1. What is corporate culture? Does it depend on the country/nationality? How does the human factor influence it? Does the company culture embrace only positive values or it can reinforce negative attitudes? Speak about office etiquette (dress code, punctuality, personal calls, coffee and lunch breaks); working hours; relationships with colleagues, management and clients or business partners; autonomy and initiative; promotion. What can frustrate staff? What can motive staff to work better?
What is corporate culture? There are two answers to this question, one non-academic and one academic. In the non-academic approach, the basic definition of corporate culture is ‘the personality of an organization’, or simply ‘how things are done around here’. It includes:
• core values and beliefs
• corporate ethics
• rules of behaviour.
Corporate culture can be expressed in the company’s mission statement and other communications, in the architectural style or interior decoration of offices, by what people wear to work, by how people address each other, and in the titles given to various employees.
Then, there is the academic approach to corporate culture (often called ‘organizational culture’ in this context). There are many gurus in this field, and perhaps the best known is Geert Hofstede. He has developed a Cultural Orientation Model which classifies cultures based on where they fall on five continuums (highly simplified below):
1 Individual vs. collective
(At what level in the organization is behaviour regulated?)
2 Power distance
(Do less powerful parties accept the existing distribution of power?)
3 Uncertainty avoidance
(Do employees feel threatened by ambiguity? How important are rules?)
4 Dominant values
(What are the dominant values? Assertiveness? Money? Job satisfaction?)
5 Short-term vs. long-term
(Do employees expect immediate or deferred gratification?)
Company culture can reinforce negative attitude too – for example, some unwritten rules.
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2. What is internship? What is the difference between work placement and probationary period? What advice can you give to an intern or a recruit when they just join a company? What kind of information should they learn about the company and its rules? Is there anything you would rather not tell them and why?
Internship is a system of on-the-job training for white-collar jobs, similar to a apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. They may also be as young as middle school or in some cases elementary students. Student internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Internships provide employers with cheap or free labor for (typically) low-level tasks.
The probationary period usually runs from six months to one year and gives the supervisor or manager an opportunity to evaluate an employee's performance and conduct on the job, provide remedial opportunities and, if it is necessary, remove or reassign the employee. Employers often require probationary periods for the following types of employees:
• New employees added to the workforce
• Existing employees who are demonstrating performance deficiencies • Existing employees who are placed on a new position but who did not complete their initial probationary period • Existing or new employees who are appointed to their first supervisory or managerial position Use of the probationary period ensures a high quality of performance from new and existing employees and gives new supervisors and managers an adequate opportunity to prove themselves.
3. What problems can interns experience with work...
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