Organizational Culture Chapter 10
What is organizational culture?
Understanding of “how things are done around here”
Sets tone for organization’s operations and how people interact within the organization
Definition of Organizational Culture
Organizational culture – the patterns of shared values, beliefs, and assumptions considered to be the
appropriate way to think and act within an organization
High turnover – unlikely that cultures are developed
Shared by all members of the organization
Helps members solve and understand the things that it encounters, internally and externally
Members believe that the beliefs, assumptions and expectations are valid because they have worked over time
taught to people who are new to the org.
Strongly influence how people perceive, think, feel and behave
Levels of Culture
Below the surface: Beliefs, values assumptions – produces observable aspects of culture at surface
o Beliefs – understandings of how objects and ideas relate to each other
o Values – stable, long-lasting beliefs about what is important
o Assumptions – take-for-granted notions of how something sould be
Artifacts – aspects of org. culture that you see, hear and feel
o Material symbols, language used, rituals carried out, stories told to others
If we can uncover the underlying layers, we can understand why organizations do the things that we observe
Characteristics of Culture
Innovation and Risk taking – degree to which employees are encouraged to be innovative and take risks
Attention to detail – degree to which employees are expected to work with precision, analysis and attention to detail
Outcome orientation – degree to which management focuses on results or outcomes rather than techniques and
People orientation - degree to which management decisions take into consideration the effect of outcomes on other
in the org.
Team orientation – degree to which work activities are organized around teams rather than individuals
Aggressiveness - degree to which people are aggressive and competitive rather than easygoing and supporting
Stability – degree to which org. activities emphasize maintaining the status quo in contrast to growth
Boundary defining role – due to distinction created between different organizations Conveys sense of identity to members
Creates commitment to something larger than self-interest
Enhances stability – social glue – by providing appropriate standards of what to say and do
Control mechanism – guides attitudes and behaviors of employees and helps them make sense of the org.
o Until newcomers accept and learn the rules, they are not yet full-fledged members
May also influence ethical behavior
Do organizations have uniform cultures?
Dominant culture – system of shared meaning that expresses the core values shared by a majority of the org.’s
o Macro view
o Gives org. a distinct personality
Subcultures – mini-cultures within an org.
o Defined by department designations and geographical separation
Core values – dominant values accepted throughout the org. Reading an Organization’s Culture
Strong culture – a culture in which the core values are intensely held and widely shared
Great influence on members due to high degree of shared experiences and intensity to create an internal climate of
high behavioral control
High agreement about what the org. stands for
Builds cohesiveness, loyalty & org. commitment
In contrast: Weak Culture – employees don’t feel strong commitment towards the org. and their co-workers
Typically told about the org.’s founder – rags to riches story
Reductions in workforce, relocation of employees, reactions to past mistakes, org. coping – provide explanation and
legitimacy for current practices
Rituals – repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the key values of an org.
o Which goals are most important
o Which people are important and which are expendable
Ex. Types of cars of executives, presence or absence of corporate aircraft, size of offices, elegance of furnishings, exec.
Logos, signs, brochures, ads
Convey to customers and clients who is important, the degree of egalitarianism desired by top management, kinds of
Way to identify members of a culture or subculture
Members show their acceptance of the c