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Organisational Culture Essay

A glance at few works that use the term organisational culture will reveal enormous variation in definitions. There is no single or broadly recognised meaning of organisational culture. This is relatively connected with the strong alterations in the purpose and deepness of books and literature trying to define the concept of organisational culture (Kreitner & Kinicki 2007). However, all the literature available produces a close definition of this concept. Organisational culture can thus be interpreted to mean a set of common values, philosophies or opinions that result in some expected norms and behaviours among employees in an organisation. Organisational culture defines and consists of the unwritten rules of conduct, norms and values. It also includes the management priorities, beliefs, styles and the interpersonal behaviour that prevail in an organisation (Mullins 2005). Organisational culture is responsible for creating an environment that defines or influences how employees make decisions, work or even communicate. Organisational culture relates to the informal aspects of organisations rather than the official elements.


It entails how individual's perceptions coalesce into shared meaning in an organisation. Organisational culture is demonstrated by signs and formalities rather than through the official structure of the association. In an organisation, employees or individuals develop various value and ideas preferences, which influence how they behave or how they view the behaviour of other associates or employees (Mullins 2005). These behaviours and norms develop to become shared conducts, which are transferred within employees. They later become reinforced by rituals and symbols. Therefore, it can be concluded that the concept of organisational culture is how an organisation has learned to deal and cope with its environment. It thus includes the dynamic and complex behaviours, myths, and assumptions. It also includes other ideas that fit to define what it is to work in a given organisation. The concept of organisational culture exists on three levels. It includes underlying assumptions, artefacts that reinforce the culture and the exposed values (Robbins & Barnwell 2006).

Contributors to Organisational Culture

Although organisational leaders play a large role in contributing to organisational culture through their leadership and actions, all individuals in an organisation contribute towards the organisational culture. However, some great theorists and scholars who greatly contribute to an in-depth understanding of organisational culture include Hofsfede and Schein. In an organisational context, individuals from different religions, background and communities come together and work towards an organisation's goals and objectives (Robbins & Barnwell 2006). Although all organisations have set rules and regulations, the behaviour of the leadership can help shape up the organisational culture. Leaders in an organisation can become very strict and make other employees embrace a given culture. Therefore, together with the current leadership, employees contribute largely to the culture of the workplace. Their interests, motivations, behaviours and attitude determine the culture of the organisation. For example, employees may choose not bother with the policies of the organisation and alternatively attend to their roles to sustain their job. In another case scenario, employees may strictly adhere to the regulations and rules of the organisation (Robbins 2007). They may choose to remain focused on achieving the deadlines even before the time.

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Link between an Organisation's Culture and Its Capacity to Meet Its Objectives

Although different definitions of organisational culture exist, it is a dominant and recognisable force in any modern organisation. Made up of shared values, values, behaviours and beliefs, organisational culture guides actions and individual decision at the unconscious level. As a result of this, it has the potential to affect an organisation's success and wellbeing (Campling & Schermerhorn 2005). Some scholars have termed organisational culture as the glue that holds a company together. Others have described it as a compass that provides direction towards the achievement of a firm's objectives. An organisation is a dynamic system, and just like any other system, all systems must work efficiently. Organisational culture is one of these crucial systems in an organisation. What is more important is that it must function in a way that enhances smooth and efficient operation of an organisation so as to ensure that organisations objectives are achieved (Thompson & MacHugh 2002).

Extensive research has indicated that corporates whose culture emphasises investor, customer and employee satisfaction are always successful. Organisational culture can be a firm's biggest liability or strongest asset (Robbins & Barnwell 2006). In fact, organisations with rare culture that is hard to imitate always enjoy a competitive advantage in the market. Such organisations whether profit or non-profit are consistent in the achievement of objectives. Having the most appropriate organisational culture will promote increased performance. It is well-known that there is a connection between company performance and organisational culture. Although organisational objectives are not limited to objectives, the culture adapted in an organisation contributes to achievement of other indicators of success. These indicators can be seen in the market share, revenues, sales volume and stock price. Additionally, having a culture that fits with the demands of the company's environment increases the chances of achieving objectives (Huczynski & Buchanan 2007).

Many scholars and theorists have found a direct link between an organisational culture and its capability to achieve its objectives. In most cases, organisational performance is the best tool to access if the organisational culture is ensuring achievement of objectives in an organisation. Many researchers have found a direct link between an organisation's culture and its capability to meet its objectives. One of the best levels to start enhancements so as to achieve the organisation's objectives is to examine the organisation's work culture. Regardless of whether an organisation's culture is carefully designed and implemented or occurs naturally, it determines the success of a company (Robbins 2009).

