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Ebay Case Study Essay

1. Describe EBay’s culture using the six characteristics describes in the prescribed text book according to the Corporate culture Index. Organisation Culture can be defined as a system of shared beliefs and behaviours such as; the language they use in the organisation, values systems, feelings and attitudes among each other and the interaction and norms of the members in the organisation. This determines how the company, employees and management interact and proceed with business transactions. An organisation’s culture develops mostly over time (Luthans, 2005). This set of beliefs is build within an organisation to create a sense of relation to employees and sometimes also consumers, it can be said that corporate culture is symbolic and identifies the organization as self. Corporate/organisational culture helps the organisation to achieve goals in their own way.

A set of 20 cultural factors was developed by Henry Miglione, termed “Corporate culture index” (Brown and Harvey, 2006) The corporate culture index was developed to measure an organisations culture. These cultural factors include the following characteristics:

Member Identity:

Can be defined as the extent to which an employee indentifies with of within the organisation, taking into consideration their job and field of profession.

Team Emphasis:
The degree to with employees is able to work together as a team rather than focusing on individual responsibilities, tasks and activities.

People Focus:
This involves the extend to which employees are empowered within the organisation.

This involves the degree of independent and coordinated operation of the different departments within an organisation.

How rules, regulations and direct supervision is used to control employee behaviour that leads to better performance, and to what extent.

Risk Tolerance:
The motivation and encouragement employees receive from the organisation to be more aggressive, innovative, challenging and risk seeking to improve performance and development within the organisation.

Describing EBay’s corporate culture trough using the 6 characteristics mentioned above.

Member Identity:
The working environment is casual and informal. Employees know what is expected from them and what they need to do. They stay focused on their goals. With the casual and informal atmosphere employees are able to identify with the organisation easier as they feel at home. In the case study the organisational vision and mission is outlined ant this would make it easier for the employees to identify with the organisation if they know what their working towards or standing for. They feel comfortable in their working environment and this leads to a better sense of identifying with their working environment/organisation.

Team Emphasis:

Employees work every day, they understand that a daily contribution is necessary to reach the organisations goals, they even ‘shop talk’ in the tearoom.

People Focus:
EBay empower staff by making them brand executives that makes them brand orientated. Employees have freedom within the office to do their work in a casual and comfortable environment to enhance performance.


The department or brand executive is responsible for the specific happenings in the department. Every department operates in a coordinated manner to assure threat every purchase is handled with the upmost importance. Whitman is all about bottom line approach and performance.


Employees know what’s expected from them, the informal culture gives the employees a sense of comfort that can lead to better performance, although the approach is still corporate it stays comfortable. There is no stick control. Employees are left to do their jobs without direct supervision. Employees have a drive to do their jobs as expected from them. The departments do not depend on one another so they know they are responsible for the completion of their responsibilities or tasks.

Risk Tolerance:

No risks were mentioned but referring to the case study and the departments employees will have a sense of competitiveness within the organisation against the different departments. EBay developed a target of internet users that they wanted to reach by the end of 2005. Their goals are innovative and reachable.

2. Briefly explain the socialisation process.

Socialisation is the process where a new employee within the organisation learns and develops the skills, social knowledge, behaviour, norms and values that’s acceptable in the organisation. This usually follows after the introduction or training phase after an employee has been appointed, it can also be called learning the ropes. During socialisation an employee becomes aware of what is important in the organisation, what the organisation stands for and how things are being done. (Luthans, 2005)

The socialisation process explained:
New employee expectations

New employees that join the organisation need to become aware of all the organisational norms, values and procedures of operation within the organisation. During this phase they need to be able to recognise it. This phase is easier handled when the new employee receives a mentor to help him/her through this process. (Brown and Harvey, 2006) The more the new employee adapts and learns the new culture the more comfortable they feel.

Encounter organisational culture

A new employee needs to learn their work group, and establish a relationship between the different members of group or team they work in. The new employee should understand and identify the way of functioning among the team members this includes the norms and values that’s used in the group. During this phase the new employee will develop positive relationships among colleges as well as support networks within the team or group. (Luthans, 2005)

Adjustment to cultural norms

The employee needs to accept the organisations culture and adapt to it. Responses to socialism can be identified into three different groups; they can reject the values and norms of the organisation and become rebellious, the new employee can accept only a few of the values and norms and make peace with the rest in time or the new employee can accept all the values and norms of the organisation and fully adapt and adjust to the organisational culture, that will lead to a comfortable employment and working atmosphere for the new employee.


When an organisations culture is developed in such a positive way the employees will improve production and performance. The organisations climate and culture are set in place to develop a mission and vision in the organisation. Employees should be allowed to adapt to the norms of adapt it as a whole for the advantage of the organisation. (Brown and Harvey, 2006)

3. Bibliography

Brown, D.R. and Harvey, D. (2006) An Experiential Approach to Organisational Development. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Luthans, F. (2005) Organisational Culture, Socialisation and mentoring. In: Luthans, F. Organisational behaviour. 10th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill Irwin, pp. 30-55.

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