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Defination Cultural Control Mechanisms Nature of organisational culture

Types of Organizational Culture

Public- and private-sector organizational culture Literature review Sectoral Comparison of Organizational Culture Scope of improvement conclusion References


A single definition of organizational culture has proven to be very elusive. No one definition of organizational culture has emerged in the literature. One of the issues involving culture is that it is defined both in terms of its causes and effect. For example, these are the two ways in which cultures often defined. 1. Outcomes- Defining culture as a manifest pattern of behavior- Many people use the term culture to describe patterns of cross individual behavioral consistency For example, when people say that culture is The way we do things around here, they are defining consistent way is in which people perform tasks, solve problems, resolve conflicts, treat customers, and treat employees. 2. Process- Defining culture as a set of mechanisms creating cross individual behavioral consistency- In this case culture is defined as the informal values, norms, and beliefs that control how individuals and groups in an organization interact with each other and with people outside the organization. Functions of organizational culture 1. Behavioral control 2. Encourages stability 3. Provides source of identity What Types of Behavior Does Culture Control? Using the outcome approach, cultures are described in terms of the following variables: Innovation versus Stability- The degree to which organizational members are encouraged to be innovative, creative and to take risks. Strategic versus Operational Focus- The degree to which the members of the management team focus on the long term big picture versus attention to detail. Outcome versus Process Orientation- The degree to which management focuses on outcomes, goals and results rather than on techniques, processes, or methods used to achieve these results. Task Versus Social Focus- The relative emphasis on effect of decisions on organizational members and relationships over task accomplishment at all costs Team versus Individual orientation- The degree to which work activities are organized around teams rather than individuals

Customer Focus versus Cost Control- The degree to which managers and employees are concerned about customer satisfaction and Service rather than minimizing costs Internal verses External Orientation- The degree to which the organization focuses on and is adaptive to changes in its environment Cultural Control Mechanisms How does organizational culture control the behavior of organizational members? If consistent behavioral patterns are the outcomes or products of a culture, what is it that causes many people to act in a similar manner? There are four basic ways in which a culture, or more accurately members of a reference group representing a culture, creates high levels of cross individual behavioral consistency. There are: Social Norms Social norms are the most basic and most obvious of cultural control mechanisms. In its basic form, a social norm is simply a behavioral expectation that people will act in a certain way in certain situations. Norms (as opposed to rules) are enforced by other members of a reference group by the use of social sanctions. Norms have been categorized by level. A. Peripheral norms are general expectations that make interactions easier and more pleasant. Because adherence of these norms is not essential to the functioning of the group, violation of these norms general results in mild social sanctions. B. Relevant norms encompass behaviors that are important to group functioning. Violation of these norms often results in non-inclusion in important group functions and activities C. Pivotal norms represent behaviors that are essential to effective group functioning. Individuals violating these norms are often subject to expulsion from the group. Shared Values As a cultural control mechanism the keyword in shared values is shared. The issue is not whether or not a particular individual's behavior can best be explained and/or predicted by his or her values, but rather how widely is that value shared among organizational members, and more importantly, how responsible was the organization/culture in developing that value within the individual. What is a value? Any phenomenon that is some degree of worth to the members of giving groups: The conception of the desirable that establishes a general direction of action rather than a specific objective. Values are the conscious, affective desires or wants of people that guide their behavior How are values formed/developed within individuals? We like to think that our values are unique to us and an essential part of who we are. The critical question here is, how much of our values are derived from our reference group affiliation? We find that for most people, their values are generally consistent with the values of the reference group in which they were socialized. There are two kinds of values: A. Instrumental values represent the means an individual prefers for achieving important ends.

B. Terminal values are preferences concerning ends to be achieved. When an individual can no long answer the question of These components of culture have a well defined linkage with each other which binds a culture and makes change in any one of the components difficult. However, change in any one of these components causes chain reactions amongst others. Their interrelationship is presented in Fig. 1.1 Culture is a very powerful force at the workplace, which is consciously and deliberately cultivated and is passed on to the incoming employees. It reflects the true nature and personality of an organisation. There are various myths about organisational culture. Some of them are presented here along with the counter arguments. 1. Organisational culture is same as organisational climate : In management literature there is often ambiguity about the two concepts organisational culture and organisational climate. As explained earlier, organisational culture is a macro phenomenon which refers to the patterns of beliefs, assumptions, values, and behaviours reflecting commonality in people working together. However, organisational climate is a micro phenomenon and reflects how employees in an organisation feel about the characteristics and quality of culture like morale, goodwill, employee relations, job satisfaction, and commitment at the organisational, department or unit level. It refers to the psychological environment in which behaviour of organisational members occurs. It is a relatively persistent set of perceptions held by organisational members about the organisational culture. Another viewpoint about climate is that various variables get subsumed under the concept of climate, whereas has unique indicators like symbols, rites, myths, and stories. 2. Culture is same as groupthink : Since culture refers to shared assumptions and beliefs,it is likely to cause confusion. Groupthink refers to group members hiding any differences in how they feel and think and behave in a certain way. The phenomenon of groupthink is mostly used in a face to face situation when dealing with small groups. Culture, on the other hand, is a much larger phenomenon characterised by historical myths, symbols, beliefs, and artifacts. 3. Culture is same as organisation : Culture is a result of sustained interaction among people in organisations and exists commonly in thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of people. Organisations on the other hand, consist of a set of expectations and a system of reward and punishment substained by rules, regulations, and norms of behaviour. 4. Culture is a social structure : Social structures in various collectives exhibit tangible and specific ways in which people relate to one another overtly. However, culture operates on a system of unseen, abstract, and emotionally loaded forms which guide organisational members to deal with their physical and social needs.


