Social scientists and researchers delved into the idea of organisational culture as an important component of organisational theory in the past. Brown (1998) identified four different sources of organisational culture which stems from climate research, national cultures, human resources management, and from conviction approaches. This piece of work critically evaluates organisational cultures in the Early Years settings. The first part looks at the theoretical background to the evolution of organisational culture its importance and types. The second part examines the link between leadership, organisation culture and change management with analysis from experience as an EYP. It also looks at key factors that influence change, problems with change and techniques for implementing change in Early Years settings. The final part is a conclusion and a suggestion of possible measures to effect change in Early Years settings. What is organisational Culture?
It is important for one to understand what culture means. The elementary definition is by (Martins and Martins 2003) who defined culture as ‘a system of shared meaning held by members, distinguishing the organisation from other organisations’ Again Arnold (2005, p 625) explains that ‘organisational culture is the distinctive norms, beliefs, principles and ways of behaving that combines to give each organisation its distinct character’.
From the above two definitions culture therefore refers to the underlying values, beliefs and codes of practice that makes an organisation what it is. The way of life of that organisation, the self-image of its members, the things that make it different from others, are its culture.
Importance of Organisational Culture
The main reason for organisational cultures is to stipulate the way of doing things in order to give meaning to organisational life (Arnold 2005).This is important because the staff members need to benefit from lessons of previous members.
Organisational culture also determines organisational behaviour by identifying principal goals, work methods, how members should interact and address each other; and how to conduct personal relationships (Harrison 1993)
Furthermore, (Brown 1998 p.89-91) states the functions of organisational culture s follow: * Conflict reduction- A common culture promotes consistency of perception, problem definition, evaluation of issues and opinions, and preferences for action. * coordination and control- Because culture promotes consistency of outlook it also facilitates organisational processes of coordination and control * Reduction of uncertainty- Cultural mindset reduces anxiety which makes the work place a simple, choices easier and rational actions possible * Motivation- An appropriate and cohesive culture offers workers a focus of identification and loyalty foster belief and values that encourages workers to perform. Types of Organisational Culture
Organisational culture has been classified into different categories by researchers of which the most commonly used one is Handy (1993). He noted four main category of organisational culture namely, power culture, role culture, task culture and person culture.
There are some organizations where the power remains in the hands of only few people and only they are authorized to take decisions. They are the ones who enjoy special privileges at the workplace. They are the most important people at the workplace and are the major decision makers. These individuals further delegate responsibilities to the other employees. In such a culture the subordinates have no option but to strictly follow their superior’s instructions. The employees do not have the liberty to express their views or share their ideas on an open forum and have to follow what their superior says. The managers in such a type of culture sometimes can be partial to someone or the other leading to major unrest among others.