Cultural Control in Organizations

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Title:| Cultural control has become the dominant mode of control in contemporary work organizations| Word Length:| Approx. 3600|

Control is to ensure that actions conform to the expected results by appropriate feedback systems and correcting any deviation in time to see that results are ensured within proper time and cost as per planned standards. Control is a relationship that develops and changes with time. Child (2005, pp.112) states that “The standard English definition of control is “to order, limit, instruct, or rule someone’s behaviour.” Within the context of organization, control may be defined as a process whereby management or other groups are able to initiate and regulate the conduct of activities such that their results accord with the goals and expectations held by those groups. Control, in an organization has four dimensions:

* Technical
* Social
* Political
* Cultural
The technical aspect ensures allocation and assessment of resources. The social aspect is all about controlling attitudes and behaviour. This is where bureaucratic organization comes in picture. It is about influencing and shaping employees behaviour. The political control is all about power. Last but not the least; cultural control is actually about institutionalising certain values. All these aspects need to be coordinated properly to ensure a healthy work culture within the organization. Talking specifically about cultural control, we can say that “Cultural control has become the dominant mode of control in contemporary work organizations.” Recent research by California Management Review (Summer 1989) “Corporate culture is receiving much attention in the business press. A recent article in Fortune describes how the CEO at Black & Decker “transformed an entire corporate culture, replacing a complacent manufacturing mentality with an almost manic, market-driven way of doing things.” Similarly, the success of Food Lion (a $3 billion food-market chain that has grown at an annual rate of 37% over the past 20 years with annual returns on equity of 24%) is attributed to a culture which emphasizes “hard-work, simplicity, and frugality.” Other well-known firms such as 3M, Johnson &Johnson, Apple, and Kimberly-Clark have been routinely praised for their innovative cultures. Even the success of Japanese firms in the U.S has been partly attributed to their ability to change the traditional culture developed under American managers. Peters and Waterman report how a U.S television manufacturing plant, under Japanese management, reduced its defect rate from 140 to 6, its compliant rate from 70% to 7%, and the turnover rate among employees from 30% to 1%, all due to a changed management philosophy and culture. Even more dramatic is the turnaround at the New United Motors Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, California. When General Motors closed its facility in 1982, it was one of the worst plants in the GM assembly division with an 18 per cent daily absenteeism rate and a long history of conflict in its labour relations. The plant reopened as a joint venture between Toyota and GM in 1983. Over 85 per cent of the original labour was rehired, and workers are still represented by the UAW. Although the technology used in vintage 1970s and the plant is not as automated as many others within GM and Toyota, productivity is almost double what GM gets in other facilities. In 1987, it took an estimated 20.8 hours to produce a car at NUMMI versus 40.7 in other GM plants and 18.0 at Toyota. Quality of the NUMMI automobiles is the highest in the GM system, based on both internal audits and owner surveys, and absenteeism is at 2% compared to 8% at other GM facilities. What accounts for this remarkable success? According to one account, “At the system’s core is a culture in which the assembly line workers maintain their machines, ensure the quality of their work, and improve the production process.” But a culture is not...
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