Organizational culture is an idea in the field of organizational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. It has been defined as "the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization."
ELEMENTS OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
Johnson and Scholes described a cultural web, identifying a number of elements that can be used to describe or influence Organizational Culture:
The six elements are:
Stories: The past events and people talked about inside and outside the company. Who and what the company chooses to immortalize says a great deal about what it values, and perceives as great behavior.
Rituals and Routines: The daily behavior and actions of people that signal acceptable behavior. This determines what is expected to happen in given situations, and what is valued by management.
Symbols: The visual representations of the company including logos, how plush the offices are, and the formal or informal dress codes.
Organizational Structure: This includes both the structure defined by the organization chart, and the unwritten lines of power and influence that indicate whose contributions are most valued.
Control Systems: The ways that the organization is controlled. These include financial systems, quality systems, and rewards (including the way they are measured and distributed within the organization.)
Power Structures: The pockets of real power in the company. This may involve one or two key senior executives, a whole group of executives, or even a department. The key is that these people have the greatest amount of influence on decisions, operations, and strategic direction.
TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
Deal and Kennedy argue organizational culture is based on based on two elements:
Feedback Speed: How quickly are feedback and rewards provided (through which the people are told they are doing a good or a bad job).
Degree of Risk: The level of risk taking (degree of uncertainty).
The combination of these two elements results in four types of corporate cultures:
Tough-Guy Culture or Macho Culture (Fast feedback and reward, high risk):
Stress results from the high risk and the high potential decrease or increase of the reward.
Focus on now, individualism prevails over teamwork.
Typical examples: advertising, brokerage, sports.
The most important aspect of this kind of culture is big rewards and quick feedback. This kind of culture is mostly associated with quick financial activities like brokerage and currency trading. It can also be related with activities, like a sports team or branding of an athlete, and also the police team. This kind of culture is considered to carry along, a high amount of stress, and people working within the organization are expected to possess a strong mentality, for survival in the organization.
Work Hard/Play Hard (Fast feedback and reward, low risk):
Stress results from quantity of work rather than uncertainty.
Focus on high-speed action, high levels of energy.
Typical examples: sales, restaurants, software companies.
This type of organization does not involve much risk, as the organizations already consist of a firm base along with a strong client relationship. This kind of culture is mostly opted by large organizations which have strong customer service. The organization with this kind of culture is
equipped with specialized jargons and is qualified with multiple team meetings.
Bet Your Company Culture (Slow feedback and reward, high risk):
Stress results from high risk and delay before knowing if actions have paid off.
Focus on long-term, preparation and planning.
Typical examples: pharmaceutical companies, aircraft manufacturers, oil prospecting companies.
In this kind of culture, the company makes big and important decisions over high stakes endeavors. It takes time to see the consequence of these decisions. Companies that postulate experimental projects and researches as their core business, adopt this kind of culture. This kind of culture can be adopted by a company designing experimental military weapons for example.
Process Culture (Slow feedback and reward, low risk):
Stress is generally low, but may come from internal politics and stupidity of the system.
Focus on details and process excellence.
Typical examples: bureaucracies, banks, insurance companies, public services.
This type of culture does not include the process of feedback. In this kind of culture, the organization is extremely cautious about the adherence to laws and prefer to abide by them. This culture provides consistency to the organization and is good for public services.
One of the most difficult tasks to undertake in an organization, is to change its work culture. An organizational culture change requires an organization to make amendments to its policies, its workplace ethics and its management system. It needs to start right from its base functions which includes support functions, operations and the production floor, which finally affects the overall output of the organization. It requires a complete overhaul of the entire system, and not many organizations prefer it as the process is a long and tedious one, which requires patience and endurance. However, when an organization succeeds in making a change on such a massive level, the results are almost always positive and fruitful. The different types of organizational cultures mentioned above must have surely helped you to understand them. You can also adopt one of them for your own organization, however, persistence and patience is ultimately of the essence.