Organizational Behaviour Stephen Robbins 14Ed. Chapter 16

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Kelli J Schutte

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  • Organizational culture is an important concept in studying how organizations behave. Culture has significant impact on how individuals interpret the impact of their behavior and make decisions about their actions. Culture is defined as a common perception held by the members of the organization or a sense of shared meaning.
    Cultures have 7 primary characteristics that define the organization. They are: innovation and risk taking, attention to detail, outcome orientation, people orientation, team orientation, aggressiveness, and stability.
  • There are several different groupings that most cultures fit into. These groups describe the organization in an effort to help increase the understanding of how an organization works. There are different aspects of culture that need to be defined to help lay a foundation for understanding what culture is.
    Dominant culture is the core values that are shared by the majority of employees in the organization.
    Subcultures are when there are a variety of different cultures within the organization. These subcultures typically are divided by department and/or geographical separation.
    Core values are the primary values that most people in the organization accept.
    A strong culture is one in which the core values are intensely held and shared by most.
    These definitions are key components of a culture and will help you further understand organizational culture.
  • Cultures take on distinct functions. Some of the things that cultures do are defining the boundary between one organization and others. They also convey a sense of identity for the members of the organization. If the cultures are strong, they can facilitate a continuous commitment to something larger than self-interest over an extended period of time. Cultures also help people know what to expect in the organization and can thereby enhance the stability of the social system. Through doing this, it can also serve as a sense-making and control mechanism for fitting employees into the organization.
  • Culture can also be a hindrance to an organization. A company can become institutionalized when people value the organization more than what they provide. When cultures are strong, they can become a barrier to change as their values may not align with the values needed to embrace or facilitate the change. Cultures that may pressure employees to conform can be a barrier to hiring, developing, and promoting a diverse workforce. Finally, if a merger or acquisition occurs, one of the most difficult things to do is to merge the two cultures, causing many mergers to fail.
  • Cultures start from the very beginning of the organization with the founders. Founders will tend to hire and keep employees who view things in a similar fashion. They will also try to get employees to think about things the way they do and socialize them to their point of view and ways of doing things. This is done so that the founders’ behavior will become the behavior to model after in order to succeed in the organization and to fit in.
  • The socialization process involves a few steps. The employee will learn about the organization through literature, interviews, and other people in the prearrival stage. Once the employee starts interacting with other employees, they enter the encounter stage where they see what the organization is really like. In this stage often their expectations are measured against the reality and sometimes they do not align. The third stage is called metamorphosis, when the new employee adjusts to the organization and their work.
  • There are a number of possible socialization programs. Each organization needs to select one that best fits their culture. When the socialization process matches an organization’s culture, they have positive outcomes including higher productivity, greater commitment, and lower turnover.
  • Organizational cultures begin with the founder of the organization, continue through the hiring of people who see things similarly, and are enforced through top management and socialization.
  • Employees learn the organizational culture through a number of avenues. They can gain an understanding of culture by hearing stories that present the past and provide explanations for current practices. Rituals, or repetitive sequences of activities, can reinforce the key values of the organization and provide insight into the culture. Material symbols such as dress codes, formal or informal, office size or style, and perks for key employees can denote who is important in an organization.
    Language is another way to learn about organizational culture as employees will express themselves in certain ways to indicate membership in the organization.
  • As cultures are created, it is important to incorporate ethics into the cultural norms from the very beginning. Certain characteristics will help develop high ethical standards, such as a high tolerance for risk, so people are not afraid to make mistakes; low to moderate in aggressiveness so that unethical behaviors are avoided and a focusing on the means as well as the outcomes so that ethics is embedded in both.
  • A positive organizational culture is one that builds on employee strengths so that employees can develop and grow. It also rewards more than it punishes so employees are not afraid to try new things and feel good about what they are contributing. Finally, it emphasizes individual vitality and growth so that employees are operating at full potential.
  • Spirituality also impacts organizational culture. Spirituality in the workplace is the recognition that people have an inner life that will help them be better workers and by doing meaningful work they will have a fuller life. It is not about organized religious practices.
  • Spirituality is especially important now as people need a counterbalance to the pressures and stress of the busyness of life. Often spirituality allows the employee to fulfill all aspects of their lives – body, mind, and spirit. Although the workplace is the dominant influence in people’s lives, they are not willing to accept purposeless work. They want to be able to incorporate their values into their work. More and more people realize that material possessions do not fulfill their needs. Therefore, a holistic approach to life – body, mind, and spirit – is essential and organizations will help their employees have fuller lives if they recognize this approach.
