According to the omnipotent view, managers are directly responsible for an organization’s success or failure. The symbolic view argues that much of an organization’s success or failure is due to external forces outside managers’ control. The two constraints on manager’s discretion are the organization’s culture (internal) and the environment (external). Managers aren’t totally constrained by these two factors since they can and do influence their culture and environment. s the characteristics and importance of organizational culture. The seven dimensions of culture are attention to detail, outcome orientation, people orientation, team orientation, aggressiveness, stability, and innovation and risk taking. In organizations with strong cultures, employees are more loyal and performance tends to be higher. The stronger a culture becomes, the more it affects the way managers plan, organize, lead, and control. The original source of a culture reflects the vision of organizational founders. A culture is maintained by employee selection practices, the actions of top managers, and socialization processes.
Also, culture is transmitted to employees through stories, rituals, material symbols, and language. These elements help employees “learn” what values and behaviors are important as well as who exemplifies those values. The culture affects how managers plan, organize, lead, and control. current issues in organizational culture. The characteristics of an innovative culture are challenge and involvement, freedom, trust and openness, idea time, playfulness/humor, conflict resolution, debates, and risk-taking. A customer-responsive culture has five characteristics: outgoing and friendly employees; jobs with few rigid rules, procedures, and regulations; empowerment; clear roles and expectations; and employees who are conscientious in their desire to please the customer. Workplace spirituality is important because employees are looking for a counterbalance to the stresses and pressures of a turbulent pace of life. Aging baby boomers and other workers are looking for something meaningful in their lives, an involvement and connection that they often don’t find in contemporary lifestyles, and to meet the needs that organized religion is not meeting for some of them.
Spiritual organizations tend to have five characteristics: strong sense of purpose, focus on individual development, trust and openness, employee empowerment, and toleration of employee expression. The External Environment: Constraints and Challenges Despite the fact that appliance sales are expected to climb for the first time in four years, Whirlpool Corporation, which already shut down 10 percent of its production capacity, continues to cut costs and scale down capacity even more.7 And it’s not alone in its protective, defensive actions. The decade from 2000 to 2009 was a challenging one for organizations. For instance, some well-known stand-alone businesses at the beginning of the decade were acquired by other companies during this time, including Compaq (now a part of Hewlett-Packard), Gillette (now a part of Procter & Gamble), Anheuser-Busch (now a part of Anheuser-Busch InBev), and Merrill Lynch (now a part of Bank of America); others disappeared altogether, including Lehman Brothers, Circuit City, and Steve & Barry’s (all now bankrupt) and WorldCom and Enron (both done in by ethics scandals).
8 Anyone who doubts the impact the external environment has on managing just needs to look at what’s happened during the last decade. The term external environment refers to factors and forces outside the organization that affect its performance. As shown in Exhibit 2-2, it includes several different components. The economic component encompasses factors such as interest rates, inflation, changes in disposable income, stock market fluctuations, and business cycle stages. The demographic component is concerned with trends in population characteristics such as age, race, gender, education level, geographic location, income, and family composition. The political/legal component looks at federal, state, and local laws, as well as global laws and laws of other countries.
It also includes a country’s political conditions and stability. The sociocultural component is concerned with societal and cultural factors such as values, attitudes, trends, traditions, lifestyles, beliefs, tastes, and patterns of behavior. The technological component is concerned with scientific or industrial innovations. And the global component encompasses those issues associated with globalization and a world economy. Although all these components pose potential constraints on managers’ decisions and actions, we’re going to take a closer look at two of them—the economic and demographic aspects. Then, we’ll look at how changes taking place in those components constrain managers and organizations. We’ll wrap up this section by examining environmental uncertainty and stakeholder relationships.