Culture refers to the fundamental values and norms that a group of peoplesuch as an ethnic group, a nation, a corporation, or some other organization or professionholds or aspires to hold. Every culture distinguishes itself from others by the specific ways it prefers to solve certain problems, such as those that arise from relationships with other people, from the passage of time, and in dealing with the external environment. Groups of people have "typical" cultural traits that can be identified by observing situational behaviors and predominant tendencies in problem solving. Recognizing that a group exhibits certain "typical" cultural traits does not mean that every person in that group has precisely those characteristics. That would be stereotyping. The way in which attitudes are expressed in a business organization and the way employees are evaluated and rewarded are labeled "corporate culture." The culture of an organization is shaped by the national traits of its employees, by the personality and ideas of the corporation's dominant leader (if there is one), and by the nature of the industry
GE's efforts to bind together separate national and corporate cultures have resembled the practices of many multinationals in some respects: providing extensive training in language and business skills and offering opportunities for talented younger employees to rotate to different businesses and geographic locations. But GE's corporate culture also incorporates the views of its dominant leader, Welch, CEO since the early 1980s. Jack Welch has made it standard company practice that every business unit conduct continuous campaigns to become the lowest-cost producer in its area. One approach to reducing costs and improving productivity is work-outs, which are multi-day retreats. After the boss and outside consultants lay out the unit's achievements, problems, and business environment, the participantsrepresenting every layer and type of employee of...
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