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Organizational Culture

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Ingrid Mignon

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of Organizational Culture

What is organizational culture?
Let's share experiences!
A collective phenomenon
Socially constructed
An historical background
Hard to detect
Hard to understand
Visible cultural aspects
Non-visible or verbal cultural aspects
Why is it important to study organizational culture?
During the 70s, the beginning of the success of Japanese companies:

Could organizational culture explain the success of corporations?
Organizational culture can be used as an instrument.
A strong culture can lead to a higher trust: between leader and followers AND between employees
Better cooperation and coordination
A feeling of belonging
MOTIVATION (cf. Maslow, 1954)
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Risks of strong organizational cultures
"The one who does not say anything agrees...
"Everyone thinks that..."
Censure: There are ideas considered as "good" or "bad"
Group pressures
Working environment?
Power games?
"We" against "Them"
Negative stereotypes and opinions of groups or people with different ideas
A narrow-minded organization
Problems of cooperation with other groups or departments
Lack of flexibility
Overestimation of the group's competences
"We are the best ones"
"What we do is THE right thing"
Self-satisfaction, contentment
Lower ambitions
Lack of flexibility
Some theories to help us understand organizational culture
Hofstede (1997)
A practical case of Organizational Culture
Schein (1992)
Symbols: the visible and tangible aspects of organizational culture.

It can be:
"What is said": stories and anecdotes
"What is done": rituals, routines
"How it looks like": dress code, architecture, furniture, design
For example...
What do you think that they work with?
Shared principles, standards, and goals

It can be:
What is right or wrong, bad or good.
Unwritten rules
Set of behaviors and standards that everyone, in the organization, is expected to follow.
A well-known example: IKEA
Taken for granted
Reflect beliefs about human nature and reality

It can be:
The organization's view on truth
The organization's view on time
The organization's view on individual vs. group
The organization's view on conflicts
National cultures influence organizational culture
A comparative study of IBM's daughter companies in approx. 50 countries.

5 dimensions of national cultures that are directly reflected in the way organizations behave:
High vs. low power distance
Individualism vs. collectivism
Masculinity vs. femininity
High vs. low uncertainty avoidance
Long vs. short term orientation
National cultures according to Hofstede's dimensions
High vs. low power distance

Individualism vs. collectivism

Masculinity vs. femininity

High vs. low uncertainty avoidance

Long vs. short term orientation
How can those dimensions be translated in an organizational context?
Daft (2007)
Strategic focus
Needs of the environment
Leader as risk-taker, innovator
Emphasis on innovation
Example: Google
Entrepreneurial context
Leader as goal-oriented
Emphasis on winning
Competitive context
Example: General Motors
Leader as mentor
Emphasis on morale
Context characterized by loyalty, tradition
Example: The Body Shop, Greenpeace
Leader as administrator
Emphasis on predictability
Context characterized by rules, policies
Example: Universities
Case Study: Google's organizational culture
1- Find 5 adjectives that characterize Google's organizational culture - Give examples of artifacts that helped you find those adjectives

2- Give examples of Google's norms and values

3- Do you think that Google:
has a high or a low power distance? Motivate!
is individualist or collectivist?
is masculine or feminine?
had a high or a low uncertainty avoidance?
has a long or a short term orientation?

4- Do you think that Google has an adaptability culture, a mission culture, a clan culture or a bureaucratic culture? Motivate!
What is the biggest "mistake" that you have made as the "new guy" at work?
"Organizational Culture and Leadership"
"Cultures and organizations"
Work and the Nature of Man (1959)
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