The Internal environment within which managers work includes corporate culture, production technology, organization structure, and physical facilities. Of these corporate culture has surfaced as extremely important to competitive advantages. The internal culture most fits the needs of the external environment and company strategic . When this fit occurs highly committed employees create a high performance organization that is tough to beat.
Culture: The set of key values, beliefs, understandings and norms that members of an organization share.
The concept of culture has been of growing concern to managers since the 1980s, as turbulence in the external environment has grown, often requiring new values and attitudes. Organizational culture has been defined and studied in many and varied ways. We define culture as the key values, beliefs, understandings and norms shared by members of an organization . The concept of culture helps mangers understand the hidden complex, aspects of organizational life. Culture is a pattern of shared values and assumptions about how things are done within the organizations. This pattern is learned by members as they cope with external and internal problems and taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel. Culture can be analyzed at three levels as illustrated in Exhibit with each level becoming less obvious. At the surface level are visible, artifacts which include such things as manner of dress, patterns of behavior, physical symbols, organizational ceremonies and office layout. Visible artifacts are all the things one can see, hear and observe by watching members of the organization. At a deeper level are the expressed values and beliefs, which are not observable but can be discerned from how people explain and justify what they do. These are values that members of the organization hold a conscious level. They can be interpreted from the stories, language and symbols organization members use to represent them. Some values become so deeply embedded in a culture that members are no longer consciously aware of them. These basic, underlying assumptions and beliefs are the essence of culture and subconsciously guide behavior and decisions. In some organizations, a basic assumption might be that people are essentially lazy and will shirk their duties, whenever possible, thus employees are closely supervised and given little freedom, and colleagues, are frequently suspicious of one another . More enlightened organizations operate on the basic assumption that people want to do a good job; in these organizations , employees are given more freedom and responsibility and colleagues trust one another and work cooperatively.
The fundamental values that characterizes an organization’s culture can be understood through the visible manifestations of symbols, stories, heroes, slogans, and ceremonies.
A symbol is an object act or event that conveys meaning to others. Symbols can be considered a rich, non verbal language that vibrantly conveys the organization’s important values concerning how people relate to one another and interact with the environment. For example managers at a New York based start up provides Internet solutions to local television broadcasters wanted a way to symbolize the company’s unofficial mantra of drilling down to solve problem . They bought a dented old drill for $2 and dubbed it The Team drill. Each month the drill is presented to a different employee in recognition of exceptional work, and the employee personalizes drill in some way before passing it on to the next winner.
Steel Corp., built a new, pyramid shaped corporate development center to symbolize new cultural values of collaboration , teamwork, and innovation. Whereas designers, engineers, and marketers had previously been located in different buildings, they’re now all housed in the pyramid. The six floor building features an open atrium from ground floor to ceiling with a giant pendulum to remind people of constant change. Open areas and thought stations with white boards encourage brainstorming and the exchange of ideas.
Source: Richard L.Daft