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OB Organizational Culture
Terms in this set (40)
*) Culture for some
organizations, can be a major barrier to change.
*) The set of values, ideas, attitudes, and norms of behavior that is learned and shared among the members of an organization.
*) refers to a system of shared meaning held by members
that distinguishes the organization from other organizations.
Seven primary characteristics seem to capture the essence of an organization's culture:
Innovation and risk taking.
Attention to detail.
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.
*) The degree to which management focuses on results
or outcomes rather than on the techniques and processes used to
*) The degree to which management decisions take into
consideration the effect of outcomes on people within the organization.
*) The degree to which work activities are organized
around teams rather than individuals.
*) The degree to which people are aggressive and competitive
rather than easygoing.
*) The degree to which organizational activities emphasize maintaining
the status quo in contrast to growth.
Other research has conceptualized culture into four different types based on competing values:
*) One is the collaborative and cohesive clan.
*) Two is the innovative and adaptable adhocracy.
*) Three is the controlled and consistent hierarchy.
*) Four is the competitive and customer focused market.
"studies found that job attitudes were especially positive in clan-based cultures, innovation was especially strong in market cultures, and financial performance was especially good in market cultures."
Culture is Descriptive Term
*) Organizational culture is concerned with employees' perception of the characteristics of the culture.
*) This is important because it differentiates culture from job satisfaction.
*) Research on organizational culture has sought to measure how employees see their organization:
- Does it encourage teamwork?
- Does it reward innovation?
- Does it stifle initiative?
*) In contrast, job satisfaction seeks to measure how employees feel about the organization's expectations, reward practices, and the like.
*) Although the two terms have overlapping characteristics, keep in mind that organizational culture is descriptive, whereas job satisfaction is evaluative.
In Summary: It differs from job satisfaction
*) Job satisfaction is evaluative.
*) Organizational culture is descriptive.
Do Organizations Have Uniform Cultures?
*) Organizational culture represents a common perception the organization's members
*) We should therefore expect individuals with different backgrounds or at different levels in the organization to describe its culture in similar terms.
*) Most large organizations
have a dominant culture and numerous subcultures.
*) If organizations were composed only of numerous subcultures, organizational culture as an independent variable would be significantly less powerful.
*) expresses the core values a majority of members share and that give the organization its distinct personality.
*) tend to develop in large
organizations to reflect common problems or experiences members face in the same department or location.
Cultures can be positive or negative for organizations.
*) Boundary-defining role: it creates distinctions between one
organization and others.
*) Conveys a sense of identity for members
*) Facilitates the generation of commitment
*) Enhances the stability of the social system: Culture is
the social glue that helps hold the organization together by providing standards for what employees should say and do.
*) Serves as a sense-making and control mechanism
*) Guides and shapes attitudes and behavior of employees
Compare the functional
and dysfunctional effects of
organizational culture on
people and the
*) Culture defines the rules of the game.
*) Today's trend toward decentralized organizations makes culture more important
than ever, but ironically it also makes establishing a strong culture more difficult.
When formal authority and control systems are reduced, culture's shared meaning can point everyone in the same direction.
*) employees organized in teams may show greater allegiance to their team and its values than to the organization as a whole.
*) In virtual organizations, the lack of frequent face-to-face contact makes establishing a common set of norms very difficult.
*) Strong leadership that communicates frequently about common goals
and priorities is especially important in innovative organizations.
*) Individual-organization "fit"—that is, whether the applicant's or employee's attitudes and behavior are compatible with the culture—strongly influences who gets a job offer, a favorable performance review, or a promotion.
Culture as a Liability
*) Culture can enhance organizational commitment and increase the consistency
of employee behavior, clearly benefits to an organization.
*) Culture is valuable to
employees too, because it spells out how things are done and what's important.
But we shouldn't ignore the potentially dysfunctional aspects of culture, especially
a strong one, on an organization's effectiveness.
Culture as a liability:
*) Barriers to Change
*) Barriers to Diversity
*) Barriers to Acquisitions and Mergers
*) a condition that occurs when an organization takes on a life of its own, apart from any of its members, and acquires immortality.
*) it is valued for itself and not for the goods or services it produces
, it takes on a life of its own, apart from its founders or members.
