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Organisational Culture and Ways of Managing It Effectively

Essay by review  •  May 25, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,119 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,815 Views

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Organisational culture has been widely researched over the years because of the important benefits that arise from a strong culture in aiding organisations to succeed and grow. Understanding how to Ð''build, maintain or modify an organisation's culture' (McAleese, D & Hargie, O. 2004 p.155) is essential to achieving a competitive advantage as organisations can have a direct influence on attitudes and behaviours of the employees within an organisation. (Robbins, Millett, Cacioppe & Waters-Marsh, 2001)


There is a Ð''great diversity of opinion concerning what the phrase Ð''organisational culture' refers to' (Brown, A. 1995 p.5), as organisations have their own way of expressing the values and goals that the employees and organisations share. (McAleese, et al. 2004) As a result, how organisational culture is defined has significant implications for how the concept is analysed. (Brown, A. 1995)

Brown (1995 p.6) defined organisational culture as Ð''the pattern of beliefs, values and learned ways of coping with experience that have developed during the course of an organisation's history, and which tend to be manifested in its material arrangements and in the behaviours of it's members.'

Robbins et al. (2001, p.555) defined organisational culture in terms of certain characteristics that the organisation and its members value in order to create a successful working environment. These include innovation and risk taking, attention to detail, focus on outcomes, consideration for members within the organisation, team orientation, aggressiveness and competitiveness and emphasise on stability or growth. (Robbins et al. 2001) The degree to which employees display these characteristics will therefore shape the organisations culture.


There are a number of functions that have been attributed to organisation culture, for example it enables organisations to be distinguished between one another or can suggest a sense of identity for the members of the organisation. (Robbins et al. 2001) One particular function of culture is to improve Ð''social system stability', (Robbins et al. 2001. p. 563) or reduction of conflict as it allows employees to create a consensus on the organisations mission and goals and to develop strategies in order to achieve these goals and also guides employees on how to communicate with each other. (Brown, A. 1995) Culture also facilitates co-ordination and control within an organisation by guiding and shaping Ð''attributes and behaviour of employees'. (Robbins et al. 2001. p. 563) Culture can also be seen to aid in reducing complexities, uncertainties and conflicts of interest that are generally faced with by all organisations. (Brown, A. 1995)

Organisational culture can act as an Ð''important source of motivation for employees' (Brown, A. 1995. p.58) that can directly affect organisations efficiency. As theories have emphasised Ð''employees are motivated when they find their work meaningful and enjoyable' and Ð''feel valued and secure.' (Brown, A. 1995. p.59) A strong culture can encourage employees to believe they are performing well and their positions are valuable to the organisation and hence creating a sense of belonging which will directly effect employee's motivation. (Brown, A. 1995) All of these different functions of organisational culture will act as a source of competitive advantage for the organisation.


There have been a number of different types of cultures depending on the particular environments that are evident within organisations such as power-oriented, role-oriented, task-oriented and people-oriented cultures. (Brown, A. 1995, Thomas, A. & Lindsay, D. 2003) Each of these types requires Ð''different types of behaviours, leaders, decision styles, controls and organisation designs.' (Roberts, G.B, Watson, K & Oliver, J. E. 1989 p.67)

A power-oriented culture takes on a hierarchical approach in managing the organisation. An attribute of a power-oriented culture is Ð''there are few rules and procedures' (Struwig, F. W. & Smith, E. E. 2002, p. 22) as central figures largely exercise control. Therefore employees have little to no freedom within the environment and all information and decisions take a top-down approach. A Ð''power-oriented culture does not nurture initiative and debate' (Thomas, A. & Lindsay, D. 2003. p51) and motivation is generally cultivated through rewards and punishment. A benefit to a power-culture is their ability to react quickly to change. (Brown, A. 1995)

Role-oriented culture is a working environment that is conducive to structure and regulation and clearly defined job-descriptions (Brown, A. 1995, Struwig, et al. 2002, Thomas, et al. 2003) Inline with the power-oriented culture, role-oriented culture will foster an environment where extrinsic rewards are a source of motivation and Ð''promotion is based on the satisfactory performance of individuals in their jobs', (Brown, A. 1995. p.68) and innovative and creative behaviour is discouraged. Role-oriented culture is Ð''most successful in stable and predictable environments' (Brown, A. 1995. p.68) but on the other hand are slow to perceive the need or react to change. (Struwig, et al. 2002)

The task-oriented culture relates to power based on expertise and knowledge rather than high position in the organisation. (Brown, A. 1995) Task-oriented cultures tend to focus on job or projects and ensuring appropriate people and other resources are drawn together to create teams to accomplish the specific project. (Struwig, et al. 2002) Team-oriented cultures tend to be more successful in competitive environments where innovation is necessary. (Brown, A. 1995)

A person-oriented culture is when a group of people come together as it is more beneficial to Ð''organise on a collective rather than an individual'. (Brown, A. 1995. p.70) As Struwig, et al (2002) mentioned, within the person culture the organisation exists to assist the individual rather than the individual assists the organisation. Person-oriented cultures generally consist of professional people such as doctors or barristers as it's more suitable economically to share offices and equipment and therefore individuals will generally allocate their own work. (Brown, A. 1995, Struwig, et al. 2002)

Building, Maintaining or Changing




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