A widely accepted definition of organizational culture is it is the shared meanings, artifacts, values, beliefs, norms, and assumptions that dictate how an organization works and its existence (Cameron & Quinn, 2006). Organization culture is shaped by more than one element; say individuals’ life experiences, background, education levels and so fourth. Undoubtedly, leadership also plays a critical role in defining what culture prevails in the organization and their actions have a major influence on how the rest of the organization follows suit.
(Robbins et al, 2000) Additionally organization culture defines the strategies that a firm uses in handling things like competition, growth, resource management and the like. (Goffee & Jones, 1996) A good assessment of the cultural orientation of a firm makes it likelier to promote interorganisational network and also implement changes that encourage member participation and productivity. The key indicators of organizational culture include organization structure, power and managerial styles, ways in which members of the organization interact and do their jobs among others.
This paper takes a look at FedEx Corporation and gives a summary of the type of organization culture at FedEx, its benefits, hindrances as well as the recommendations of the company. Company overview FedEx Corporation is a large company headquartered in the US that deals in printing, courier services and logistics as well as cargo airline services. This company has been named one of the top 10 most admirable companies by Fortune magazine two years in a row. Since its founding in 1971 it has grown from humble beginnings a leader in air courier industry.
Its brands include the FedEx home delivery, FedEx smart post and FedEx freight east and west, FedEx services among others. Its chief competitors are DHL, TNT, UPS, BAX Global and USPS. The company employs over 250,000 workers and has a net income of approximately 1. 8 billion dollars in 2006. Culture assessment The organization culture at FedEx blends various kinds of organization culture but perhaps the most predominant culture is flexibility discretion and dynamism. This has been its major strategy of staying ahead.
To support this, FedEx takes pride in their ability to adapt to change so as to enhance effectiveness and competitiveness. (Cameron & Quinn, 2006, p. 34) This it achieves by combining innovation, knowledge sharing, high experience and team work in its key strategies to attaining competitive advantage. A good illustration of FedEx external focus is evident in the numerous deliveries of relief supplies that FedEx made to hurricane Katrina victims for free in 2005, earning it more customers and goodwill. Adhocracy orientation at FedEx is fostered at top level management down to the junior staff.
The CEO of FedEx encourages employees to be trend setters and nonconformist and dare to take calculated risk. The management encourages employees to be all ears on current events and look for opportunities. The guiding philosophy is that an innovation failed is better than a thousand years lost in risk averse dealings. Innovation at FedEx is held with high regard and employees are rewarded handsomely for developing fresh ideas. The management supports viable projects from employees financially or otherwise. This is one reason why FedEx distinguishes itself as an evergreen company in the air courier industry.
This culture is underscored when creative attempts that fail are rewarded as well as the successful innovations. The familiar slogan ‘absolutely, positively gets it there overnight’ is made real by the culture ingrained in the employees towards importance of customer service, efficiency at work, speed and accurate scheduling. This culture leverages FedEx for competitive advantage. Basically, the FedEx corporate culture emphasizes urgency, speed and teamwork, exceeding customers’ expectations, initiative, flexibility and active listening (O’Reilly, Tushman & Michael, 1997)
Aside from the flexible nature at FedEx, it also adopts an outwardly and sensitive approach to the environment that it operates. Competitiveness fosters the company to always look for opportunities to expand and grow. While the opposite of this culture is to foster integration and unity within the organization as well as knowledge some elements of this culture are also present at FedEx. This is because FedEx emphasizes high skills among employees. Employees at FedEx are highly learned individuals as the company only picks the best of the best.
Working ones way up the corporate ladder requires that ones knowledge base also increases. In addition, the internal focus of FedEx organizational culture provides an appropriate environment that enables employees to grow and exercise their skills as seen in the various training and task assignments delegated to employees. In order for knowledge sharing to be maximized then division of labor, job enrichment, team building and so forth have to be conducted regularly (Murray, Poole & Jones, 2005) some aspects of these are present at FedEx.
FedEx corporate culture values hard work and rewards such appropriately. It also disregards discriminations and fosters equal opportunities for its employees in areas of promotion, transfer and recruitment. The hands off team oriented management style promote progressive and diversified work culture. Communication is a key strength for FedEx organization culture and regular surveys on employees’ views on the job are taken to monitor and modify areas of universal discontent. Notably, the employees at FedEx are highly experienced and skilled individuals.
The culture therefore is based on letting employees be free agents who direct their jobs in their own direction. The management ensures that employees are proactive and take initiative to learn from mistakes of others. The employees are not reprimanded or penalized for slip-ups rather management takes the blunder as an opportunity to teach the rest. Most of the tasks done at FedEx are assigned to teams which are given sufficient power and authority to fulfill their responsibilities and be accountable for the results. Seemingly this is the reason behind the great success of FedEx.
The benefit of the cultures present at FedEx is that the company is maintains its competitiveness amid intense competition from the competitors. Additionally, it deals with fewer conflicts, fewer staff turnover and enjoys increase in employees’ job satisfaction, higher performance less resistance to change, higher productivity and better customer service and so forth. The hindrances of this kind of organization culture are that it requires major investment in time and money. The management needs to be patient with employee mistakes which are most times costly.
Additionally it is difficult to monitor this practice in the FedEx Company because of the large workforce and the busy schedules that the employees have. Conclusion The organizational culture at FedEx has both benefits and detrimental aspects although many are the benefits. In the competitive faced paced industry that FedEx operates their culture seem most fitting. Perhaps the only thing that I would improve is the hierarchal structure and the communication channels for free flow of information and faster decision making throughout the organization.
Courtney from Study Moose
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