  • A spiritual organization will have a number of characteristics that help their employees reach their full potential and help them deal with work/life conflicts. These include:1. Strong sense of purpose
    Trust and respect
    Humanistic work practices
    Toleration of employee expression
  • There are a number of criticisms of incorporating spirituality in the workplace. The critics are calling for the research that supports the assertion that organizations are more successful when they allow for or promote spirituality. Also, people are asking if the organizations hold the right to impose values on their employees. Although spirituality is not about God or religious values and is more about helping employees find meaning and value in their work, the two may be confused or intertwined at times. Finally, critics wonder if spirituality and profits are compatible. Initial research shows that spirituality allows for greater productivity and dramatically lower turnover, indicating that spirituality helps to increase profits.
  • Organizational culture still exists within a local culture and that can’t be ignored. It is important that managers increase their ability to become more culturally sensitive through active listening, adjusting communication to the culture in which they are operating, and avoiding controversial topics in their discussions.
  • It is important to keep in mind that employees will form a perception of the organization based on things they observe. These opinions will affect their performance and job satisfaction so it is important to pay attention to organizational culture and its impact on employee outcomes.
  • Cultures begin with the founders of the organization and are very difficult to change once they become embedded. In order to maximize employee outcomes, it is important to hire people who fit in the organization and help them become socialized into the corporate culture. Managers can reinforce culture through their actions.
  • Organizational Behaviour Stephen Robbins 14Ed. Chapter 16

    1. 1. Kelli J. Schutte William Jewell College Robbins & Judge Organizational Behavior 14th Edition Organizational CultureOrganizational Culture 16-1Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    2. 2. Chapter Learning ObjectivesChapter Learning Objectives  After studying this chapter, you should be able to: – Define organizational culture and describe its common characteristics. – Compare the functional and dysfunctional effects of organizational culture on people and the organization. – Identify the factors that create and sustain an organization’s culture. – Show how culture is transmitted to employees. – Demonstrate how an ethical culture can be created. – Describe a positive organizational culture. – Identify characteristics of a spiritual culture. – Show how national culture may affect the way organizational culture is transported to a different country. 16-2Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    3. 3. Organizational CultureOrganizational Culture  Organizational Culture – A common perception held by the organization’s members; a system of shared meaning – Seven primary characteristics 1. Innovation and risk taking 2. Attention to detail 3. Outcome orientation 4. People orientation 5. Team orientation 6. Aggressiveness 7. Stability E X H I B I T 17-1 E X H I B I T 17-1 16-3Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    4. 4. Do Organizations Have Uniform Cultures?Do Organizations Have Uniform Cultures?  Culture is a descriptive term: it may act as a substitute for formalization  Dominant Culture – Expresses the core values that are shared by a majority of the organization’s members  Subcultures – Minicultures within an organization, typically defined by department designations and geographical separation  Core Values – The primary or dominant values that are accepted throughout the organization  Strong Culture – A culture in which the core values are intensely held and widely shared 16-4Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    5. 5. What Do Cultures Do?What Do Cultures Do?  Culture’s Functions 1. Defines the boundary between one organization and others 2. Conveys a sense of identity for its members 3. Facilitates the generation of commitment to something larger than self-interest 4. Enhances the stability of the social system 5. Serves as a sense-making and control mechanism for fitting employees in the organization 16-5Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    6. 6. Culture as a LiabilityCulture as a Liability  Institutionalization – A company can become institutionalized where it is valued for itself and not for the goods and services it provides  Barrier to change – Occurs when culture’s values are not aligned with the values necessary for rapid change  Barrier to diversity – Strong cultures put considerable pressure on employees to conform, which may lead to institutionalized bias  Barrier to acquisitions and mergers – Incompatible cultures can destroy an otherwise successful merger 16-6Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    7. 7. How Culture BeginsHow Culture Begins  Stems from the actions of the founders: – Founders hire and keep only employees who think and feel the same way they do. – Founders indoctrinate and socialize these employees to their way of thinking and feeling. – The founders’ own behavior acts as a role model that encourages employees to identify with them and thereby internalize their beliefs, values, and assumptions. 16-7Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    8. 8. Stages in the Socialization ProcessStages in the Socialization Process  Prearrival – The period of learning prior to a new employee joining the organization  Encounter – When the new employee sees what the organization is really like and confronts the possibility that expectations and reality may diverge  Metamorphosis – When the new employee changes and adjusts to the work, work group, and organization E X H I B I T 16-2 E X H I B I T 16-2 16-8Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    9. 9. Socialization Program OptionsSocialization Program Options  Choose the appropriate alternatives: – Formal versus Informal – Individual versus Collective – Fixed versus Variable – Serial versus Random – Investiture versus Divestiture  Socialization outcomes: – Higher productivity – Greater commitment – Lower turnover E X H I B I T 16-3 E X H I B I T 16-3 16-9Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall Source: Based on J. Van Maanen, “People Processing: Strategies of Organizational Socialization,” Organizational Dynamics, Summer 1978, pp. 19– 36; and E. H. Schein, Organizational Culture,” American Psychologist, February 1990, p. 116.
