Organizational Paper

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Organizational culture is the collective behavior of humans who are part of an organization and the meanings that the people attach to their actions. Culture includes the organization values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits.

“Organizational culture refers to the pattern of beliefs, values and learned ways of coping with experience that have developed during the course of an organization’s history, and which tend to be manifested in its material arrangements and in the behaviours of its members.”

‘The degree to which employees share a commitment to a range of goals and values espoused by management’ and who have ‘a high level of motivation to achieve these because of the absence of bureaucratic controls’. In weak cultures, there is a much lower level of shared values and there may be a number of subcultures.

Strong Culture. This exists when an organization's core values are both intensely held and widely shared. The greater the number of members who accept the core values and the greater their commitment to these values, the stronger the culture is. A strong culture creates an internal climate of high behavioral control and builds cohesiveness, loyalty, and organizational commitment.

Weak Culture. In this case, the organization's core values are not widely held or intensely felt. These cultures have little impact on member behavior. Although all organizations have cultures, some appear to have stronger, more deeply rooted cultures than others. Initially, a strong culture was conceptualized as a coherent set of beliefs, values, assumptions, and practices embraced by most members of the organization. The emphasis was on (1) the degree of consistency of beliefs, values, assumptions, and practice across organizational members; and (2) the pervasiveness (number) of consistent beliefs, values, assumptions, and practices. Many early proponents of organizational culture tended to assume that a strong, pervasive culture was beneficial to all organizations because it fostered motivation, commitment, identity, solidarity, and sameness, which, in turn, facilitated internal integration and coordination. Still others noted potential dysfunctions of a strong culture, to the point of suggesting that a strong culture may not always be desirable. For example, a strong culture and the internalized controls associated with it could result in individuals placing unconstrained demands on themselves, as well as acting as a barrier to adaptation and change. A strong culture could also be a means of manipulation and co-optation (Perrow 1979). It could further contribute to a displacement of goals or sub goal formation, meaning that behavioral norms and ways of doing things become so important that they begin to overshadow the original purpose of the organization (Merton 1957; March and Simon 1958). Culture was initially seen as a means of enhancing internal integration and coordination, but the open system view of organizations recognized that culture is also important in mediating adaptation to the environment (see Chapter 3: Overview of the Management and the Organizational Effectiveness Literatures). The traditional view of a strong culture could be contrary to the ability of organizations to adapt and change. Seeing culture as important for facilitating organizational innovation, the acceptance of new ideas and perspectives, and needed organizational change may require a different, or more nuanced, view of organizational culture. Schein (1992) notes that, indeed, a strong organizational culture has generally been viewed as a conservative force. However, in contrast to the view that a strong organizational culture may be dysfunctional for contemporary business organizations that need to be change-oriented, he argues that just because a strong organizational culture is fairly stable does not mean that the organization will be resistant to change. It is possible for the content of a strong...
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