Mahmood Qasim slides on organizational culture for organizational behaviour students
Information Processing View
Contingency and Ecological
A learning organization is the term given to a Company that
facilitates the learning of its members and continuously
transforms itself. Learning organizations develop as a
result of the pressures facing modern organizations and
enables them to remain competitive in the business
environment. A learning organization has five main
features; systems thinking, personal mastery, mental
models, shared vision and team learning.
Distinction made by Chris Argyris and his Colleagues
Single - loop
Double - loop
The idea of the learning organization developed
from a body of work called System Thinking.
This is a conceptual framework that allows people to
study businesses as bounded objects. Learning
organizations use this method of thinking When
assessing their company and have information systems
that measure the performance of the organization as
a whole and of its various components. Systems thinking
states that all the characteristics must be apparent at
once in an organization for it to be a learning
organization. If some of these Characteristics are missing
then the organization will fall short of its goal.
However O’Keeffe believes that the characteristics of
a learning organization are factors that are gradually
acquired, rather than developed simultaneously.
The commitment by an individual to the process of learning
is known as personal mastery. There is a competitive
advantage for an organization whose workforce can learn
more quickly than the workforce of other organizations.
Individual learning is acquired through staff training
and development, however learning cannot be forced
upon an individual who is not receptive to learning.
Research shows that most learning in the workplace is
incidental, rather than the product of formal training,
therefore it is important to develop a culture where
personal mastery is practiced in daily life. A learning
organization has been described as the sum of individual
learning, but there must be mechanisms for individual
learning to be transferred into organizational learning.
The assumptions held by individuals and organizations
are called mental models. To become a learning
organization, these models must be challenged.
Individuals tend to espouse theories, which are what
they intend to follow, and theories-in-use, which
are what they actually do. Similarly, organizations
tend to have ‘memories’ which preserve certain
behaviors, norms and values. In creating a learning
environment it is important to replace confrontational
attitudes with an open culture that promotes
inquiry and trust. To achieve this, the learning
organization needs mechanisms for locating and assessing
organizational theories of action. Unwanted values
need to be discarded in a process called ‘unlearning’.
Wang and Ahmed refer to this as ‘triple loop learning.’
The development of a shared vision is important in motivating
the staff to learn, as it creates a common identity that
provides focus and energy for learning. The most
successful visions build on the individual visions of the
employees at all levels of the organization, thus the
creation of a shared vision can be hindered by traditional
structures where the company vision is imposed from
above. Therefore, learning organizations tend to have
flat, decentralized organizational structure. The shared
vision is often to succeed against a competitor, however
Senge states that these are transitory goals and
suggests that there should also be long term goals
that are intrinsic within the company
The accumulation of individual Learning constitutes Team
Learning. The benefit of team or shared learning is that
staff grow more quickly and the problem solving capacity of
the organization is improved through better access to
knowledge and expertise. Learning organizations have
structures that facilitate team learning with features such
as boundary crossing and openness. Team learning requires
individuals to engage in dialogue and discussion; therefore
team members must develop open communication, shared
meaning, and shared understanding. Learning organizations
typically have excellent knowledge management structures,
allowing creation, acquisition, dissemination, and
implementation of this knowledge in the organization.
Distinction made by Chris Argyris and his Colleagues
Single - loop
Double - loop
Single – loop Learning
Learning involves improving
the organization’s capacity to achieve
known objectives. It is associated with
routine and behavioral learning. Under
single-loop, the organization is learning
without significant change in its basic
Double – loop Learning
Learning reevaluates the nature of the
organization’s objectives and the values
and beliefs surrounding them. This type
of learning involves changing the
organization’s culture. Importantly,
double – loop consists of the organization’s
learning how to learn.
Peter Senge and colleagues proceeded to portray
the learning organization from a system theory
perspective and made the important distinction.
It is only the first stage of the learning
Organization, adapting to the environment
Changes. Adaptive changes such as
Implementing TQM, Benchmarking,
Six Sigma, Customer service initiatives.
six sigma, customer Service Initiatives.
It involves creativity and innovation,
going beyond just adapting to change to
being ahead of and anticipating change.
Vision is provided
by top management
Top management decides
what is to be done, and
the rest of The organization
acts on these ideas
There is a shared vision that can emerge
from many places, but top management
is responsible for ensuring that this
vision exists and is nurtured.
Formulation and implementation of ideas
take place at all levels of the
Each person is
responsible for his or her
own job responsibilities,
and the focus is on
Personnel understand their own jobs as well
as the way in which their own work
interrelates with and influences
that of other personnel.
Conflict are resolved
through the use of
power and hierarchical
Conflict are resolved through the use of
collaborative learning and the integration
of diverse viewpoints of personnel
throughout the organization.
The role of the leader Is to
establish the organization’s
vision, provide rewards and
punishments as appropriate
and maintain overall control
of employee activities.
The role of the leader is to build a shared
vision, empower the personnel, inspire
commitment, and encourage effective
decision making throughout the enterprise
through the use of empowerment
and charismatic leadership
Modern Organization Design
1. Organization revolves around the process,
not the task.
