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Definition of Organizational Culture

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Definition of organizational culture

Organizational culture, also called corporate culture, is one of the most important fields in management as it is an ideal way to form a unified organization. There is no single definition for organizational culture. The topic has been studied from a variety of perspectives ranging from disciplines such as anthropology and sociology, to the applied disciplines of organizational behavior, management science, and organizational communication. But it always relates to how the members in organization react in their group. Some expert definite it as "A set of understandings or meanings shared by a group of people that are largely tacit among members and are clearly relevant and distinctive to the particular group which are also passed on to new members (Louis 1980)." Some assert it is "A system of knowledge, of standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating and acting . . . that serve to relate human communities to their environmental settings (Allaire and Firsirotu 1984)." I prefer to define it as "the sum total of an organization's past and current assumptions, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together, and is expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, express or implied contracts, and written and unwritten rules that the organization develops over time and that have worked well enough to be considered valid" (Schein 1995). Organizational culture contains four parts. The first part is the way the organization runs its business and now the organization treats its employees, customers, and the wider community. Secondly, the level of freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression. Third, the way the power and information flow through its hierarchy. Fourth, the strength of employee commitment towards collective objectives. In my opinion, the first part is key part of culture in company as it contains both insides employees' attitude and outside image to the customers.

The role of organizational culture

There are many practices within an organization that tend to build a unique culture and keep a culture alive and measure the cultural fit between the organization and its employees. Cultural forms function as the linking mechanism by which networks of understanding develop among employees. (Trice and Beyer, 1993) The cultural forms shown in the table on pages 293-94 act as a medium for communicating ideologies, values, and norms. Cultural forms enable leaders to transmit messages about desirable culture to influence thinking and ways of behaving. Cultural forms also address the emotional aspects of organizations that are commonly referred to as cohesion or camaraderie. The organization's culture can be reinforced by many human resource practices such as selection, performance appraisal, training, and career development. Organizational beliefs also tend to influence the work norms, communication practices, and philosophical stances of employees. In the first place, organizations use a socialization process to adapt new employees to the organization's culture. If employees do not adapt well, they feel increasing pressure from supervisors and from coworkers who are better acculturated. They might stay and fight or even leave the organization, voluntarily or involuntarily, and look for a different organization whose culture they fit better. In contrast, employees who understand and share the organization's values have a better basis for making choices that match the firm's goals. Many organizations compete through innovation. Therefore when most employees understand and support the organization's expectations, less time is spent explaining, instructing, and building consensus before trying something innovative. Moreover, the error level will be lower in most cases. Employees who are well acculturated also find their work more meaningful: They are part of, and contribute to, something larger than themselves. Thus, a good cultural fit between employees and the organization contributes to employee retention, organizational productivity, and profit.

Comparison of organizational cultures

Different organizational cultures have different effects on corporations. A good culture can cheer up the employees and encourage them to



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