What Is Organisational Culture and How Can It Be Managed Effectively?

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What is organisational culture and how can it be managed effectively?

Organisational culture is defined as the shared values, norms and expectations that govern the way people approach their work and interact with each other. Organizational culture is different from world cultures, those tapestries of shared histories, languages, beliefs, and foods, which are the source of our identity. Our personal culture affects how we marry, how we raise our children, how we celebrate events, and how we mourn death. Defining an organization's culture requires being able to identify common organizational references. For example, how do employees describe their colleagues? What are some of the common phrases or stories they tell each other? Such depictions as "bureaucratic" or "people are not valued for their experience and expertise" become a common reference point for interpreting culture whether or not they are accurate. In 1985 Charles Handy was concerned with career development from the point of view of both the organization and the individual’s ability to plan the right moves for success. He was a philosopher, educator, economist and business guru who addressed the organizational phenomena that contribute to both the successes and downfalls of business organizations. His work, identifies four cultures (i.e. power, role, task and person), provides a framework for examining and understanding organizational culture (Handy 1985).

A power culture is ruled by a central power source, such as an owner or President, and is most frequently found in entrepreneurial organizations. Trust and personal communication are important characteristics. It is important for employees to have interpretations of the job that are similar to those of the leader. Minimal bureaucracy exists, so that staff function with few rules, policies and procedures. In a task culture, the focus is on a particular job or function. Although health care organizations currently operate largely within the...
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