Organizational Culture

Topics: Organizational culture, Culture, Organizational studies Pages: 6 (1961 words) Published: December 31, 2013
Strong/weak cultures
Strong culture is said to exist where staff respond to stimulus because of their alignment to organizational values. In such environments, strong cultures help firms operate like well-oiled machines, engaging in outstanding execution with only minor adjustments to existing procedures as needed. Conversely, there is weak culture where there is little alignment with organizational values, and control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy. Research shows that organizations that foster strong cultures have clear values that give employees a reason to embrace the culture. A "strong" culture may be especially beneficial to firms operating in the service sector since members of these organizations are responsible for delivering the service and for evaluations important constituents make about firms. Research indicates that organizations may derive the following benefits from developing strong and productive cultures: Better aligning the company towards achieving its vision, mission, and goals High employee motivation and loyalty

Increased team cohesiveness among the company's various departments and divisions Promoting consistency and encouraging coordination and control within the company Shaping employee behavior at work, enabling the organization to be more efficient Where culture is strong, people do things because they believe it is the right thing to do, and there is a risk of another phenomenon, groupthink. "Groupthink" was described by Irving Janis. He defined it as "a quick and easy way to refer to a mode of thinking that people engage when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternatives of action." (Irving Janis, 1972, p. 9) This is a state in which even if they have different ideas, do not challenge organizational thinking, and therefore there is a reduced capacity for innovative thoughts. This could occur, for example, where there is heavy reliance on a central charismatic figure in the organization, or where there is an evangelical belief in the organization' values, or also in groups where a friendly climate is at the base of their identity (avoidance of conflict). In fact, groupthink is very common and happens all the time, in almost every group. Members that are defiant are often turned down or seen as a negative influence by the rest of the group because they bring conflict. Healthy organizational cultures

Organizations should strive for what is considered a "healthy" organizational culture in order to increase productivity, growth, efficiency and reduce counterproductive behavior and turnover of employees. A variety of characteristics describe a healthy culture, including: Acceptance and appreciation for diversity

Regard for and fair treatment of each employee as well as respect for each employee’s contribution to the company Employee pride and enthusiasm for the organization and the work performed Equal opportunity for each employee to realize their full potential within the company Strong communication with all employees regarding policies and company issues Strong company leaders with a strong sense of direction and purpose Ability to compete in industry innovation and customer service, as well as price Lower than average turnover rates (perpetuated by a healthy culture) Investment in learning, training, and employee knowledge

Additionally, performance oriented cultures have been shown to possess statistically better financial growth. Such cultures possess high employee involvement, strong internal communications and an acceptance and encouragement of a healthy level of risk-taking in order to achieve innovation. Additionally, organizational cultures that explicitly emphasize factors related to the demands placed on them by industry technology and growth will be better performers in their industries. According to Kotter and Heskett (1992), organizations...
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