Organizational Culture and Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Management, Leader Pages: 7 (2521 words) Published: May 19, 2013
Leaders of large, global organizations today need to create and sustain strong organizational cultures if their organizations are going to compete and survive in the 21st century. Organizational ‘culture’ and ‘leadership’ are the two interrelated terms without which an organization cannot sustain for a long term. Although these two terms are very different from each other in their definition or meaning yet they are very much interconnected. An organization without a leader is just like a ship without a captain and without a strong culture, the organization is like a ship without radar. A captain needs the radar to set the direction for destination. Similarly, a leader needs to build a strong organizational culture to guide his followers appropriately to achieve the organizational goals. Over the decades, authors had been very much interested into understanding the concept of organizational culture and ways it is shaped by leaders’ leadership qualities. The roles played by the leaders are crucial for understanding how a certain culture is created, evolved, and changed over time. Therefore, one of the toughest challenges of leaders is to build strong organizational cultures that are exciting, sustainable, accepted by all and finally that can play a dominant role for competition and survival in today’s contemporary era. Throughout the essay, in the literature part the concept of organizational culture and leadership and how scholarly authors have looked into these areas from different perspectives such as relating organizational culture with various aspects of organization’s success will be presented. Then in the discussion part the interconnectivity of culture and leadership in achieving organizational goals to sustain and compete in the long run will be discussed on the basis of literature. Finally in the conclusion, based on the literature and discussion, the main statement will be reiterated.

Literature Review
Scholars have defined organizational ‘culture’ and ‘leadership’ from different point of views such as ethical, value based, problem solving etc. Schein (1992) defined organizational culture as “A pattern of shared basic assumptions invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that have worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems” (p. 9). O’Reilly and Chatman (1996) focused on the value to describe organizational culture as a system of shared values that state importance of the facts and norms that state suitable attitudes and behaviours for organizational members which determine ways to feel and behave. According to Berg and Wilderom (2004), organizational culture is a “shared perceptions of organisational work practices within organisational units that may differ from other organisational units” (p. 571). Now let us have a look at some scholarly definitions of leadership. Bennis and Nanus (1985) defined leadership as the organizing of skills which are possessed by a majority but used by a minority. According to Donelly, Ivancevich & Gibson (1985), “leadership is an attempt at influencing the activities of followers through the communication process and toward the attainment of some goal or goals” (p. 362). Cohen (1990) defined leadership as “the art of influencing others to their maximum performance to accomplish any task, objective or project” (p. 9). In explaining the relation between organization and its culture, Berg and Wilderom (2004) argued that organizational culture forms the base that can grip the entire organization together which as a result encourages its employees to build up a commitment to their organization and perform accordingly. In addition, they stressed that a strong organizational culture represents employees who share the similar set of values. In relation to...
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