Organizational Culture: How to Measure It

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E-Leader Tallinn, 2009

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE: HOW TO MEASURE IT - A CASE STUDY
Dr. Léo F. C. Bruno, Professor of Leadership José O. P. de Sousa, M. Science Dom Cabral Foundation Nova Lima, Brazil Abstract The current study sought to analyze the aspects of Brazilian organizational culture found in business management. Its purpose was to prepare a methodology to measure the elements that make up the organizational culture of a company in the Manaus Industrial District /Brazil. This study researched the company’s cultural profile and the most important aspects of this culture, and it suggested recommendations on which to base its strategic plan. The Barros & Prates model was used as a reference. This model proposes nine cultural traits that are present in the Brazilian business environment: Power Concentration, Personalism, Paternalism, Expectant Posture, Formalism, Impunity, Personal Loyalty, Conflict Avoidance and Flexibility. The method used was quantitative via the development and application of a closed instrument Likert type (attitudinal scale) involving the nine Barros & Prates cultural traits. The instrument was validated in terms of items and reliability. Means and correlation coefficients were used as statistics to analyze the data. The analyses were based on 27 statements

encompassing the nine cultural traits, and they were answered by 30 executives who make up the company’s board of directors. The results showed a preponderance of the flexibility trait. Power concentration and personalism showed average preponderance. The least evident traits were Personal Loyalty, Impunity, Expectant Posture, Formalism, and Conflict Avoidance.

Keywords: Culture, Organizational Culture, Brazilian Culture

1. INTRODUCTION

One of the broadest studies on organizational culture in the world was carried out at the end of the 1970s. The ILO (International Labor Office), headquartered in Geneva, asked

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E-Leader Tallinn, 2009

Professor Hofstede and a group of experts to carry out a study on work-related cultural differences in over 50 countries throughout the world and to find out how such differences affect the validity of management techniques and their philosophy in different countries. The result achieved was that management should adapt itself to local conditions, mainly as to a country’s cultural and social values, traditions and systems. Some time later, and basing themselves mainly on Hofstede, Barros & Prates (1996) carried out a study on the main cultural traits present in Brazilian organizations by surveying the perception of 2500 executives and managers from large, mid and smallsized companies in the Southeast and the South of Brazil. The Barros & Prates paper studied Brazilian cultural traits within a Brazilian environment. The study showed that managers brought a management style that reflected the characteristics of Brazilian culture into their organizations. The current study is based on the model proposed by Barros & Prates and it seeks to create a methodology to draw the cultural profile of a Brazilian organization and analyze how it is used in the company's strategic analysis. From such an analysis we then make recommendations for the organization that is being studied. An organization’s development is closely linked to its cultural development. A company’s values, beliefs, rites, myths, laws, technology, morals, work and management are all molded on the society it is inserted in through its historic and anthropological makeup.

According to Bethlem (1999), people are culturally different, as they have received different influences through education and thus they have a diverse set of motives and goals. Among the greatest challenges facing managers are (1) adapting the company to the external environment and (2) internal integration for organizational performance.

The problem focused on this study is the inexistence of data that refers to aspects of culture in organizations that can...
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