The culture of an organisation may reflect in various forms adopted by the organisation. These could be :

The physical infrastructure Routine behaviour, langauge, ceremonies Gender equality, equity in payment Dominant values such as quality, efficiency and so on Philosophy that guides the organisations policies towards it employees and customers like customer first and customer is king, and the manner in which employees deal with customers.

Individually none of these connote organisational culture, however, together, they reflect organisational culture. Although organisational culture has common properties, it is found that large organisations have a dominant culture and a number of sub cultures. The core values shared by the majority of the organisational members constitute the dominant culture. Therefore, whenever one refers to the culture of an organisation one actually talks about the dominant culture of an organisation one actually talks about the dominant culture. Subcultures within an organisation are a set of shared understandings among members of one group/department/geographic operations. For example, the finance department of an organisation may have a sub culture which is unique to this department visavis other departments. This means that this department will not only have the core values of the organisations dominant culture but also some unique values. If an organisation does not have a dominant culture and is comprised only of various sub cultures, its effectiveness would be difficult to judge and there will be no consistency of behaviour among departments. Hence, the aspect of common or shared understanding is an essential component of organisational culture. Also, organisational culture exists at various levels. LEVELS OF ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE 1. At Level One the organisational culture can be observed in the form of physical objects, technology and other visible forms of behaviour like ceremonies and rituals. Though the culture would be visible in various forms, it would be only at the superficial level. For example, people may interact with one another but what the underlying feelings are or whether there is understanding among them would require probing. 2. At Level Two there is greater awareness and internalisation of cultural values. People in the organisation try solutions of a problem in ways which have been tried and tested earlier. If the group is successful there will be shared perception of that success, leading to cognitive changes turning perception into values and beliefs. 3. Level Three represents a process of conversion. When the group repeatedly observes that the method that was tried earlier works most of the time, it becomes the preferred solution and gets converted into underlying assumptions or dominant value orientation. The conversion process has both advantages. The advantages are that the dominant value orientation guides behaviour, however at the same time it may influence objective and rational thinking. Types of Organizational Culture


Organisational culture can vary in a number of ways. It is these variances that differentiate one organisation from the others. Some of the bases of the differentiation are presented below :

1. Strong vs weak culture : Organisational culture can be labelled as strong or weak based on sharedness of the core values among organisational members and the degree of commitment the members have to these core values. The higher the sharedness and commitment, the stronger the culture increases the possibility of behaviour consistency amongst its members, while a weak culture opens avenues for each one of the members showing concerns unique to themselves. 2. Soft vs hard culture : Soft work culture can emerge in an organisation where the organisation pursues multiple and conflicting goals. In a soft culture the employees choose to pursue a few objectives which serve personal or sectional interests. A typical example of soft culture can be found in a number of public sector organisations in India where the management feels constrained to take action against employees to maintain high productivity. The culture is welfare oriented; people are held accountable for their mistakes but are not rewarded for good performance. Consequently, the employees consider work to be less important than personal and social obligations. Sinha (1990) has presented a case study of a public sector fertilizer company which was established in an industrially backward rural area to promote employment generation and industrial activity. Under pressure from local communities and the government, the company succumbed to overstaffing, converting mechanised operations into manual operations, payment of overtime, and poor discipline. This resulted in huge financial losses (up to 60 percent of the capital) to the company. 3. Formal vs informal culture : The work culture of an organisation, to a large extent, is influenced by the formal components of organisational culture. Roles, responsibilities, accountability, rules and regulations are components of formal culture. They set the expectations that the organisation has from every member and indicate the consequences if these expectations are not fullfilled

