-taking: The degree to which employees are encouraged to be innovative and take risks.
  • Attention to detail: The degree to which employees are expected to exhibit precision, analysis, and attention to detail.
  • Outcome orientation: The degree to which management focuses on results or outcomes rather than on technique and process.
  • People orientation: The degree to which management decisions take into consideration the effect of outcomes on people within the organization.
  • Team orientation: The degree to which work activities are organized around teams rather than individuals.
  • Aggressiveness: The degree to which people are aggressive and competitive rather than easygoing.
  • Stability: The degree to which organizational activities emphasize maintaining the status quo in contrast to growth.
Organisational culture is a widely used term but one that seems to give rise to a degree of ambiguity. For the past number of decades, most academics and practitioners studying organisations suggest the concept of culture is the climate and practices that organisations develop around their handling of people. (Schein, 2004) Furthermore, some proponents suggest that the concept of culture should take on board the way organisations do business as well as the way they handle people. Watson (2006) emphasises that an important trend in managerial thinking in recent decades has been one of encouraging managers to try to create strong organisational cultures. ‘It has been recognised that it would help managers enormously in the struggle for control if they could get all their employees to subscribe to the beliefs inscribed in a corporate bible - especially if they themselves could write this bible’ (p.256, Watson, 2006). Schein (1990) emphasises that there are visible and invisible levels of corporate culture (Figs 1& 2). Organisational culture, then, is made up of more ‘superficial’ aspects such as patterns of behaviour and observable symbols and ceremonies, and more deep seated and underlying values, assumptions and beliefs. Some proponents argue that organisational culture can be changed by focusing on the more visible aspects such as rites and rituals, as these help shape behaviour. However, others argue that this is a misunderstanding of culture and that the ‘deeper’ aspects of culture such as beliefs and feelings must be taken into account when considering organisational culture and potential changes to culture.

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Figure 1
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Figure 2

How widely and deeply employees hold the company’s dominant values and assumptions is a measure of the OC of that company. Strong culture exists when: (McGraw and McShane 2010)
  • most employees understand/embrace the dominant values
  • values and assumptions are institutionalized through well-established artifacts
  • culture is long lasting -- often traced back to founder
Gerry Johnson (1988) described a cultural web, identifying a number of elements that can be used to describe or influence organizational culture:
  • The paradigm: What the organization is about, what it does, its mission, its values.
  • Control systems: The processes in place to monitor what is going on. Role cultures would have vast rulebooks. There would be more reliance on individualism in a power culture.
  • Organizational structures: Reporting lines, hierarchies, and the way that work flows through the business.
  • Power structures: Who makes the decisions, how widely spread is power, and on what is power based?
  • Symbols: These include organizational logos and designs, but also extend to symbols of power such as parking spaces and executive washrooms.
  • Rituals and routines: Management meetings, board reports and so on may become more habitual than necessary.
  • Stories and myths: build up about people and events, and convey a message about what is valued within the organization.

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According to Schein (1992), the two main reasons why cultures develop in organizations is due to external adaptation and internal integration. External adaptation reflects an evolutionary approach to organizational culture and suggests that cultures develop and persist because they help an organization to survive and flourish. If the culture is valuable, then it holds the potential for generating sustained competitive advantages. Additionally, internal integration is an important function since social structures are required for organizations to exist. Organizational practices are learned through socialization at the workplace. Work environments reinforce culture on a daily basis by encouraging employees to exercise cultural values. Organizational culture is shaped by multiple factors, including the following:
  • External environment
  • Industry
  • Size and nature of the organization’s workforce
  • Technologies the organization uses
  • The organization’s history and ownership
Although the culture of an organisation is often regarded as a key component of its overall character as well as a determinant of its success, it is a difficult, complex and intricate concept that is hard to define. Further, its individualistic and organic nature means it is potentially hard to capture, let alone measure. ( Stakes 2010) Understanding OC is crucial to company’s ability to implement a strategy, introduce new technology or increase productivity. The development of an organisation’s operations requires an understanding of the overall dynamics (culture) of the organisation’s activities, but also an assessment of the impact of culture on operational efficiency. Having a positive organizational culture will result in a large series of positive differences, including increased staff alignment, increased general effectiveness in organization, increased employee productivity, and very high levels of employee commitment. The other aspect of organizational culture that is often true is that it becomes very deeply rooted. It is the identity of a company, and because of that, in some ways it becomes an identity of those who work there, as well. This is always important to remember, as culture becomes like a circular argument. The people end up affecting the culture as much as the culture is affecting them. Because culture is so deeply rooted in an organization’s history of success or failure, and because of its collective experience, any organization that needs to work to change it will be facing an uphill battle and a huge investment in time, resources, and work. In this situation, it is often best to find some professional outsiders to at least help out, people who haven't been exposed and sucked into the bad habits of a dysfunctional organizational culture. (Organizational Culture 2007)

