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Organizational culture

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Maria Briones Colomé

on 11 December 2014

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Transcript of Organizational culture

A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.

According to Edgar Schein, culture is the most difficult organizational attribute to change, outlasting organizational products, services, founders and leadership and all other physical attributes of the organization.
Multiple levels of culture
Artifacts and symbols
To really understand culture, we have to get to the deepest level: the level of Fundamental Assumptions. An organization’s underlying assumptions grow out of values, until they become taken for granted and drop out of awareness.
Basic Assumptions and Values
Iceberg of
organizational culture
Espoused values are the core morals and values of an organization. They are essentially the beliefs upon which the company is built, developed into a code of conduct.
Espoused Values
Three levels of culture
Artefacts mark the surface of the organization. They are visible elements in the organization. These are not only visible to the employees but also visible and recognizable for external people
Dress code
Interior desing

Espoused values
Basic Assumptions
and values
The concept of organizational culture
Behavior of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to those behaviors.

Organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs and habits.

Affects the way people interact with each other, with clients and with stakeholders

The concept of organizational culture
Set of shared mental assumptions that guide interprettion and action in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations.

The collective values, beliefs and principles of organizational members and is a product of such factors as history, productm market, technology, and strategy, type of employees, management style and national culture.

Origins of organizational culture
The first systematic attempt to use a concept of culture to understand the work environment: Hawthorne studies, 1930s.

1970s interest in organizational culture.

The 1982 publication of Peters & Wasserman’s In Search of Excellence.

Ouchi, 1981, Theory Z: How American Business Can Meet the Japanese Challenge.

Pascale and Athos, 1982, The Art of Japanese Management: Applications for American Executives.

Deal and Kennedy, 1982, Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life.

Understanding organizational culture
Understanding organizational culture
Common attributes:
The concept of shared meaning is critical
The notion that organizational culture is constructed socially and is affected by environment and history
Organizational culture has many symbolic and cognitive layers—culture is thick and resides at all levels

Understanding organizational culture
3 fundamental categories:
1. Observable artifacts
2. Espoused values
3. Basic assumptions

This refers to the degree of inequality that exists – and is accepted – among people with and without power.

A high PD
score indicates that society accepts an unequal distribution of power, and that people understand "their place" in the system.
Low PD
means that power is shared and well dispersed. It also means that society members view themselves as equals.

This refers to the strength of the ties people have to others within the community.

A high IDV
score indicates loose connections. In countries with a high IDV score there is a lack of interpersonal connection, and little sharing of responsibility beyond family and perhaps a few close friends.
A society with a
low IDV
score would have strong group cohesion, and there would be a large amount of loyalty and respect for members of the group. The group itself is also larger and people take more responsibility for each other's well being.

This refers to how much a society sticks with, and values, traditional male and female roles.

High MAS
scores are found in countries where men are expected to be "tough," to be the provider, and to be assertive. If women work outside the home, they tend to have separate professions from men.
scores do not reverse the gender roles. In a low MAS society, the roles are simply blurred. You see women and men working together equally across many professions. Men are allowed to be sensitive, and women can work hard for professional success.
This relates to the degree of anxiety that society members feel when in uncertain or unknown situations.

High UAI-scoring
nations try to avoid ambiguous situations whenever possible. They are governed by rules and order and they seek a collective "truth.“

Low UAI scores
indicate that the society enjoys novel events and values differences. There are very few rules, and people are encouraged to discover their own truth.

This refers to how much society values long-standing – as opposed to short-term – traditions and values. This is the fifth dimension that Hofstede added in the 1990s, after finding that Asian countries with a strong link to Confucian philosophy acted differently from Western cultures. In countries with a high LTO score, delivering on social obligations and avoiding "loss of face" are considered very important.

Take some time to review the scores by country for the various cultural dimensions identified in this model. Pay particular attention to the countries that the people you deal daily come from.

In light of these scores, think about some interactions you've had with people in other countries. Does your conversation or association make more sense given this newly found insight?

Challenge yourself to learn more about one culture in particular. If your work brings you in contact with people from another country, use that country as your point of reference.

The next time that you are required to work with a person from a different culture, use Cultural Dimensions scores and make notes about your approach, what you should be prepared to discuss, and why you feel the way you do.

Above all, make cultural sensitivity a daily part of your life. Learn to value the differences between people and vow to respect the things that make people unique.

Apply this to the life
Organizational culture is important because it's been shown to have a significant impact on organizational performance.
Cultures that support the mission, goals and strategy of an organization serve to ease communication and coordination and provide a means for dealing with change and conflict when they arise.

