Creating Corporate Culture

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Creating Corporate Culture

  1. 1. Lesson 5 Creating Corporate CultureIntroductionA lot of people do not understand that culture is man-made in the sense that it is formed throughevents which take place in history in order to help individuals cope with their environment.When we begin to explore how it has been formed it becomes easier to unlearn it. The redundantorganizational rituals begin to be demystified and new rituals formed. This is important becausea key role of a leader is to create culture. It is also important for us to also keep in mind that‘organizational culture’ exists in the broader context of our national culture.Organizational culture has a great influence on decision-making and problem-solving at alllevels. Therefore, if we want to influence organizational decision-making, we need to firstexplore the assumptions behind the cultural framework.We are beginning to discover the role of leaders as architects. In the past, there has been thetendency to focus on building things that are tangible, but more and more it is becoming clear,that leaders have a role in creating culture.In doing business God’s way its important to know that God values pattern and principle. Hiskingdom has a culture and throughout scripture we see God establishing and reinforcing Hispattern even when it would go against the grain. The Kingdom of God is a counter culture.Examine this in the following verses:2 Tim. 2:2 “….entrust to reliable men who will also be able to teach others also.”Rom. 12:2 “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world.”Titus 2:1-6 “….In everything set them an example by doing what is good…”Jesus came and created a new culture by challenging the status quo.For lasting change to occur in our organizations, a change in organizational culture becomesnecessary. It is crucial for leaders to know how to bring about cultural transformation to theirorganizations. In order for this to happen, they need to understand what organizational culture is.Therefore, this lesson starts by explaining what organizational culture is.I. What is Organizational Culture?A. Organisational culture is shared and implicit.Organizational culture is “the set of a shared, taken for granted implicit assumption that a groupholds and that determines how it perceives, thinks about and reacts to its various environments”(Schein, 1996). As these environments are continuously changing, the organizational culturesoften need to change too.B. Organisational Culture consists of Values, Norms and Beliefs.C. Organisational culture is often unnoticed until it interfaces with other cultures.Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes with Answers) 26
  2. 2. Enculturation is the term used to describe how we tend to be unaware of our worldview orculture. ‘The air is unnoticed by us till we meet another atmosphere’. Eurocentricism orAfrocentricism is a form of enculturation.D. Organizational culture manifests itself in various forms. 1. Objects (shared things) 2. Talk (shared sayings) 3. Behaviour (shared doings) 4. Emotions (shared feelings)E. Organisational culture operates at different levels.Organizational culture encompasses a wide range of phenomena: 1. Surface features: values, rituals, customs, forms of expression 2. Preconscious factors: symbols, ideology, and norms 3. Deep structures: Basic assumptions, worldviews, cognitive and logical systemsHow would you describe your organization’s culture at all three levels?F. Organisational culture often stems from three main sources.Schein (1996) points three sources from which culture springs. 1. Beliefs, values, and assumptions of founders 2. Learning experiences of group members 3. New beliefs, values and assumptions brought by new membersII. What is the function or purpose of organsisational culture?A. Organisational culture gives members an organizational identity.B. Organisational culture facilitates guiding principles for work processes.C. Organisational culture creates a framework for decision-making. D.Organisational culture shapes behaviour by helping members make sense of their surroundings. E. Organizational culture is a good metaphor for communicating lasting change.III. In what ways can we categorize corporate culture? There are a variety of metaphors commonly used to describe various types of corporate culture. Outlined below is a construct used by some. A. The Sage: Hierarchy Culture 1. Needs a full cognitive understanding of any change before it will be embraced 2. Influence and power stems primarily from knowledge and understanding 3. Has a strong internal focus maintained through effective procedures and efficient organisationBusiness God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes with Answers) 27