    10. 10. Summary: How Organizational Cultures FormSummary: How Organizational Cultures Form  Organizational cultures are derived from the founder  They are sustained through managerial action Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-10 E X H I B I T 16-4 E X H I B I T 16-4
    11. 11. How Employees Learn CultureHow Employees Learn Culture  Stories – Anchor the present into the past and provide explanations and legitimacy for current practices  Rituals – Repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the key values of the organization  Material Symbols – Acceptable attire, office size, opulence of the office furnishings, and executive perks that convey to employees who is important in the organization  Language – Jargon and special ways of expressing one’s self to indicate membership in the organization Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-11
    12. 12. Creating an Ethical Organizational CultureCreating an Ethical Organizational Culture  Characteristics of Organizations that Develop High Ethical Standards – High tolerance for risk – Low to moderate in aggressiveness – Focus on means as well as outcomes  Managerial Practices Promoting an Ethical Culture – Being a visible role model – Communicating ethical expectations – Providing ethical training – Rewarding ethical acts and punishing unethical ones – Providing protective mechanisms Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-12
    13. 13. Creating a Positive Organizational CultureCreating a Positive Organizational Culture  Positive Organizational Culture – A culture that: • Builds on employee strengths – Focus is on discovering, sharing, and building on the strengths of individual employees • Rewards more than it punishes – Articulating praise and “catching employees doing something right” • Emphasizes individual vitality and growth – Helping employees learn and grow in their jobs and careers  Limits of Positive Culture: – May not work for all organizations or everyone within them Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-13
    14. 14. Spirituality and Organizational CultureSpirituality and Organizational Culture  Workplace Spirituality – The recognition that people have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of the community – NOT about organized religious practices  People seek to find meaning and purpose in their work. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-14
    15. 15. Why Spirituality Now?Why Spirituality Now? – As a counterbalance to the pressures and stress of a turbulent pace of life and the lack of community many people feel and their increased need for involvement and connection. – Job demands have made the workplace dominant in many people’s lives, yet they continue to question the meaning of work. – The desire to integrate personal life values with one’s professional life. – An increasing number of people are finding that the pursuit of more material acquisitions leaves them unfulfilled. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-15 E X H I B I T 16-5 E X H I B I T 16-5
    16. 16. Characteristics of a Spiritual OrganizationCharacteristics of a Spiritual Organization  Concerned with helping people develop and reach their full potential  Directly addresses problems created by work/life conflicts  Four characteristics of spiritual organizations: 1. Strong sense of purpose 2. Trust and respect 3. Humanistic work practices 4. Toleration of employee expression Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-16
    17. 17. Criticisms of SpiritualityCriticisms of Spirituality  What is the scientific foundation? – It is still pending: needs more research  Are spiritual organizations legitimate – do they have the right to impose values on employees? – Spirituality is not about God or any religious values – It is an attempt to help employees find meaning and value in their work  Are spirituality and profits compatible? – Initial evidence suggests that they are – Spirituality may result in greater productivity and dramatically lower turnover Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-17
    18. 18. Global ImplicationsGlobal Implications  Organization cultures, while strong, can’t ignore local culture  Managers should be more culturally sensitive by: – Adjusting speech to cultural norms – Listening more – Avoiding discussions of controversial topics  All global firms (not just U.S. firms) need to be more culturally sensitive 16-18Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    19. 19. Culture as an Intervening VariableCulture as an Intervening Variable  Employees form an overall subjective perception of the organization based on these objective factors:  The opinions formed affect employee performance and satisfaction. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall 16-19 E X H I B I T 16-6 E X H I B I T 16-6
    20. 20. Summary and Managerial ImplicationsSummary and Managerial Implications  Strong cultures are difficult for managers to change – In the short run, strong cultures should be considered fixed  Selecting new hires that fit well in the organizational culture is critical for motivation, job satisfaction, commitment, and turnover  Socialization into the corporate culture is important  As a manager, your actions as a role model help create the cultural values of ethics, spirituality, and a positive culture 16-20Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
    21. 21. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Printed in the United States of America. Copyright ©2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 16-21Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall

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