This essay will begin by defining culture and then will explore organisational culture, using various examples from module materials and own experiences. The essay will discuss dementia care in order to explore the relationships between culture and communication. The essay will conclude by summarising the main key points.
What is Culture
The social science writer Mark J. Smith states: ‘When we think about the possible meanings and uses of the word ‘‘culture’’, we walk into a maze of interpretations and associations’ (Smith, 1998, p. 262). This is because; the word culture has at least three meanings or levels of meanings. Traditionally, a cultured person is considered knowledgeable about such things and to have good taste in them (M. Rob,open.ac.uk, access on 18/7/2012).
A second definition uses the word culture to embrace popular as well as elite or high culture and to encompass the arstic creativities of the whole population, without any moral or value judgments being involved (M. Robb,open.ac.uk, access on 18/7/2012).
Thirdly, culture expresses the shared or collective life of a group, community or nation. For example, people talk at a national level about ‘British culture or ‘American culture’ or about the culture of regional, class or ethnic groups within the population. (M. Rob, open.ac.uk, access on 18/7/2012).
My understanding of culture is defined by Thompson (2003) as a set of shared meanings, assumptions and understandings which develop historically in a given community. It is the way people interpret meanings, languages and situations. For example, in my African culture, health professionals, especially doctors, are perceived as described by Alan Bennett in unit 3, as lofty, intelligent and of higher status (Unit 3, P, 96, Bk 1).
Robb Martin claims that organisations have a shared culture in that they share ways of doing things and develop habitual routines for getting the job done. Organisational context plays a major role in organisations, because it is the way organisation operates. One example of this is Programme 1, Scene 1 (which takes place in Woodland House). This scene captures the reality and also fits into the model of context ( Unit 12, P. 12 Bk 4).
Working in different settings in health and social care involves getting used to that setting’s culture. Nurses have a different culture to social workers influenced by shared training and the perspective of the work. When Carol Komaromy worked has an agency nurse she had to adapt to the culture of various settings. In some units there would be a high monitoring of progress, whilst in others staff members seemed to be trusted. Marevale care home in the DVD demonstrated good practice of care (Unit 12, P,14, Bk 4).
Ways of thinking
Organisational cultures share a sense of ‘meaning’, which entails the maintenance of shared values, key components of organisational culture because is they are a shared way of thinking. Also, collective ideals of the organisation (the ethos or values) are always embeded in the routine activities, practices and shapes the actions and behaviours of the people who work in it. A top –down approach of values are what the management, say they are, or reflected in formal policy and mission statements (Unit 12, P. 14, BK4).
In my experience in my work place our values are empathy, compassion, and respect, dignity and openness towards HIV. Our aim is to maximise choices and pathways for achievement and continuous learning. We value the fact that everyone has the right to live happily and healthily. We aim to counteract the devastation of an HIV+ diagnosis with strategies to reduce isolation and stress; improve health and well being; promote active lives and create a voice for human rights. This is achieved by applying the core values.
Another example of organisational value is reflected by the changing ideals and priorities of society as...