To What Extent Can Organisational Culture Be Managed? Is Organisational Culture Critical to the Success of an Organisation?

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To what extent can organisational culture be managed? Is organisational culture critical to the success of an organisation?

Within the field of management, the success and failure of the modern business organisation has been largely depicted by the intricate concept of culture. Organisational culture, a concept borrowed from borrowed mostly from anthropology typically is defined as a complex set of values, beliefs, assumptions and symbols that define the way in which an organisation conducts and manages its business (Barney 1986). Management is not just an act of change, but the responsibility for and control of a company or similar organisation (Willmott 1983). It is the management of organisational culture that merely drives the organisation to success however the management of an organisation culture is a difficult one with arising problems. This critical notion can be derived from Taylor’s view of labour whereby the culture assumptions have lead to the development of informal organisation. These changes over the decade have emphasized successful workplace dynamics and positive aspects in the work environment as well as within the individual. However, managerial prerogatives have encountered problems between strong culture and unified cultures. Strong culture is impervious to change and thus, cannot be manipulated to change in response to different demands, and over time the word ‘culture’ have been debated to be over-used and under defined (Preston 1993).

Organisational structure is socially created and bounded by the values, stories, myths, rituals and ceremonies that is influential to the success of an organisation. However problems arise as to whether the studies of organisational culture can be created, measured or manipulated. This is distinguished through the borrowed concept of culture derived mostly from anthropology and sociologists. This theoretical notion underlines the danger, that the borrowed concept of culture can be stereotyped and distorted resulting in biased applications (Meek 1988). However, (Barney 1986) argues otherwise, and that in order to achieve success organisation can be altered and can be managed in order to get to the top. It is the factors of a valuable, rare and imperfectly imitable aspect that gains economic profit within an organisation and it is the creation and manipulating of those aspects that allow the enhancement of the performance within an organisation. The theory that organisation culture is integrated from social integration, (Meek 1988) believes that culture is the product of negotiated and shared symbols and meaning emerging from social interaction rather something implemented, that is organisation is something that naturally occurs through individual interaction and behaviours rather than something created by management.

The changing of the underlying values foresee the management of organisational culture as a value which can be relinquished and reinstated however this change must begin with reorganising the existing value, but executives often lack the awareness of how to implement these changes (Fitzgerald 2004). This is to say that the management of organisational culture is difficult but not impossible. (Ogbonna 1992) explains this difficult process by illustrating the concept of culture as an organisational tool and explains that ‘there is little point to control this’ because it is a socially constructed phenomenon embedded in the very roots of the organisational existence depended purely on human action and interaction. This difficult process is also underlined within a firm’s culture where evidence suggests that creating a valuable and rare organisational culture is also very difficult because it is essentially unspoken and taken for granted. (Barney 1986).The taken for granted assumption of culture can be extended to the view of Taylor’s original problem, such as the work behaviour and the basic conception that workers have of themselves. This modern...
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