Public- and private-sector organizational culture

Introduction In the present scenario, industrial managers are well aware about the need to elicit the best efforts from employees towards the achievement of organizational goals. With the steady increase in the number of multinational corporations, the nature of business in today.s global market require people of different nationalities and cultural background to work together. Therefore, to compete in the global market, it is important for the business managers to distinguish among values held in various cultures and imbibe them to stay in the complex

corporate culture. Organizational theorists and corporate leader have produced voluminous material on organizational culture and its offspring-symbol, language, ideology, belief, ritual, and myth (Pettigrew, 1979). Organizational culture one of the latest concepts in the field of management and organization theory has derived metaphorically from the idea of .cultivation of soil.. As human beings, we are continually activating the process of culturing, that is, producing and reproducing social realities in the ways that are liberating, inhibiting, puzzling, boring or exciting (Smircich, 1983). Kroeber and kluckhohn (1963) identified 164 different meanings of the term .culture. that have been used in anthropology and sociology. Business and industrial organizations are human organizations and just as in families, children absorb culture from their parents and/or other elders; employees in organizational settings absorb the culture from their managerial leaders and other seniors and/or peers. This implies that when individuals join an organization, they join the way of life or the culture of that organization. In addition, this organizational culture provides many opportunities for shared assumptions, priorities, meanings and values to the organization members. Top management people and management theorist have come to appreciate the power of organizational culture in guiding employee behaviour on the job within the company. A public sector organization is assumed to operate in a different way than a private sector organization. By implication, the attitudes and behaviors of employees of those two types of organizations have been contrasted. Also Public Administration scholars tend to assume that employees across public and private sector organizations behave in significantly different ways. The papers written by Murray (1975) and Rainey et al. (1976) even sparked a line of academic inquiry, addressing the question: in what ways do public and private sector organizations and the behavior of the people they employ differ significantly? In the ensuing years, numerous studies in this line have been published. Most of these studies have been carried out by scholars and practitioners who are rooted in Public Administration; almost no private-sector oriented management-and-organization scholars and journals paid attention to this question. Various variables have been examined in those scholarly comparisons over the years, ranging from sector and organizational characteristics (e.g. red tape and decision making practices) to 1 individual-level attitudes and behavior. Firmly established by now is the idea that significant organizational differences exist between both sectors. By implication, authors have assumed significant differences at the individual level, in both types of organizations. Yet there is (empirical) evidence that, at the individual level, sector does not matter (e.g. Baldwin 1991). LITERATURE REVIEW Over the years, many different interpretations and perceptions have come into play, and clear definitions delineating various types of public and private organizations had not yet been established (Fottler 1981: 2). This was partially attributed to the fact that many dimensions are buried in both concepts; for example, some are based on ownership, others are based on funding or the publics interest (Perry and Rainey 1988). Most authors on this definitional subject have embraced the idea that organizations can be placed on a continuum in which public- and private-sector organizations make up the ends; and that both types of 2 organizations constitute pure types of organizing. Since the aim of this study is to offer an accurate review of the systematically derived empirical findings at the individual level of the public-private comparisons obtained to date, the analysis conducted in this study will be 3 limited to these so called pure types: the public bureaucracy and the for-profit business firm. The underlying assumption is that the extremes of the continuum will show the differences (if any) very clearly, since they are assumed to be opposites. In the rest of this article, a governmental bureaucratic agency is referred to as a public-sector organization and the for6|Page

profit business firm is referred to as the prototypical private-sector organization. Both types of organizations differ fundamentally in terms of their funding, ownership and mode of governance (see Perry and Rainey 1988); the government agency/bureau is publicly funded and owned, while the for-profit enterprise/business firm is in private hands, privately funded 4 and guided or controlled by market forces. Two contrasting positions regarding public vs. private modes of organizing can be identified: (1) the idea that public bureaucracies differ from private business firms in important ways, which has coincided with the negative views of public bureaucracy in the popular culture and (2) the antidote, opposing this public-private distinction, thereby denouncing the harmful and misleading oversimplifications, aiming for replacing the typologies by sound empirical research (Rainey and Bozeman 2000: 448-449). Rainey and Bozeman concluded that both sides are correct in some respect and incorrect in others, as empirical evidence exists for both positions. Measure of organisation culture Organizational Philosophy - It is defined as the manifested core values practised in the industry as received by its employees. Group Norms . These are the set standards of behavior to be adhered to by the employees within their department. Team Work . It refers to the degree the employees perceive practices of mutual dependency between poor group members of the organization. Management Support . It refers to the extent to which superiors are accessible to their subordinates, to the extent superiors provide clear communication to their subordinates and to the extent to which superior accommodate new ideas of their subordinates. Organization of Work . It is defined as the degree to which superiors creates job objectives and performance expectations for their subordinates and provides challenging jobs to them. Reward System . It refers to the benefits that flow from the work including pay, promotion, status and other visible perquisites. Decision Making . It is defined as the degree to which decisions related to employee.s jobs are taken, after wider consultation with employees across the strata within the organization/department. Conflict Management . It refers to the degree to which employees are encouraged to speak up conflicts related to their life within the organization, without undue fear of being punished by superiors and to the extent to which superiors resolve conflicts within the organizations. Sectoral Comparison of Organizational Culture On the basis of dimensions of the culture though the differences do not seem to be much significant yet the data speak of reasonably performing culture in private sector. On all the eight dimensions of culture, score of the public sector organizations are lower when compared with the private sector organization, which reveals that in the private sector the culture is more open/ strong than in the public sector service organization. However, the overall organizational culture in the service sector can be considered more open/strong except the dimensions of reward and conflict management more particularly in the public sector. How may one interpret this lower level of organizational commitment of public sector employees with their higher motivation to serve the community? Clearly, their significantly higher need to serve their community does not necessarily translate into a high degree of commitment towards the organization that employs them. Previous research on organizational commitment supports the notion that public-sector employees may feel