How can be the leaders?
Must exist leaders that are engaged in developing an organizational culture through:

awareness to address and rectify the workplace
bind our individual personal and national cultures into an organizational culture

It’s necessary encourage multicultural leadership, where the team has a shared belief in the vision and confidence that can achieve it.

The leadership must advocate for change and create an organizational culture that embraces and values difference through engagement

Foster productivity and innovation

How the culture of a business affect the performance of a business?
Winning behavior will not thrive in a culture that doesn’t support it. A great culture can make an average strategy successful, but a poor culture can make even a great strategy fail.

Did you know that the lack of trust in an organization can erode your profits quicker than any competitor?

Or that if we eliminated conflict in the workplace that it could improve your net income?

Poor communications and employee morale won’t kill the organization but it certainly will hurt your bottom-line.

Place two businesses side by side, outfit them with exactly the same equipment, technology and systems … what will happen????

One will outperform the other.

Why? Because of the people and the culture in the business.

So how did you arrive at the culture in your organization?
-People who started the business,

-Mindset and outlook, that leaders who have strong influence, in the organization, have about how the work gets done and the role of people in doing that work

-Way decisions are made and implemented -Way opportunities, problems and crises are faced

-Organization structure and hierarchy -Way people are selected, promoted and de-selected

-Rites, stories and ceremonies that are in place -Reward and recognition systems

Creating a High Performance Organization Culture isn't just about helping people to feel good (but, it is one of the most wonderful side benefits!), it is about designing the systems and conditions that deliver the results the shareholders and customers want by unleashing the potential of the people who work in the business

Organizational culture and identity
A concept in many ways similar to organizational culture is organizational identity. Identity can be viewed as another metaphor for organization; one then views an organization as if it had an identity.

Identity is like culture and discourse, used in many different ways for a variety of purposes, and guided by a variety of perspectives.

It is , however, fairly common to argue that organizational identity represents the form by which organizational members define themselves as a social group in relation to their external environment, and how they understand themselves to be different from their competitors.

Identity as a new buzzword
Contemporary popular framings bring identity as the phenomenon doing all the magic of helping people in a complex , difficult and sometimes chaotic world: a sense of identity serves as a rudder for navigating difficult waters.

One reason for the interest in organizational identity in some parts of the literature lies in the links to issues of image and branding, viewed as increasingly important in business and working life.


A series of studies of UK consultancy firms illuminate some key issues around construction of organizational identity.

Consultants recommend us basic questions to detemine the identity of the organization:

What do we know and how do we work?

How is this organization managed and how do members relate to it?

What kinds of people are we in the contexts of the organization?

How are we see and how do we see others?

Organizational identity in consulting firms can be understood as circling around four basic dimensions:

-knowledge work

-management and membership

-personal orientation

-external interface

Knowledge work
The question;
what do we know?
Encompasses the form as well as the content of an organization's knowledge.

The question;
how do we work?
Addresses the way in which service is delivered to clients.

These questions are not designed to elicit objective answers ; is the people's perceptions of organizations: evaluations relating to cultural values, definitions, and meanings.

The answer to,
Who are we?
Should be credible to organizational members themselves, not necessarily for external observers.

Management and membership
This dimension focuses on the informal and formal systems and structures that support the delivery of that service to clients, as well as the links between the organization and its members.
why do organizational members work and to what extent are their motivations and ideals influenced bye, or independent of, the objectives of management?

What are the linkages between organization and individuals?
These themes also give some indications of the sources of identification
Personal orientation
This is concerned with the way in which organizational identity has or fails to have, an impact on the more subtle personal elements of an individual.
for example,
How does organizational identity relate to values and morality, the personal mythologies and fantasies that may support and shape an organizational member`s self-concept?

It is the more or less common ideas or way of being members of the organization.

External interfase
Although identities are constructed within organizations, organizational members are strongly influenced by their interactions with outsiders.
The question;
How are we seen?
Reflects how organizational members believe themselves to be perceived by others.
A key component of image concerns clients and competitors; who you work for and who you compete against can be used as an indicator of your quality.


Mental assumptions guiding interpretation and action in organizations
• Multiple levels of culture: artifacts, espoused values basic assumptions and values

Culture and its different dimensions :power/distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty/avoidance index, long term orientation.
• Identity, cultural identity and organizational identity (how members of an organization define themselves as a social group in relation to their external environment and differentiate themselves from their competitors)
• The impact of organizational culture on organizational performance (easing communication and coordination and means for dealing with change and conflict)

Competing values framework
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