Link between Various Organisational Elements and the Organisation's Culture

Organisational Culture and Organisational Structure

There is a very close relationship between organisational structure and organisational culture. Organisational structure is the process by which a firm or a company arranges its management and lines of command or authority (Robbins 2009). In a business environment, an organisational structure determines the attitudes, ethics, behaviours and dispositions that create the work culture. If an organisational culture is highly hierarchical and with decision making power centralised at the top, an organisation's culture will likely reflect a lack of autonomy and freedom at the lower levels of the organisation. In a company with a decentralised structure, increased levels of shared authority and power at all levels, the organisational culture is likely to be personalised, accountable and independent (Robbins 2009). The link between organisational structure and culture is that the process, in which power and authority are allocated, determines the culture. Additionally, very functional organisational cultures will feature high formalisation of duties, jobs and roles. In such an organisation, the conduct of workers based on acceptance, understanding of structural values has low importance.

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Organisational Structure and Organisational Strategy

Organisational strategy is all the actions that an organisation intends to use or take so as to accomplish both the short and long term goals. Organisational strategy and organisational culture are closely related because organisational strategy can be formulated by studying the organisational culture that already exists (Robbins, DeCenzo, Coulter & Woods 2013). Organisational strategy tends to be affected by the culture in the company. Organisational culture stipulates the pattern in which things are done in a company. A culture that can be described as rich can influence the implementation of a strategy in an organisation. The culture is responsible for the behaviour and attitudes among the employees. A sound culture can mean having an effective strategy. An organisation that does not have a frail culture is destined to either roam along or be subdued by competitors with a prevailing culture (Huczynski & Buchanan 2007). A good example of the link between culture and strategy can be seen at the top management of a company with a strong culture of hiring energetic, young and brilliant committed employees who help steer the company to success.

Organisational Culture and Organisational Motivation

Culture and motivation in an organisation have a lot in common. Organisational motivation is based on attitudes, beliefs, and values. Therefore, influencing the motivation, it is possible to influence and change durable patterns of behaviours and behaviours (Jones & George 2009). When employees are recognised because of their behaviours and motivated, a culture of good behaviours is promoted in an organisation. In an organisation with a well and strong shaped organisational culture, different models and methods of staff motivation could be expected.

Why Organisational Culture has Become Important in Modern Organisation

Organisational culture has become an essential building block for organisations' success in the current world. Organisations are trying to become exceptional through adaption of unique values, ideologies and beliefs. In the modern business world, organisational culture has become a concern to both business leaders and employees seeking employment. Employees are now seeking employment in organisations where they feel the culture promotes their career or professional development. Organisational culture is becoming highly essential in the war for retention and employee talent at all firms of all nature in the globe. Modern organisational culture has become the personality of organisations, and it cannot be faked (Bartol 2007). Therefore, establishment of unique culture has become a fundamental element to the sustainability and success of any company or organisation. In the modern world, organisational culture has become a basis on which employees are rewarded. The culture of the workplace is that promoting healthy competition in many organisations. Employees are always trying their best to perform better than their colleagues. They are aiming to gain recognition and appreciations from the top management (Robbins 2009).

There has been a growing apprehension over the ways many corporates have chosen to do business in the recent past. Organisation culture as management concept has been recognised as one of the numerous mechanisms that executives in an organisation can use to grow a dynamic and complex organisation (Jones & George 2009). Management in a company is responsible for initiating the culture development process by imposing their assumptions and hopes on their followers. As an organisation stabilises because of success in accomplishing its objectives, the leader's assumptions and ideologies become shares, and embedding these assumptions can then be seen as a process of socialising of new members in an organisation. Leaders become successful by being consistent in sending clear signals about their beliefs, values and priorities. Once a culture is established and accepted, they become a strong leadership tool that communicates the leadership values and beliefs to the rest of the organisation's members and especially new staff. It has thus become important that leaders in the modern world promote ethical cultures. This is leading to increased corporate success by maintaining organisational growth (Kreitner 2009).

It has also become imperative in the contemporary world that organisations have some set culture so as to decide how employees interact with each other at work place (Kreitner 2009). With the right culture, employees will always work together, become motivated and loyal towards the organisation and management. Also, in the modern business world, organisational culture has become important because it is going a long way in creating the brand name or image of the organisation. The work culture that an organisation adopts is increasingly becoming the identity of the organisation in the market (Linstead, Fulop & Lilley 2009). Organisational culture has also been cited as the best tool that is extracting the best out of personnel in a corporation. In a corporation where the management emphasises strict reporting system, employees develop habits that make them successful. They can develop a habit of reporting to work before the ordinary hours or even work late after work hours so as to meet the deadlines given. Therefore, coming up or creating the right culture is an inherently clinched concept. It is a magic element that differentiates good organisations from great organisations.

