In order to gain a greater understanding about organisation behaviour, I will be looking at the subject of organisational culture. This essay will be concentrating on the topic of “Is there one best culture for organisation? ” The culture of an organisation is the system that affects the attitudes, decision-making and management style of its staff. It is refers to the exclusive relationship of norms, values, beliefs, ways of behaving and so on that characterize the manner in which groups and individuals combine to get things done.
However, it was found that there is no consensus on how culture should be defined and that scholars have variously defined it as a metaphor, an objective property of organisations and as a psychological phenomenon. The most significant functions of culture have been said to include conflict reduction, co-ordination and control, the reduction of uncertainly, motivation and competitive advantage. There are three most important sources of organisational culture. Firstly, the society or national culture within which an organisation is physically situated.
Secondly is about the vision, management style and personality of an organisation’s founder or the other dominant leader. Lastly is concerned with the type of business an organisation conducts and the nature of its business environment. Types of Organisational Culture A large number of different organisational cultures have been developed by different typologies. These are useful because they provide a broad overview of the sorts of variations that exist between cultures. The Harrison and Handy typology suggested four main types of organisational culture which are called power, role, task and person.
This simple classification scheme has been extremely influential and played a primary role in shaping the way in which culture scholars, students and practitioners have come to understand how organisations work. A power culture has a single source of power from which rays of influence spread throughout the organisation. These rays are connected by functional and specialist strings which facilitate co-ordinate action. The structure of a power culture may thus be pictured as a web.
The internal organisation of a power culture is highly dependent on trust, empathy and personal communication for its effectiveness. There are few rules and little need for bureaucratic procedures with control being exercised from the centre through the selection of key personnel and edict. Resource power and to a lesser extent charisma are the main bases for the exercise of authority here. For the most part individuals are encouraged to perform their tasks with few questions asked though important decisions are likely to be made as a result of political maneuvering.
The greatest strength of power cultures is their ability to react quickly but their success largely depends on the abilities of the person or people at the centre. Size can also be a problem, as the web can break if it is spread over too many activities and too great a geographic p. These cultures are often tough, abrasive and more interested in ends than the means used to attain them. Employees who are naturally political animals confident about the use of power and unconcerned about taking risks or issues of job security will thrive in this environment.
Failure to recruit appropriate personnel, however, may lead to low morale, high turnover in middle management positions and decisive action to move in an inappropriate strategic direction. A role culture is a bureaucracy, the organizing principles of which are logic and rationality. The strength of a role culture lies in its functions or specialties which can be thought of as a series of pillars which are co-ordinate and controlled by a small group of senior executives. Rules, procedures and job descriptions dominate the internal environment of a role culture and promotion is based on the satisfactory performance of individuals in their jobs.
Position power and to la lesser extent expert power are the main bases for the exercise of authority here. Role cultures are likely to be most successful in stable and predictable environments over which the organisations is able to exert some control or where product life ps are long. In those organisations where economics of scale are more important than the ability to adapt and technical expertise is more useful than product innovation the role culture will thrive. The main problem with role culture is that they can be slow to recognise and react to change.
For many individuals who value security and predictability these sorts of organisation are highly reassuring, while for those who are ambitious or power-oriented they can be extremely frustrating. A task culture is one in which power is somewhat diffuse, being based on expertise rather than position or charisma. This form of culture often develops in those organisations which can focus on specific jobs or projects to which teams may be assigned. Structurally the task culture may be thought as a net or matrix, some strands of which are thicker than others, with power being located at its interstices.
Task culture focus on accomplishing the job in hand and the internal organisation of such institutions centers on bringing together the appropriate people and resources to make the project successful. At its best this is a team culture in which work is the common enemy. Flexibility, adaptability, individual autonomy and mutual respect based on ability rather than age or status are the most important organizing principles here. In those environments where the market is competitive, product life ps are short and constant innovation a necessity the task culture can be highly successful.
The problems with task cultures are, however, equally strong. Such organisations cannot easily maximize economies of scale, do not usually build up great depth if expertise and are heavily reliant on the equality of the people involved. Furthermore, when things go wrong and control needs to be exercised from the centre the task culture can quickly change into a role or power culture with either rules and procedures or political influence coming to dominate organisational life. In either case, morale tends to decline.
Despite these potential difficulties the task culture is probably the most preferred form of organisation for middle and junior managers. A person culture develops when a group of people decide that it is in their own best interests to organize on a collective rather than an individual basis. In the person culture the individuals themselves decide on their own work allocation, with rules and co-ordinative mechanisms of minimal significance. Unlike other cultures in these organisations the individual has almost complete autonomy, influence is shared and if power is to be exercised it is usually on the basis of expertise.
While there are relatively few organisations that possess a person culture many individuals may be found with a preference for this form of organizing. In addition, Deal and Kennedy (1982) also claim to have four cultures that are connected to generic which are tough-guy, macho culture, the work-hard/play-hard culture, the bet-your-company culture and the process culture. These cultures are determined by two factors in the marketplace: first is the degree of risk associated with the company’s activities, and second, the speed at which the company and its employees receive feedback on their decisions and strategies.
Deal and Kennedy recognise that no organisation will precisely fit any one of their four cultures and that some companies do not fit the model at all. Nevertheless they maintain that the framework is a useful first step in helping managers to identify the culture of their own organisations. However, Quinn and McGrath (1985) also have identified four generic cultures which is based on an analysis of the nature of the transactions associated with information exchange in organisations.
These four generic cultures are the rational culture, the ideological culture, the consensual culture and the hierarchical culture. The intellectual basis of their typology is the notion that whenever an interaction between individuals or groups takes place valued things are exchanged. These transactions or exchanges are important in organisations because they determine the status of individuals and groups, the power they are able to wield and their degree of satisfaction with the status quo.
Furthermore, the transactions will be governed by a set of rules or norms which reflect dominant belief/value clusters. Thus the nature of the transactions in an organisation provides a means for distinguishing between different sorts of cultures. The Denison model is based on four cultural traits of effective organizations. These four traits are described briefly below with references to their place in the organizational studies literature. The four cultural traits are Involvement, Consistency, Adaptability and Mission.
Like many contemporary models of leadership and organizational effectiveness, this model focuses on the contradictions that occur as organizations try to achieve internal integration and external adaptation at the same time. Conclusion Most commentators tend to emphasize that culture is an asset but some authors have argued that an organisation’s culture can also be a liability. This is because shared beliefs, values and assumptions can interfere with the needs of the business and lead people to think and act in commercially and/or ethically inappropriate ways.
However, the advantages which culture would bring to an organisation are conflict reduction, co-ordination and control, reduction of uncertainty, motivation and competitive advantage. In conclusion, there is no one best culture for organisation. Each culture brings different advantages and disadvantages to different organisation, therefore, each organisation should justify which culture is the most suitable to adapt in order to bring the most efficiently atmosphere to the workplace.
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