Organizational culture is an idea in the field of organizational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. It has been defined as "the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization." Ravasi and Schultz (2006) state that organizational culture is a set of shared mental assumptions that guide interpretation and action in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations. Although it’s difficult to get consensus about the definition of organizational culture, several constructs are commonly agreed upon – that organizational culture is holistic, historically determined, related to anthropological concepts, socially constructed, soft, and difficult to change. This definition continues to explain organizational values, described as "beliefs and ideas about what kinds of goals members of an organization should pursue and ideas about the appropriate kinds or standards of behavior organizational members should use to achieve these goals. From organizational values develop organizational norms, guidelines, or expectations that prescribe appropriate kinds of behavior by employees in particular situations and control the behavior of organizational members towards one another." 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, cruising along with outstanding execution and perhaps minor tweaking of existing procedures here and there. 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—there is a risk of another phenomenon, Groupthink. "Groupthink" was described by Irving L. 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 members' strive for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternatives of action." This is a state where people, 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’s values, or also in groups where a friendly climate is at the base of their identity (avoidance of conflict). In fact group think is very common, it 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...
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