Different Types of Organisational Cultures

There are four main types of corporate cultures. They include clan, adhocracy, hierarchy and market. Clan oriented cultures have the form of a family, and such a culture will focus on nurturing, mentoring and encourage things to be done together in an organisation. In the values matrix, clan is similar to control or hierarchy organisational culture because there is an inward focus on the importance of integration (Linstead, Fulop & Lilley 2009). However, clan culture in an organisation emphasises discretion and flexibility rather than control or market organisations. The main advantages of this culture are that with a focus on nurturing and mentoring, employees are made very competent in carrying out their responsibilities. It promotes mutual learning in an organisation (Kreitner 2009). However, it is prone to some disadvantages that include lack of dissent; a clan culture is likely to be abuse; there is lack authority and lack diversity in such culture. An organisation with a clan culture tends to be very homogenous. Clan culture robs an organisation the likelihood of diversity in the work force. Employees are made to work as a unit with similar values, beliefs and ideologies. Clan culture is prone to abuse because of its friendly, open and appreciative nature. If employees decide to use the tolerance in this culture, they can become very relaxed in discharging or doing their work. Since employees are given the autonomy and freedom to do what they want, some may decide to conduct their business during work time (Davidson 2008).

Adhocracy oriented cultures are entrepreneurial and dynamic. This culture's main focus is risk taking, doing things first and being innovative. As a result of lack of strict organisational paths, an organisation with this culture is quick in the changing environment as the market dictates. The main advantages of this culture are that as an effect of its elasticity and adaptableness, an organisation with this culture is able to operate and thrive well in situations that seem to be unmanageable (McFarlin & Sweeney 2010). However, an organisation adapting Adhocracy can run into problems in case a defined leadership is required. Therefore, Adhocracy's main disadvantages is that it may not prove to be an efficient culture in solving routine problems, maintaining clear communication, and it lacks a risk management plan. Additionally, an organisation that runs an adhocracy culture tends to be dependent on technology. An organisation with adhocracy lacks any formal procedures, and this makes personnel handle each work problem differently (Robbins 2009).

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Market oriented cultures tend to be results oriented. They focus on achievement, competition and getting the job done. This culture is oriented towards external environment instead of internal corporate affairs. Some of the advantages of having a market oriented culture is the fact that it is customer centred; it has a high rate of adaptability, it is responsive and has the ability to improve continually (Davidson 2008). However, one of the major disadvantages of this culture is the fact that it is very expensive to maintain. It requires extensive research of the external environment of the business, and this is often costly. Another disadvantage is that market oriented culture is prone to external influences. In case an organisation does not have effective tools and resources to conduct market research, it is deemed to fail in achieving its objectives.

The last type of organisational culture is hierarchy or control culture. Hierarchy oriented culture is very bureaucratic, structured and controlled. An organisation with this culture focuses on stability, efficiency and completing tasks in the right way. The main advantages of having this culture are that there is an effective and efficient reporting structure and authority. Additionally, in the hierarchy oriented culture, there is clear communication with stipulated procedures. However, hierarchy oriented culture lacks collaboration among employees and also lacks innovation (Linstead, Fulop & Lilley 2009).

Ways in Which Organisations Can Introduce Practices into Their Organisations to Build Organisational Culture They Desire

Organisational culture can be very dynamic. As employees leave the organisation and new ones are hired, the organisational culture may change. Having a clear process of achieving the desired culture can be the beginning of having a desired culture. To have a desired organisational culture, an organisation should first assess the current culture (Bartol 2007). An organisation can hire consultants to assess its culture. However, a quick way to assess the current culture is to look around and observe how employees act and what they do, as well as determine their common values, ideologies and beliefs. The next step to achieving a desired culture is to determine the desired company culture. This is an essential step since it governs the direction in which the company will move in terms of culture. The organisation should identify a culture that it thinks will work best so as to achieve the mission, vision, goals and objectives. The next step in achieving the desired culture is to align the company culture (Linstead, Fulop & Lilley 2009). An organisation needs to align its culture with its strategic goals if the current culture is not clear. Developing an effective action plan, brainstorming improvements are needed; developing models of the desired culture and communicating the new culture will help achieve the desired culture. The last step in achieving a desired culture will be over communicating the newly desired culture to all people in the organisation. It is only an organisation culture that is well aligned with the goals that will work in an organisation.

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