Leadership & Organizational Behavior Chapter 14 Summary Organizational Culture Organizational culture consists of the values and assumptions shared within an organization. It defines what is important and unimportant in the company and, consequently, directs everyone in the organization toward the “right way” of doing things. Elements of Organizational Culture In the context of organizational culture, values are discussed as shared values, which are values that people within the organization or work unit have in common and place near the top of their hierarchy of values.
Organizational culture also consists of shared assumptions, a deeper element that some experts believe is the essence of corporate culture. Shared assumptions are nonconscious, taken-for- granted perceptions or ideal prototypes of behavior that are considered the correct way to think and act toward problems and opportunities. Content of Organizational Culture ? The relative ordering of values. • A few dominant values • Example: Dell efficiency and competitiveness ? Problems with measuring org culture Oversimplifies diversity of possible values • Ignore shared assumptions • Adopts an “integration” perspective ? An organization’s culture is fuzzy: • Diverse subcultures (“fragmentation”) • Values exist within individuals, not work units Organizational Culture Profile Dimensions and Characteristics • Innovation: Experimenting, opportunity seeking, risk taking, few rules, low cautiousness • Stability: Predictability, security, rule-oriented • Respect for people: Fairness, tolerance Outcome orientation: Action oriented, high expectations, results oriented • Attention to detail: Precise, analytic • Team orientation: Collaboration, people-oriented • Aggressiveness: Competitive, low emphasis on social responsibility Organizational Subcultures ? Dominant culture — most widely shared values and assumptions ? Subcultures • Located throughout the organization • Can enhance or oppose (countercultures) firm’s dominant culture ? Two functions of countercultures: provide surveillance and critique, ethics • source of emerging values Artifacts are the observable symbols and signs of an organization’s culture, such as the way visitors are greeted, the organization’s physical layout, and how employees are rewarded Artifacts: Stories and Legends ? Social prescriptions of desired (undesired) behavior ? Provides a realistic human side to expectations ? Most effective stories and legends: • Describe real people • Assumed to be true • Known throughout the organization • Are prescriptive
Rituals are the programmed routines of daily organizational life that dramatize an organization’s culture. Ceremonies are more formal artifacts than rituals. Ceremonies are planned activities conducted speci fically for the benefit of an audience. Artifacts: Organizational Language ? Words used to address people, describe customers, etc. ? Leaders use phrases and special vocabulary as cultural symbols ? Language also found in subcultures Artifacts: Physical Structures/Symbols ? Building structure — may shape and reflect culture Office design conveys cultural meaning: (Furniture, office size, wall hangings) Potential Benefits and Contingencies of Culture Strength A strong corporate culture potentially increases the company’s success by serving three important functions: • Control system. Organizational culture is a deeply embedded form of social control that influences employee decisions and behavior. Culture is pervasive and operates nonconsciously. • Social glue. Organizational culture is the “social glue” that bonds people together and makes them feel part of the organizational experience.
Employees are motivated to internalize the organization’s dominant culture because it fulfills their need for social identity. • Sense making. Organizational culture assists the sense-making process. It helps employees to understand what goes on and why things happen in the company. Adaptive culture is an organizational culture in which employees are receptive to change, including the ongoing alignment of the organization to its environment and continuous improvement of internal processes.
Bicultural audit is a process of diagnosing cultural relations between companies and determining the extent to which cultural clashes will likely occur. Strategies for Merging Different Organizational Cultures • Assimilation: Acquired company embraces acquiring firm’s cultural values • Deculturation: Acquiring firm imposes its culture on unwilling acquired firm • Integration: Cultures combined into a new composite culture • Separation: Merging companies remain separate with their own culture Changing/Strengthening Organizational Culture Actions of Founders/Leaders: Organization’s culture sometimes reflects the founder’s personality, Transformational Leaders can reshape culture – organizational change practices. • Aligning Artifacts: Artifacts keep culture in place, e. g. , building structure, communicating stories, transferring culture carriers • Introducing Culturally Consistent Rewards: Rewards are powerful artifacts – reinforce culturally – consistent behavior • Attracting, Selecting, Socializing Employees: Attraction-selection-attrition theory, Socialization practices
Attraction-Selection-Attrition: a theory which states that organizations have a natural tendency to attract, select, and retain people with values and personality characteristics that are consistent with the organization’s character, resulting in a more homogeneous organization and a stronger culture • Attraction – applicants self-select and weed out companies based on compatible values • Selection – applicants selected based on values congruent with organization’s culture • Attrition – employee quite or are forced out when their values oppose company values Along with their use of attraction, selection, and attrition, organizations rely on organizational socialization to strengthen their cultures. Organizational socialization: The process by which individuals learn the values, expected behaviors, and social knowledge necessary to assume their roles in the organization. Stages of Socialization • Preemployment Socialization: Think back to the months and weeks before you began working in a new job (or attending a new school).
You actively searched for information about the company, formed expectations about working there, and felt some anticipation about fitting into that environment • Encounter: The first day on the job typically marks the beginning of the encounter stage of organizational socialization. This is the stage in which newcomers test their prior expectations with the perceived realities. • Role Management Role management: Actually begins during preemployment socialization, but it is most active as employees make the transition from newcomers to insiders. They strengthen relationships with co-workers and supervisors, practice new role behaviors, and adopt attitudes and values consistent with their new positions and the organization.
Role management also involves resolving the conflicts between work and nonwork activities Improving Organizational Socialization, one potentially effective way to improve the socialization process is through: • Realistic job preview (RJP): a method of improving organizational socialization in which job applicants are given abalance of positive and negative information about the job and work context • Socialization agents: Supervisors tend to provide technical information, performance feedback, and information about job duties. Co-workers are important socialization agents because they are easily accessible, can answer questions when problems arise, and serve as role models for appropriate behavior.