Manage differences between organizational culture and subcultures

Topics: Organizational culture, Culture, Organizational studies Pages: 6 (2065 words) Published: April 24, 2014
1Research Context
1.1 Background
Organizational culture becomes a competitive advantage of a company that “was found to impact a variety of organizational processes and performance” (Siew & Kelvin, 2004, p.340). Definition of organizational culture given by Schein (1999) containing basic underlying assumptions which define the deepest, the most fundamental level of organizational culture. Assumptions are divides into artifacts and espoused values. In addition to the meaning of organizational culture, Robbins and Judge (2013, p.512-13) defines that “it refers to a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguished the organization from the other”. Only when understand the people’s collective beliefs and assumptions in-depth, managers are able to define appropriate steps to strengthen organizational culture and effectiveness.

Organizational culture has been extensively studied over the recent decade to affirm a strong link with organizational performance. This idea shares the same one with Siew and Kelvin (2004, p. 340) which is “the cultural elements which distinguish company from each other were found to be related to performance”. Damanpour, Devece, Chen and Pothukuchi (2010, p.457) state “organizational practices are commonly accepted organizational routines and actions that they have evolved over time, have become institutionalized in the organization and are considered appropriate in managing the organization and conducting its business”. In addition to the importance of organizational culture to the economic performance, in Kotter and Hetskett’s research on 207 firms, they come up with exciting results: companies with culture that emphasizes all the key managerial constituencies achieve an increase of 682% in revenue, 282% in expanding workforce, 901% increase in stock price compared to ones without cultural traits only get 166%, 36%, 74% increase over 11 years (Mobly, Wang, Fang, 2005, p. 13).

There are many levels of culture that effect organizational behavior such as a world religion’s culture that has been remarked by Hofstede (1980), Aiken and Bacharach (1979) and Trompenaars (1992), gender-bases cultures, occupational cultures, regional cultures (Cameron and Quinn, 2006, p.17). Each culture is generally reflected by unique language, symbols, rules and ethnocentric feeling which lead to a unique organization’s subcultures. On the other hand, Cameron and Quinn (2006, p.18) suggest that each subunit in organization also contains common elements typical of the entire organization. Thank to the international scale of business, the cultural diversification in such aviation corporation is considerable. Aviation corporations in order to achieve the sufficient geographical coverage have established international branch offices to control business activities in other countries (Shaw, 2007, p. 206-07). The organizational culture in corporation aviation “should be changed to be achieved in the presence of difference subcultures” (Linneluecke and Griffiths, 2010, p.364). This issue also is mentioned by Robbins and Judge (2013, p. 515) that international organizations should take into account the differences in culture across countries to decide which practices should be used to manage to achieve the maximum effectiveness with diversified population of employees. The persistence of cultural value differences is particularly relevant for large airlines that are exposed to multiple national cultures, which leads to a complexity in managing across borders and tailoring the practices and approaches in every cultural context that they operate (Ghemawat and Reiche, 2011, p.2).

The topics of practices to manage organizational culture and its subcultures have attracted considerable interest but in fact, there is just a suggestion on the existing models of internal management control within organization. William and Triest (2009, p. 164) suggest to include cultural factors at a more refined level than just the...

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