• Organizational culture is the behavior of humans
who are part of an organization and the
meanings that the people attach to their actions.
Culture includes the organization values, visions,
norms, working language, systems, symbols,
beliefs and habits. It is also the pattern of such
collective behaviors and assumptions that are
taught to new organizational members as a way
of perceiving, and even thinking and feeling.
Organizational culture affects the way people and
groups interact with each other, with clients, and
• Ravasi and Schultz (2006) state that
organizational culture is a set of shared mental
assumptions that guide interpretation and action
in organizations by defining appropriate behavior
for various situations. At the same time although
a company may have their "own unique culture",
in larger organizations, there is a diverse and
sometimes conflicting cultures that co-exist due
to different characteristics of the management
team. The organizational culture may also have
negative and positive aspects.
• Schein (2009), Deal & Kennedy (2000), Kotter
(1992) and many others state that organizations
often have very differing cultures as well as
• Organizational culture refers to culture in any
type of organization be it school, university, notfor-profit groups, government agencies or
business entities. In business, terms such as
corporate culture and company culture are
sometimes used to refer to a similar concept.
• Atkinson explains org.l culture as reflecting the underlying
assumption about the way work is performed; what is
acceptable and not acceptable; and what behaviour and
actions are encouraged and discouraged.
• A more detailed definition could be : the collection of
traditions, values, policies, beliefs, and attitudes that
constitute a pervasive context for everything we do and
think in an org.
• Culture is reinforced through the system of rites, and
rituals, patterns of communication, the informal org,
expected patterns of behaviour and perceptions of the
Levels of Culture
Schine suggests a view of org.l culture based on
distinguishing three levels of culture:
3. Basic Underlying Assumptions
The most visible level of the culture is
artefacts and creations – the constructed
physical and social environment.
This includes physical space and layout, the
technological output, written and spoken
language and the behaviour of group
Level – 2: Values
Cultural learning reflects someone’s original
values. Solutions about how to deal with a
new task, issues or problems are based on
convictions of reality. If the solution works the
value can transform into a belief.
Values and beliefs become part of the
conceptual process by which group members
justify actions and behaviour.
Basic Underlying Assumptions
When a solution to a problem works repeatedly it
comes to be taken for granted.
Basic assumptions are unconsciously held learned
responses. They are implicit assumptions that
actually guide behaviour and determine how
group members perceive, think and feel about
Schein suggests that the basic assumptions are
treated as the essence – what culture really is,
and values and behaviors are treated as observed
manifestations of the cultures essence.
Types of Organizational Culture
According to Harrison and Handy there are four
main types of org.l cultures:
1. Power culture
2. Role Culture
3. Task Culture
4. Person Culture
1. Power Culture
power culture depends on a central power source with
rays of influence from the central figure throughout the
A power culture is frequently found in small
entrepreneurial org.s and relies on trust, empathy and
personal communications for its effectiveness.
Control is exercised from the centre by the selection of
There are a few rules and procedures, and little
bureaucracy. It is a political org with decisions taken
largely on the balance of influence.
2. Role Culture
Role Culture is often stereotyped as a
bureaucracy and works by logic and
Role culture rests on the strength of strong org.l
pillars – the functions of specialists in,
finance, purchasing and production.
3. Task Culture
Task culture is job-oriented or project oriented.
It seeks to bring together the right resources
and people, and utilities the unifying power of
Influence is widely spread and based more on
expert power than on position or personal
4. Person Culture
Person Culture is where the individual is the central focus and any
structure exists to serve the individuals within it.
When a group of people decide that is in their own interests to band
together to do their own thing and share office space, equipment
or clerical assistance then the resulting organization would have a
Ex: group of barristers, architects, doctors or consultants, etc.
Although it is found in only a few org.s many individuals have a
preference for person culture.
Ex: university professors.
Management hierarchies and control mechanisms are possible only by
Individuals have almost complete autonomy and any influence over
them is likely to be on the basis of personal power.
• Every org will have its own unique culture and
most large businesses are likely to be something
of a mix of cultures with examples of each of the
four types in varying areas of the org.
• Different people enjoy working in different types
of org culture and they are more likely to be
happy and satisfied at work if their attributes and
personalities are consistent with the culture of
that part of the org in which they are employed.