Organizational Culture

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Question 3: Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is the sum total of the organization’s past and current assumptions, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together and are expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, express or suggest contracts, written and unwritten rules that the organization develops over time and that have worked well enough to be considered valid. Culture is a very powerful force at the workplace, which is consciously and deliberately cultivated and is passed on to the incoming employees. It reflects the true nature and personality of an organization.

Basically, organizational culture is the personality of the organization. Culture is comprised of the assumptions, values, norms and artifacts of organization members and their behaviors. Members of an organization will sense the particular culture of an organization soon. Culture is one of those terms that are difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when he or she sense it. For example, the culture of a large profit corporation is quite different than that of a hospital which is quite different from that of a university. You can tell the culture of an organization by looking at the arrangement of furniture, from employees behavior, what members wear, and many more. Similar to what you can use to get a feeling about someone's personality.

Corporate culture can be looked at as a system. Inputs include feedback from, for e.g., society, professions, laws, stories, heroes, values on competition or service, and many more. The process is based on our assumptions, values and norms, e.g., our values on money, time, facilities, space and people. Outputs or effects of our culture are, e.g., organizational behaviors, technologies, strategies, image, products, services, appearance, and many more. The concept of culture is particularly important when attempting to manage organization-wide change. Practitioners are coming to realize that, despite the best-laid plans, organizational change includes not only changing structures and processes, but also the corporate culture. There's been a great deal of literature generated over the past decade about the concept of organizational culture particularly in regard to learning how to change organizational culture. Organizational change efforts are said to fail the majority of the time. Usually, this failure is credited to lack of understanding about the strong role of culture and the role it plays in organizations. That's one of the reasons that many strategic planners now place as much emphasis on identifying strategic values as they do mission and vision.

To a lesser degree, an organizational structure can get in the way of, or support, the overall success of your projects. This is a lesser problem because, to a certain extent, you can change your organizational structure. In fact, you can change the organization chart frequently, and some companies do just that. Culture, on the other hand, is not easily changed. It can take years for a large organization to develop a culture of excellence. Some organizational structures can definitely impair your ability to deliver projects. First are those organizations whose project teams are doing to support work. If your project organization does support as well, it usually means that support issues will pop up and take the focus away from the project. A lot of multitasking and thrashing takes place as you move from support work to project work to support work. It’s usually very difficult to prepare good estimates and meet your scheduling commitments. You may be forced into this structure if your staff is small. For example, a company for instance, has 15 people who worked on support, projects, and enhancements. However, they didn’t have enough people to specialize in either support or project work. This made it...
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