Impacts- Why OC?
Eunice Atieno concludes on OC in terms of performance, leadership style, and communication effectiveness. An organization's performance can be understood from the organization's culture. The organizational culture here can be defined as the collective attitudes that employees have toward the company, the leaders, co-workers, shareholders and customers. Culture determines whether employees will value their customers, along with business innovations and the reduction of costs. The absence or presence of this value then determines the performance of the employees and the organization at large. Leadership and organizational culture influence each other. The organizational culture reveals the leadership styles of those leading the organization. It also shows that the culture influences the type of leadership, and the type of leadership influences the culture. According to Boyle 2008, “…fundamentally, it is implementing effective culture management policies in a manageable way for organisations that falls within the remit of leadership in these organisations.” Schein (2004) suggests that culture and leadership are conceptually intertwined. This is supported by O’Farrell (2006) in his analysis of the Australian public service, where he concludes that ‘statements of values, codes of conduct, principles of public service management and so on set out in rules and regulation are simply rhetoric - or what we now call as pirational statements. Without leadership that is what they will ever be, rhetoric. It is our job as administrators, managers and leaders to turn them into reality’ (O’Farrell, 2006. p.8). Organizational culture can be used to determine the effectiveness of communication, and vice versa. The effectiveness of organizational communication can be derived from an organization's culture. The flow of information vertically from the managers to the subordinates, and horizontally across the same department levels, is determined by the organizational culture. John Girard and JoAnn Girard 2010 in their conclusions on OC demonstrated that organizational culture is an essential piece to life of an organization. It needs adjustment and alignment in order to produce avenues towards knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing will bring about a specific and superior competitive advantage once it is based on the correct culture; one based on honest and trust. CEOs like Bob Buckman of Bulab Holdings, Inc. and Bill Gates of Microsoft knew this before they began their journey towards developing a knowledge sharing organization. Buckman, Gates, and many others have seen an enormous return on their investment to make their organizations more aligned with what the customer wants and expects.

21st Century Views:

Organization culture can facilitate or inhibit change in an organization. Cultures change when an organization discovers, invents or develops solutions to problems it faces. In order to survive organizations and their cultures must continuously evolve and change. Environmental and internal forces can stimulate the need for organization change. Environmental conditions prompting change include market forces, economic crises, political and regulatory forces, changes in law, societal developments, global competition, demographic trends and technological changes. Internal forces include decisions within the company originating from top executives and managers in a top-down direction or originating from line employees or labour unions in a bottom-up direction. For a successful change or a successful organization, an organization must focus on the following three important issues in organization culture: ethics; diversity of employees and leadership behaviour. Managers and leaders must use good leadership practices to be sure to develop, reward and “cement” ethical practices and positive ways of working with diversity into the organization culture. “Be the change you want to see in the world”. (Wickasana 2011, Slideshare)

Presentation on OC and Management by Wicaksana Seta 2011: Slideshare on Organization Culture and Change Management

High performing cultures in the future will, according to advisers, be able to cope with constant change, be customer-focused, and amoeba-like. Accountability for performance will be devolved deep inside the organization and those at the top will demonstrate markedly different leadership styles than are generally valued today. (HR Intelligence 2006) While the right culture may be a necessary condition for organizational success, it is by no means a sufficient condition. An important challenge for managers is to determine what the most effective culture is for their organization and, when necessary, how to change the organizational culture effectively. (Baker 2002) Pattison and Williamson made an interesting conclusion on the impact of new technologies on OC- “Culture, structure and management styles are fundamental characteristics of any organization. As new technologies are introduced into organizations adjustments must be made to these characteristics if the organization is to evolve“. Reliance on technology alone cannot ensure a successful organization, only when organizations marry technology with human endeavour and a client-oriented focus will the organization be well placed to survive well into the 21st century. The authors conclude,

"...coupled with the introduction of technological changes must come changes in organizational culture, structure and leadership and management styles, ......"

