Organizational Culture

Topics: Sociology, Culture, Organizational studies Pages: 5 (1796 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Organizational culture can be defined as a system of shared beliefs and values that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its members. It includes routine behaviors, norms, dominant values, and a feeling or climate conveyed. The purpose and function of this culture is to help foster internal integration, bring staff members from all levels of the organization much closer together, and enhance their performance.

However, there seems to be a widely held misconception that throughout an organization or within a specific division there is only one uniform culture that exists. This definition does not seem adequate because it fails to recognize that in many organizations there are quite often groups that are unique of the dominant culture. They may have values that are not consistent, or outwardly reject the culture as a whole, yet at the same time they are still able to maintain their position within the firm. In addition, it has been a personal experience that in many organizations strong organizational culture can in fact be negative, and in fact actually damage the performance of their employees. The perception is due to the fact that in many organizations the culture can act as a barrier to the employee to gain status within the organization.

This perception may have also had a lot to due with the nature of the position that was held at the company. This company seemed to fit the criteria and meet the description of a "Fortress Culture". This may have been the result of the fact that it business was in the highly competitive field of financial services. The management was very preoccupied with figures such as sales, growth and earnings, and they treated the staff as a commodity that could easily be replaced. As a contract employee there was little in the way of job security and essential no possibility to be rewarded for good performance. The theory is inadequate because it does not recognize the fact that in many businesses today, firms no longer retain all of their staff on a full-time basis. It simply assumes that many of the individuals are full time staff members and at least have short-term job certainty. It fails to recognize the fact that by having many individuals that are working in organizations as part time or contract staff is not really given the opportunity, or they do not wish to become part of the organizational culture. Hence they elect not to internalize the company's culture and in turn establish their own distinct sub-culture of individuals that share their own beliefs.

Many of the fail points within the organization could be traced directly back to its socialization process. The socialization process is the process by which an organization brings new employees into its culture. The older members of the society transmit to younger members the social skills and knowledge needed to function effectively in the organization. This process of the organization develops the skills and competencies needed to perform the new job. Although the company seemed to be successful in the first two steps the remainder of the process seemed to be inconsistent with this theory.

The company followed the traditional pattern of selecting potential candidates through the use of trained recruiters and a standardized procedure. These recruiters looked for a variety of specific traits in each candidate that they believed would make them suitable for the position at the firm. Those individuals that did not meet these strict criteria were not considered for the position. The organization also had many similarities with the next step in which the successful candidates were placed in many challenging environments, or impossible situations to test their commitment to the position. The theory then suggests that at this point in the process those individuals who are not willing to accept the culture would be removed and all others allowed to proceed. Yet this does...
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