attracted to and yet repelled by the organization at the same time (Balfour and Wechsler 1990). It may well be that only if a public-sector organization (or particular agency or team within it) is serving the needs of the community well the employees concerned feel a higher level of organizational commitment. This insight does not go against the other findings shown in this review; public-sector employees are not always a great fan of the entire organization that employs them. They tend to have a nuanced view of their employer; the great and almost blind loyalty that civil servants have had in the past is clearly not seen in the attitudinal findings presented here. Thus, it can be concluded on the basis of the current review that there are hardly behavioral or attitudinal type variables with which one could confirm the widely assumed sectordifference thesis at the individual level, as accumulation of empirical-research findings could hardly be ascertained. In part, this can be attributed to a number of shortcomings in the ways the single studies were conducted. Scope of improvement It is rightly observed that no matter how good the idea of a person may be, there is always a better one for the organizational decision-making. This comment is particularly important for service sector as the optimum utilization of human resources is the crux of organizational and individual excellence. Effective management implies that superiors develop and empower their subordinates by providing them with relevant information, training, support and feedback and by giving them adequate space to make decisions related to problems that come under their jurisdiction. The top management or the managers should never encourage inter-group rivalry within the employees union rather the top management should encourage the employees to bring out their conflicts into the open forum. It should give assurance to the employees that the conflicts will be resolved with their participation. The top management should also required to pay special attention to hold regular meetings with the office bearers and the committee member of the employees. union, so as to find out effective ways of checking indiscipline among the employees within the organization. The implementation of this suggestion is of vital importance to the survival and growth of the organizations. The employees ought to identify themselves with the purpose and philosophy of their organization. It may be seen that .celebration of significant events. could inspire the employees to be conscious and proud of the contributions they make to the organization. A few productive celebrations are mentioned there: (a) The employees recognize .Quality Circles. celebrations as symbolic acts of management support for innovative ideas and activities. The top management could distribute prizes to encourage and innovative quality circles members, in a public function within the organization. (b) Whenever some significant events such as the achievement of high sales target takes place, congratulatory celebration could be held in the organization. Such celebrations are seen as conveying a powerful message to the employees that the company recognizes and appreciates the contribution of its employees. Once this message passes around, the employees are likely to develop a great amount emotional sensitivity towards the organization. Organizational culture is an important predictor of employees. job performance, success, and organizational performance. Organizations having strong/open culture show better financial performance, and people share a set of core values created and nurtured by its leaders. Therefore, organizations should try to develop and maintain a strong/open culture by following certain practices such as recognition and promotion of individuals who perform their job well.

The custom of awarding those employees who have put in 15 years and 25 years of service in the organizations and conducting celebration for the retired employees could be organized meaningfully as a mark to recognize the contribution and loyalty of the employees. To sustain in the competitive environment, to overcome the technological complexities and to develop a performing organizational culture for present and future suitable Organizational Development programmes specifically tailored to the organizational needs and requirements should be organized on continuing basis. Conclusion The business milieu of future seem to witness mounting instability and to balance the local demands and global challenges the economies will have to rely more on the service sector due to its being the fastest growing sector witnessing an annual growth of 8% per year. In such a precarious, situation to sustain and be competitive the organizations will have to have performing organizational culture. As the interactive aggregate of common characteristics that influence a human group.s response to its environment, culture has strong links with organizational performance. However, the managers and the consultants should find it feasible to diagnose organizational culture through standardized survey procedure and effect appropriate culture changes to bring about the survival and growth of the organization as the organizational culture has been increasingly thought of as a variable solution for many complex problems that beset organizations. The service sector organizations aspiring to be market leader must endeavour to improve and enhance their positive and performing culture.


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