Atieno, Eunice What Conclusions Can Be Drawn From Organizational Culture? [Online]. Retrieved from: [Accessed 3 May 2013]
Baker, Kathryn A. (2002) Organizational Culture [Online]. 8 June 2002. Retrieved from: //‎ [Accessed 4 May 2013]
Bakiev, Erlan (2012) Organizational Culture Theory [Online]. Zirve University, Spring 2012. Retrieved from: [Accessed 03 May 2013]
Boyle Richard Orla O’Donnell (2008) Understanding and Managing Organisational Culture [Online]. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration. Retrieved from: [Accessed 3 May 2013]
Girard, John P. and Girard JoAnn (2010) Social Knowledge [Online]. IGI Global, 31 December 2010, p 125. Retrieved from: [Accessed 3 May 2013]
Google (2009) Google Culture [Online]. Google, Video, 26 October 2009. Retrieved from: [Accessed 4 May 2013]
Hofstede, Geert. Organizational Culture and Change Management [Online]. The Hofstede Centre. Retrieved from: [Accessed 03 May 2013]
Hr Intelligence (2006) Culture Change: Conclusions And Key Learning Points: Executive Summary [Online]. Optima Media Group. Retrieved from: [Accessed 3 May 2013]
Johnson, Gerry (1988) Rethinking Incrementalism, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 9, pp. 75–91
McGraw-HilI, Irwin and McShane, Von Glinow (2010) Organizational Behaviour [Online]. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Retrieved from: [[[Accessed|]][[[Accessed|[Accessed]] 3 May 2013]
Organizational Cuture (2007), Definition of Organizational Culture [Online]. Organizational Culture. Retrieved from: [Accessed 03 May 2013]
O’Farrell, G. (2006) Cultures and Values in the Queensland Public Service, Speech presented at the Queensland Regional Heads Forum Annual Business Conference, Conrad Hotel, Broadbeach, 25 May 2006. Retrieved from: [Accessed 4 May 2013]
Pattison Liz and Williamson Vicki, Organizational Culture, Structures And Styles: The Impact Of New Technologies [Online]. Perth: Liz Pattison Pty Ltd/Curtin University of Technology Library. Retrieved from:'92/295-pat.htm [Accessed 3 May 2013]
Schein, E.H.(1990) Innovative cultures and adaptive organisations, Sri Lanka Journal of Development Administration, Vol. 7, Issue 2, pp 9-39.
[[/wiki/Edgar_Schein|Shein, Edgar__]] (1992). Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. p. 9
Schein, E.H.(2004) Organizational Culture and Leadership, Third edition, San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.
Stakes, Richard (2010) Perceptions of Organisational Culture: A Case Study Set Within the Context of Recent Developments in Higher Education [Online]. Thesis, Faculty of Social Sciences, Durham University, 8 June 2010. Retrievd from:; [Accessed 02 May 2013]
Training Point (2010) It’s all about culture., 16 June 2010. Retrieved from: [Accessed 4 May 2013]
Watson, T.J. (2006) Organising and Managing Work, UK: Pearson Education Limited.
Wicaksana, Seta (2011) Organizational Culture and Change Management [Online]. PowerPoint Presentation, 22 June 2011, Humanika Consulting. Retrieved from:
[Accessed 6 May 2013]

Recommendation for Further Reading:
Alvesson, Mats (2002) Understanding Organizational Culture [Online] Sage Publications, 2 January 2002. Retrieved from: [Accessed 3 May 2013]
Boyle Richard Orla O’Donnell (2008) Understanding and Managing Organisational Culture [Online]. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration. Retrieved from: [Accessed 3 May 2013]

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