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For BEYONG HORIZON Column

Organizational Culture and Work Related Values


Suhail Iqbal, PE, PgMP, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMI-ACP, CAPM, PME, MCT, PRINCE2 Practitioner

For project management professionals, organizational culture is one of the


commonly known enterprise environmental factors, but little do we know and
understand its dynamics. The new dimension to organizational culture is just
shedding light on it from a different angle of evolving work values and ethics. We do
understand that whichever organization we are running our project under, has
profound influence on the working and management of projects. The behaviors,
beliefs, thoughts, and even the work values of workers, project team members and
stakeholders are greatly influenced by the culture they are working in.
Organizational culture is not always something we are helpless about. Although
some aspects of culture are self-evolving and spontaneous but we can still change
the culture of an organization to make its functions more effective and efficient.Deal
and Kennedy advocated that organizational development should be combined with
organizational culture effectively, in order to make people work efficiently.
To understand organizational culture better, we must know its aims and functions.
Through culture, organizations create a feeling of identity among employees and
their commitment to the organization. It also creates the competitive advantage to
enable employees to well understand acceptable behaviors and social system
stability. Organizational culture can offer a shared system of meanings, which forms
the basis of communication and mutual understanding. Therefore organizational
culture is playing an indirect role in influencing behaviors. This is accomplished
through various managerial tools like strategic direction, goals, tasks, technology,
structure, communication, decision making, cooperation and interpersonal
relationships.
Themes of Organizational Culture

A Learned Entity. It may seem like fixed set of rules and a way of working
in the organization, but culture is actually a learned entity. A new employee
would learn how to behave and act in the organization to survive, therefore
culture perpetuates organizational survival and growth.

A Belief System. A pattern of shared beliefs and values that give members
of an institution meaning ,and provide them with the rules for behavior in
their organization. Some of the beliefs are fundamental in nature and they
guide the overall nature of behavior in the organization whereas some beliefs
are of daily nature, like rules and feelings about everyday behavior.

A Strategy. Any kind of strategy formulation is a cultural activity as any


change to culture will happen within strategic framework.

Mental Programming. Organizational culture is the collective programming


of mind, which distinguishes members of one category of people from
another.

Influence of Organizational Culture


Organizational culture is what determines the way members of an organization
interact with one another and outsiders (Malhotra, 2011). Culture is perceived to
influence employee behavior and organizational outcomes significantly, as it can
make the difference between success and failure for a firm (Wright & Noe, 1996).
Scheins (1992) organizational culture theory suggests that organizational culture is
a learning outcome of a groups experiences, and therefore it is largely an
unconscious process.
Organizational culture is a potent determinant of performance. Project Managers
could leverage on culture as a key organizational resource towards achieving high
levels of effectiveness. Improvement in organizational culture leads to better
performance by Projects. Culture variables to be of particularly influential value in
driving the performance of Projects include:

outcome orientation;
commitment of members to a common set of values,
beliefs and philosophy;
involvement of employees in decision-making;
individual autonomy;
people-orientation; and,
customer focus.

New Work Related Values


Companies have to learn and internalize the new rules of the game, where
employees have to change from:

Provider to facilitator;
Size and scale to speed and responsiveness Control by rules and hierarchy to
control by vision and shared values;
Information closely guarded to information sharing;
Need for certainty to tolerance for ambiguity;
Organizational rigidity to permanent flexibility;
Corporate independence to Interdependence;
Reactive to proactive;
Internal focus to focus on competitive environment;

Consensus to constructive contention;


Entitlement culture to rewarding knowledge based performance culture;
Competitive advantage to collaborative advantage and above all learning to
love turbulence.

Authors Profile

Suhail Iqbal, PE, PgMP, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMI-ACP, CAPM, PME, MCT,
PRINCE2 Practitioner
Project Management Trainer, Consultant and Researcher with an experience of over 30 years, last 10
years specifically dedicated to the discipline of project management. Had been involved in development
of OPM3 2nd Ed, PMBOK Guide 4th & 5th Ed, Program Management Standard 1st & 2nd Ed and Portfolio
Management Standard 1st & 2nd Ed. Served as PMI Islamabad Pakistan Chapter President, Component
Mentor Asia, PMI Member Leadership Institute Advisory Group, Chairman APFPM, and Vice President
Education Islamabad ToastMasters Club. Currently Regional Director PRMIA Pakistan Chapter, Vice
Chair Mensa Pakistan and Director-at-Large with PMI Pakistan Islamabad Chapter. Associated with PMI
EdSIG, Consulting SIG and many other Specific Interest Groups. Research Scholar at ISGI ESC Lille,
France with over 12 publications to his credit. Specialize in Organizational Maturity, OPM3 and
Creative Leadership.