Organizational Culture

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Three general types of organizational culture—constructive, passive-defensive, aggressive-defensive: The organizational cultural inventory measures 12 sets of normative beliefs or shared behavioral expectations associated with three general types of cultures, Constructive, Passive-Defensive, and Aggressive-Defensive. Constructive cultures—in which members are encouraged to interact with others and approach tasks in ways that will help them meet their higher-order satisfaction needs, are characterized by Achievement, Self-actualizing, Humanistic-Encouraging, and Affiliative norms. Constructive styles strongly associated with satisfaction and low stress (Cooke & Szumal, 1993).

Achievement: pursuing a standard of excellence.
Self-actualizing: thinking in unique and independent way. Humanistic-encouraging: helping other to grow and develop. Affiliate: dealing with others in a friendly way

Passive-Defensive cultures—in which members believe they must interact with people in ways that will not threaten their own security, are characterized by Approval, Conventional, Dependent, and Avoidance norms. Passive-Defensive styles associated with dissatisfaction and high stress (Cooke & Szumal, 1993).

Approval: going along with others
Conventional: always following policies and practices.
Dependent: pleasing those in positions of authority
Avoidance: waiting for others to act first

Aggressive-Defensive cultures—in which members are expected to approach tasks in forceful ways to protect their status and security, are characterized by Oppositional, Power, Competitive, and Perfectionistic norms. Aggressive-Defensive styles weakly related to certain measures of dissatisfaction and stress (Cooke & Szumal, 1993).

Oppositional: pointing out flaws
Power: building up one’s power base
Competitive: turning the job into a contest
Perfectionistic: doing things perfectly

Typology of Organizational Values:

In economically oriented systems where productivity and efficiency are primary goals, equity (that is, outcomes are contingent on inputs) tends to be the main distributive principle. On the other hand, in systems concerned with fostering social cohesiveness, equality tends to be the dominant distributive value where equality of outcomes emphasizes members’ common fate, and promotes solidarity and social cohesion. The different ways in which organizations seek to resolve this distributive dilemma have been described in terms of a typological theory of organizations.

The more unequal or centralized the power structure is in an organization, the more equity values (or an equity orientation) predominate, and the more resources and rewards will tend to be differentially (i.e. unequally) allocated. This means inequality and consequent threats to social cohesion or integration become problematic. On the other hand in organizations with decentralized or democratic power structures, an egalitarian orientation and more equal allocations will tend to predominate. Economic inefficiency and inequity emerge as problems. While organizations’ power structures give them an underlying orientation towards distributive equality or equity, organizational processes then either reinforce or compensate for this orientation. Thus an organization with an egalitarian orientation can have processes that reinforce this structural tendency (e.g. by having a pay policy that compress salary differentials), or can compensate for it by having practices that seek to increase differentiation (e.g. by thinking pay to performance appraisal). In effect, organizations can “ignore” the tensions inherent in their equal or unequal structures and use their processes to reinforce their dominant orientation, or they can recognize these inherent tensions and seek to balance them using a set of compensatory processes.

The equity versus equality ends of these two dimensions (structure and process) define the four ideal types. Each...
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