2. The Hierarchy is flattened.
3. Teams are used to manage everything.
Horizontal 4. Customers drive performance.
Organization 5. Team performance is rewarded.
6. Suppliers and customer contact is maximized.
7. All employees need to be fully informed and
1. Network organization are based on
cooperative, multidisciplinary teams and
business networked together across the
Organization 2. Rather than a rigid structure, it is a modular
organizational architecture in which business
teams operate as a network of what we call
client and server functions.
1. Virtual organization requires a strong
information technology platform.
2. The virtual organization is a temporary network
of companies that comes together quickly to
exploit fast-changing opportunities.
2. Each partner contributes to the virtual
organization what it is best at – its core
The Contrast Between the Hierarchical and Network Organization
Rather than the old inflexible hierarchical pyramid, network organization
demand a flexible, spherical structure that can rotate competent,
self-managing teams and other resources around a common knowledge
base. Such teams, capable of quick action on the firm’s behalf both
externally and internally, provide a distinct competitive advantage.
Traditional Hierarchical Versus the Network Organization
Internal / Closed
External / Open
Reward & Punishment
Basis of Action
Empowerment to act
Achieve team goals
Competitive (my turf)
Detachment (it’s a job)
Basis for Compensation
Position in Hierarchy
Three Types of radical Redesign of Today’s Organization
As the term implies, this means starting from just a
piece of green field or from a clean slate,
breaking Completely from the classical structure
and establishing A totally different design.
For example: Google, Southwest Airlines
This is a more usual type of redesign, whereby established
Rediscovery Redesign companies such as General Electric return
to a previously successful design by eliminating
unproductive structural additions and modifications
Companies reverting to bureaucratic procedures.
In the network approach, the firm concentrates on where
it can add the greatest value in the supply chain,
and it outsource to upstream and/or downstream partners
who can do better job. This network of the firm
its upstream and downstream partners can be optimally
effective and flexible. Another network approach is to
require internal units of the firm to interact at Market
prices – buy and sell to each other at prices equal to
those that can be obtained by outsourcing partners.
The Organizational Culture Context
A cognitive framework consisting of attitudes, values, behavioral
norms, and expectations shared by organization members.
1. Innovations: the extent to which people are expected
to be creative.
2. Stability: value a stable, predicted, rule-oriented
3. Orientation towards people: being fair, supportive, and
showing respect for individual’s right.
4. Result orientation: the strength for achievement.
5. Easygoingness: extent to which atmosphere is relaxed.
6. Attention to details: concern for being analytical
7. Collaborative orientation: emphasis on working in teams
as opposed to individually.
Dominant Culture Defined
The overall culture of an organization, reflected
by core values that are shared throughout the
Dominant Culture Characteristics
1. Reflects its core values, dominant perception
that are generally shared throughout the
2. Core values shared by a majority of the
3. Dominant culture guide day-to-day behavior.
Culture existing within parts of organizations rather
than entirely through them. Members of subcultures
share values in addition to the core values of their
organization as a whole.
1. Values shared by minority of the members.
2. Are results of problems or experiences that are
shared by members of a department or unit.
3. These typically are distinguished with respect to
either functional differences or geographic distance.
4. They are usually formed to help the member of
a particular group deal with the specific day-to-day
problems with which they are confronted.
5. They can weaken and undermine an organization
if they are in conflict with the dominant culture .
Provides a sense
Types of Organizational Culture
An organization that provides
opportunities for people to
master many different jobs
and to move from one to
Coca-Cola, General Motors, IBM
People in such organizations
tend to be entrepreneurs who
take risks and are handsomely
rewarded for their Success.
banking, law, accounting.
Military, Delta Airlines and United
These organizations are
concerned with getting
people to fit in and be loyal.
They highly value age and
These organizations offer
challenges of seeing a
company turn around Those
who doesn’t mind lack of job
security, for them such
organizations are stimulating
place to work.
Formation and Maintenance of
Several factors contribute to the emergence and
maintenance of organizational culture
Statements of principles
Why and How Does
Organizational Culture Change?
Composition of the Workforce
Mergers and Acquisitions
Planned Organizational Change
Questions for Presentations
How does a learning organization differ from a traditional
Briefly define the horizontal, network, and virtual organization
design. How does these differ form the classical design? How do
they better meet the challenges of the new environment?
What is meant by the term organizational culture? Define it and
give some examples of its characteristics. How does a dominant
culture differ form a subculture?
How do organizational cultures develop? What four steps
What kinds of events might be responsible for the changing of
organizational culture? Explain why these events are likely to be
How do organizations go about maintaining their cultures? What
steps are involved? Describe them.
Characterize the culture of any organization with which you
may be familiar by describing the core characteristics
collectively valued by its members. Would you consider it an
academy, club, baseball team or fortress?
Suppose you are founding a new company. Describe how you
might either intentionally or unintentionally affect its culture.
How might your influences linger within the organization long
after you have left it?