  3. 3. 4. Emphasis on quality is driven by an inner need for quality as much as the external need to satisfy customers. B. The Caregiver: Clan Culture • More emphasis is paid to relationships than to task • Internal communications are informal, sensitive and low key • Staff work individually to task, while working collectively towards a common cause • Management style will be ‘ask’ rather than ‘tell’ – minimal use of ‘command and control’. C. The Creator: Adhocracy Culture • Seeks to inspire and empower staff – any control is indirect • Is a dynamic, sociable and outward looking work environment • Abounds with innovative entrepreneurs • A desire to ‘make it happen’ ensures that change is embraced with open arms. D. The Warrior: Market Culture • Is goal driven and action oriented • Responds quickly and decisively to changes in the market • Values ‘determination and vigour’ ahead of ‘sensitivity and diplomacy’ • Runs a ‘tight ship’ and runs it well.We can also categorize corporate culture by other constructs such as leadership style (Autocratic,paternalistic, consultative, participative, delegative, abdicative.); degrees of control (internal orexternal); the nature of reality; truth; time; space; activity and relationships.IV. What is the impact of culture on corporate performance?The culture of an organization will determine its decision-making process and in turn, its overallperformance. A. Culture affects the description of problems and how we come about to solutions. B. Culture affects our view of possibilities. C. Culture affects how we measure, formulate and define success (cognitive maps). D. Culture affects the implementation strategies and how they are carried through. E. Culture affects our reward systems; who we reward and why. F. Culture affects what is tolerated and what is celebrated. G. Culture affects decision-making on promotions and dismissals. H. Culture affects how we allocate resources.How has your organization’s culture shaped your decision-making process?V. How can one diagnose the culture of one’s organization?Earlier on, it was pointed out that culture operates at three levels. We stated that the third level isthe level of assumptions and worldviews. People share the same world-view when there areshared assumptions about the more abstract, general, deeper issues mentioned above. As you gothrough these, reflect on your own worldview and culture. Ask yourself what aspects of yourorganizational culture have been detrimental to your corporate performance and quality of worklife.You can diagnose aspects of your organisation’s culture by answering the following:Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes with Answers) 28
  4. 4. 1. What beliefs are strongly held? 2. How do parents/leaders teach children/employees to behave? 3. What do people regard as major sins? 4. What do people do in crises? 5. What rituals do people perform? 6. What are the greatest fears people have? 7. Who are the trendsetters? 8. Who are the cultural heroes? 9. What is expressed in the art forms of the people? 10. What aspects of the culture are most resistant to change? 11. What are considered to be words of wisdom?What is the prevailing culture in your organization?Describe how these patterns of thought have influenced your organization (negatively orpositively).Which of these words below are reflections of organizational Leadership culture of firms youhave worked for or are familiar with? Autocratic, paternalistic, consultative, participative,delegative, abdicative.VI. In what way can a new culture be established in an organization? Albert Einstein: “we cannot solve today’s problems by thinking in the same way we thought when we created them.” Peter Senge: “The problems we face today are the result of yesterday’s solutions.”Its amazing how so many leaders today are attempting to bring about radical change withoutchanging their systems radically. There is the tendency to expect a change in output whilstremaining with the same inputs. A lot of change strategies have only focused on businessprocesses, but often this only results in short-term change. This is simply because thoseexecuting these processes are still operating from the same worldviews and paradigms.Schein (1996) outlines a number of culture-embedding mechanisms that leaders can intentionallyuse to create culture. Culture-Embedding MechanismsEmbedding Mechanisms Articulation and Reinforcement MechanismsWhat leaders pay attention to, measure, Design and structure.control, and reward on a regular basis.How leaders react to critical incidents and Rites and rituals.organizational crises.Deliberate modeling, teaching, and coaching. Space design, facades, and buildings.Criteria by which leaders allocate rewards and Legends and myths about people and events.status.Criteria by which leaders recruit, select, Formal communication of organizationalpromote, retire, and ex-communicate philosophy, values, and creed.organizational members.Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes with Answers) 29
  5. 5. ConclusionThere is an organizational culture that is developing today. It is characterized by long workinghours, cost reduction, a short-term contract culture, and so-called “stable insecurity” inorganizations. (This is characteristic of the new entrepreneurial contracts within largeorganizations). It is paramount that we understand that we can create culture and do not have toleave it to chance. Understanding organizational culture is therefore a central and foundationalaspect of organizational behaviour.Reflect on your own family or business: • How would you describe the culture of your household/business? What have you done to create this culture, consciously or subconsciously? • If there is a new culture you would like to create in your family/business, what embedding mechanisms can you use to create such a culture?Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes with Answers) 30

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