*) It doesn't go out of business even if its original goals are no longer relevant
*) institutional practices are common in police departments, fire departments, and other organizations that value rule
following and order.
*) Most research suggests high levels of institutional practices
encourage person-organization fit and high levels of commitment, whereas individual
practices produce more role innovation.
Barriers to Change
*) when the shared values are not in agreement with those that will further the organization's effectiveness.
This is most likely to occur when the environment is dynamic and where there is rapid change, an entrenched culture may no longer be appropriate.
Barriers to Diversity
*) Hiring new employees who differ from the majority in
race, age, gender, disability, or other characteristics creates a paradox:
*) Diverse behaviors and strengths are likely to diminish in strong cultures as people attempt to fit in.
Strong culture can be liabilities when they effectively eliminate the unique strengths that people of different backgrounds bring to the organization.
Strong cultures can also be liabilities when they support the institutional bias or become insensitive to people who are different.
Barriers to acquisitions and Mergers
*) Cultural compatibility has become the primary concern.
*) All things being equal, whether the acquisition actually works seems to have more to do with how well the two organizations' cultures match up.
"Mergers have an unusually high failure rate, and it's always because of people issues, in other words conflicting organizational cultures."
How a Culture Begins?
*) An organization's current customs, traditions, and general way of doing things are largely due to what it has done before and how successful it was in doing it.
*) The source of an organization's culture is founders who have a vision of what the organization
should be, and the firm's small size makes it easy to impose that vision on all members.
Culture creation occurs in three ways:
*) First, founders hire and keep only employees who think and feel the same way they do.
*) Second, they indoctrinate
and socialize these employees to their way of thinking and feeling. *) And finally, the founders' own behavior encourages employees to identify with them and
internalize their beliefs, values, and assumptions.
- When the organization succeeds,
the founders' personality becomes embedded in the culture.
How we keep culture alive?
*) The selection process, performance evaluation criteria, training and development activities, and promotion procedures ensure those hired fit in with the culture, reward those who support it, and penalize (or even expel) those who challenge it.
*) Three forces play a particularly important part in sustaining a culture: selection practices, the actions of top management, and socialization methods.
*) The explicit goal of the selection process is to identify and hire individuals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully.
*) identifies people whose
values are essentially consistent with at least a good portion of the organization's.
*) Selection also provides information to applicants.
*) Those who perceive
a conflict between their values and those of the organization can remove themselves from the applicant pool.
*) Allowing employer or applicant to avoid a mismatch and sustaining an organization's
culture by selecting out those who might attack or undermine its core values.
*) The actions of top management also have a major impact on the organization's culture.
*) senior executives
establish norms that filter through the organization about, for instance,
whether risk taking is desirable, how much freedom managers give employees, what is appropriate dress, and what actions earn pay raises, promotions, and
*) A process that adapts
employees to the organization's
*) No matter how good a job the organization does in recruiting
and selection, new employees need help adapting to the prevailing culture.
*) learn about the organization through an ongoing social networking application that links new workers with more established members
of the firm and helps ensure that culture is transmitted over time.
*) socialization as a process with three stages: prearrival, encounter, and metamorphosis.
*) This process has an impact on the new employee's work productivity, commitment to the organization's objectives, and eventual decision to stay with the organization.
*) The more management relies on formal, collective, sequential, fixed, and serial socialization programs and emphasize divestiture, the more likely newcomers' differences will be stripped away and replaced by
standardized predictable behaviors.
*) Programs that are informal, individual, random, variable,
and disjunctive and emphasize investiture are more likely to give newcomers an innovative sense of their role and methods of working.
*) Creative fields, such as research and development, advertising, and filmmaking, rely on these individual practices.
*) The three-part entry socialization process is complete when new members have internalized and accepted the norms of the organization and their work group, are confident in their competence, and feel trusted and valued by their
*) They understand the system—not only their own tasks but the rules, procedures, and informally accepted practices as well.
*) Finally, they know what is
expected of them and what criteria will be used to measure and evaluate their work.
*) The period of learning in the socialization process that occurs before a new employee joins the organization.
*) recognizes that each individual arrives with a set of values, attitudes, and expectations about both the work and the organization.
