Each person has more or less lasting and fixed traits that help predict their attitudes and behaviors. Organizations also have personalities, which are referred to as “cultures.” Organizational cultures govern how that organization’s members behave. Organizational Culture is defined as a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations. There are seven primary characteristics that capture the essence of an organization's culture and this becomes the basis for the feelings of shared understanding that members have about the organization, how things are done in it, and the way members are supposed to behave.5 Innovation and Risk Taking is the degree to which employees are encouraged to be innovative and take risks. Attention to Detail is the degree to which employees are expected to exhibit precision, analysis, and attention to detail. Outcome Orientation is the degree to which management focuses on results or outcomes rather than on the techniques and processes used to achieve those outcomes. People Orientation is the degree to which management decisions take into consideration the effect of outcomes on people within the organization. Team Orientation is the degree to which work activities are organized around teams rather than individuals. Aggressiveness is the degree to which people are aggressive and competitive rather than easy-going. Stability is the degree to which organizational activities emphasize maintaining the status quo in contrast to growth. 12 Layers of Organizational Culture
Culture is a system of shared meaning, therefore individuals of dissimilar backgrounds or at varying levels in the organization should describe the organization's culture in similar terms despite their differences but this doesn't mean however that an organization's culture is completely uniform. The dominant culture is the overall organizational culture as expressed by the core values held by the majority of the organization's members. When people are asked to portray an organization's culture, they normally describe the dominant culture: a macro view that gives an organization its distinct personality. On the other hand, the subculture retains the core values of the dominant culture but modifies them to reflect their own distinct situation. 16
Strong versus Weak Cultures
Strong cultures have a greater impact on employee behavior and are more directly related to reduce turnover and 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. On the contrary, in weak culture, the organization's core values are not widely held or intensely felt and these cultures have little impact on member behavior.20 The Functions of Organizational Culture
Overall, culture benefits organizations by increasing organizational commitment, the consistency of employee behavior and aids employees by reducing ambiguity. There are five basic functions of culture that help achieve these benefits: to start with, culture creates distinctions between one organization and another (it defines boundaries). Second, culture conveys a sense of identity for its members (identity). Moreover, culture generates commitment to something that is larger than one's own self-interest (commitment). In addition, culture is the social glue that helps hold the organization together by providing appropriate standards for socially acceptable employee behavior (social stability). And lastly, culture serves as a control mechanism that guides and shapes the attitudes and behavior of employees (control mechanism). 26 Culture as a Liability
Because culture is difficult to change in the...