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Chapter 10

COMM 292 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Ethical Movement, Organizational Commitment, Organizational Culture

Course Code
COMM 292
Angela Kelleher

of 5
COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour
Chapter 10
What Is Organizational Culture?
Definition of Organizational Culture:
Patterns of shared values, beliefs, and assumptions considered to be the appropriate way to
think and act within an organization
o Culture is shared by the members of the organization
o Culture helps members solve and understand the thinks that it encounters (internally
and externally)
o Members believe the belief, expectations are valid and are taught to new members
o Assumptions, beliefs, expectations influence how people perceive/feel within the
Groups with high turnover or that face challenges may not develop cultures
Levels of Culture:
Artifacts: aspects of an organization's culture that you see, hear, and feel
Beliefs: understanding of how objects and ideas relate to each other
Values: stable, long-lasting beliefs about what is happening
Assumptions: taken-for-granted notions of how something should be
Characteristics of Culture:
There are seven primary characteristics that capture the essence of an organization's culture
Innovation and risk-taking: degree to which employees are encouraged to be innovative
and risk-taking
Attention to detail: employees are expected to work with precision, analysis and attention
to detail
Outcome oriented: management focuses on results, or outcomes, rather that on techniques
and processes
People orientation: management decisions take into consideration the effect of outcomes on
people within the organization
Team orientation: work activities are organized around teams rather than individuals
Aggressiveness: people are aggressive and competitive rather than easygoing and
Stability: organizational activities emphasize maintaining status quo is contrast to growth
Culture's Functions:
Culture has boundary-defining roles because it creates distinction between organizations
Culture conveys a sense of identity to organization members
Culture helps create commitment to something larger than an individual's interest
Culture enhances stability, holds the organization and it members together
Culture serves as a control to guide and shade attitudes and behaviours of employees
Culture lays out the rules, both explicit and implicit
Do Organizations Have Uniform Cultures?
COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour
Employees from different backgrounds and levels should have the same organizational
Dominant culture: system of shared meaning that expresses the core values shared by a
majority of the organization's members
Subcultures: mini-cultures within an organization, typically defined by department
designations and geographical separation
o Strong subcultures can make it hard for managers to implement organizational change
Core values: primary, or dominant, values that are accepted throughout the organization
Reading an Organization's Culture
Strong culture: culture in which the core values are intensely held and widely shared
o Weak cultures may not create attachment to the organization for employees
Strong culture demonstrates high agreement among employees and builds cohesiveness,
loyalty and organizational commitment
Stories about organizations, their employees and managers tell about the organizations
legitimacy for current practices
Repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the key values of the
o What goals are important, which people are important, and which ones are
Material Symbols:
Size of offices, elegance of furnishings, executive perks, dress code, uniform, etc.
o Corporate logos, signs, brochures, advertisements real aspects of the organization's
Material symbols convey to employees, customers and clients who is important, and the
kinds of behaviour that are appropriate
Organization use language as a way to identify members of a culture or subculture
Organizations develop unique terms to describe equipment, offices, staff, suppliers,
customers, etc.
Creating and Sustaining an Organization's Culture
Culture is often derived from the philosophy of its founders
o This creates a selection criteria that top managers use to choose future employees
How a Culture Begins:
Founders only hire and keep employees who think and feel the way they do
Founders indoctrinate and socialize these employees of their way of thinking and feeling
Founders' behaviour acts as a role model, encouraging employees to identify with the
COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour
o Internalize those beliefs, values and assumptions
o Founders' personality becomes embedded in the culture of the organization
Keeping a Culture Alive:
Human resource practices act to maintain a culture within an organization
o Selective process, performance evaluation criteria, training and development, etc.
o Ensure employees fit in with the culture, with rewards or penalties
Identify and hire individuals who have the knowledge, skills and ability to perform the job
o How the candidate will fit into the organization will often be the main determinant
o Perspective employees may find a conflict with the culture or the other way around
Top Management:
Actions of tap management have a major impact on the organization's culture
o What they say, and how they behave establishes norms that filter through the
o Establishes the level of risk, what is appropriate, etc.
Process that adapts new employees to an organization's culture
o Training programs that help new employees adapt and learn about an organization's
Socialization can be conceptualizes as a process with three stages
Pre-arrival Stage: period of learning in the socialization process that occurs before a new
employee joins the organization
o Learn the values, attitudes, and expectations of the organization
Encounter stage: new employees see what the organization is really like and confronts the
possibility that expectations and reality may diverge
o Proper selection will reduce the chance of new employees not adapting to the culture
Metamorphosis stage: new employees adjust to the values and norms of the job, work
group, etc.
o The more formal the socialization process the better chance the culture will be
o New employee becomes comfortable with the organization and their job
o New employee has internalized the norms of the organization
o New employee feels accepted, trusted, valued and is self-confident
o New employee understands how they will be evaluated and the associated criteria that
is used
The Liabilities of Organizational Culture
Culture as a Barrier to Change:
Employees are less likely to share values if the work environment is dynamic
o Rapid change in organizations reduces the effect of an entrenched organizational