*) What people know before they join the organization, and how proactive their personality is,
are critical predictors of how well they adjust to a new culture.
*) use the selection process to inform prospective employees about the organization as a
We've also seen how the selection process ensures the inclusion of the "right type" those who will fit in.
*) success depends on the degree
to which the aspiring member has correctly anticipated the expectations and desires of those in the organization in charge of selection.
*) The stage in the
socialization process in which a new employee sees what the organization is really like and confronts the possibility that expectations and reality may diverge.
*) confronts the possibility that expectations about the job, co-workers, the boss, and the organization in general may differ from reality.
*) Proper recruiting and selection should significantly reduce that outcome, along with encouraging friendship ties in the organization newcomers are more committed when friends and co- workers
help them "learn the ropes
*) Most research suggests there are two major "bundles"
of socialization practices.
How Employees Learn Culture
Culture is transmitted to employees through
*) Material symbols, and
*) Stories such as these circulate through many organizations, anchoring the present in the past and legitimating current practices.
*) They typically include narratives about the organization's founders, rule breaking, rags-to riches
successes, reductions in the workforce, relocation of employees, reactions to past mistakes, and organizational coping.
*) Employees also create
their own narratives about how they came to either fit or not fit with the organization during the process of socialization, including first days on the job, early interactions with others, and first impressions of organizational
*) are repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the key values of the organization—what goals are most important and which
people are important and which are expendable.
*) The layout of corporate headquarters, the types of automobiles top executives
are given, and the presence or absence of corporate aircraft are a few examples.
*) Others include the size of offices, the elegance of
furnishings, executive perks, and attire.
*) These convey to employees who is important,
the degree of egalitarianism top management desires, and the kinds of behavior that are appropriate, such as risk taking, conservative, authoritarian, participative, individualistic, or social.
*) Many organizations and subunits within them use language to help members
identify with the culture, attest to their acceptance of it, and help preserve it.
*) Unique terms describe equipment, officers, key individuals, suppliers, customers,
or products that relate to the business. New employees may at first be overwhelmed by acronyms and jargon, that, once assimilated, act as a common denominator to unite members of a given culture or subculture.
How can management create a more ethical culture?
*) The organizational culture most likely to shape high ethical standards among its members is high in risk tolerance, low to moderate in aggressiveness, and
focused on means as well as outcomes.
*) If the culture is strong and supports high ethical standards, it should have a very powerful and positive influence on employee behavior.
Be a visible role model. Employees will look to the actions of top
management as a benchmark for appropriate behavior. Send a positive
● Communicate ethical expectations. Minimize ethical ambiguities by sharing an organizational code of ethics that states the organization's primary
values and ethical rules employees must follow.
● Provide ethical training. Set up seminars, workshops, and training programs to reinforce the organization's standards of conduct, clarify what practices are permissible, and address potential ethical dilemmas.
● Visibly reward ethical acts and punish unethical ones. Appraise managers on how their decisions measure up against the organization's code of
ethics. Review the means as well as the ends. Visibly reward those who act ethically and conspicuously punish those who don't.
● Provide protective mechanisms. Provide formal mechanisms so employees can discuss ethical dilemmas and report unethical behavior without fear of reprimand.
These might include ethical counselors, ombudsmen, or ethical officers.
Describe a positive
*) There is a trend today for organizations to attempt to create a positive organizational culture.
*) A culture that emphasizes building on employee strengths, rewards more than punishes, and emphasizes individual vitality and growth.
What Is Spirituality?
*) The recognition that people have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community.
*) ?"Workplace spirituality is not about organized religious practices. It is not about God or theology. Workplace spirituality recognizes that people have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community.
*) Organizations that promote a spiritual culture recognize that
people seek to find meaning and purpose in their work and desire to connect with other human beings as part of a community.
*) from job design (designing work that is meaningful to
employees) to transformational leadership (leadership practices that emphasize
a higher-order purpose and self-transcendent goals) are well matched to
the concept of organizational spirituality.
Show how national culture may affect the way organizational culture is transported to a different country?
Organizational cultures often reflect national culture.
*) Organizational cultures often reflect national culture.
*) One of the primary things U.S. managers can do is to be culturally sensitive.
*) U.S. employees are not the only ones who need to be culturally sensitive.
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