What is meant by “corporate culture”? Can the culture of an organization have an effect on work behaviour and performance?
• Corporate culture is a blend of values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time. • Corporate culture describes and governs the ways a company’s owners and employees think, feel and act. • Corporate culture may be based on beliefs spelled out in your own mission statement. • Corporate culture is important because it can make or break your company. • And these cultures are critical for helping employees define success, guide behaviour, and set common expectations. • Such strong culture acts like intrinsic motivator.
• Cultures that are not aligned with corporate strategy can lead to decreased loyalty, a lack of motivation, and high employee turnover. • Healthy cultures, however, impart pride and a sense of purpose to employees, leading to increased productivity and a greater understanding of corporate goals. • Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors. • To have a successful corporate culture, you need to know what your culture is, decide what it should be, and move everyone toward the desired culture. • For eg, corporate culture could consist in part of a corporate symbol, like the rainbow-colour apple that symbolizes Apple Computer. Apple is one of the most successful and valuable companies today.
Yes, organization culture can have an effect on work behaviour and performance.
• According to Edgar Schein, organizations do not adopt a culture in a single day, instead its formed as employees go through various changes, adapt to external environment and solve problems. • The new employees also strive hard to adjust to the new culture and enjoy a stress free life. • Schein believed that there are 3 levels in an organization culture. • 1) Artefacts – The 1st level is the characteristics of the organization which can be easily viewed, heard and felt by individuals collectively known as artefacts. • They include dress code of the employees, office furniture, facilities, behaviour, mission and vision of the organization. • This level of analysis is tricky as it is easy to obtain but hard to interpret. • We often cannot understand the underlying logic, the ‘why’ of what we observed. • For eg, slogans are short, catchy phrases which are regularly changed. They are used for both customer advertising and also to motivate employees – Nike: “Just do it” & Coca-cola: “Always Coca-Cola”. • For eg, symbols refer to any act, object or relation that serves as a vehicle for conveying meaning – Intel’s “Intel inside” symbol on computers.
• 2) Values – The values of the individuals working in the organization play an important role in deciding the organization culture. • They’re often unspoken but can mould members’ behaviour. • They are typically based on moral, societal and religious precepts that are learned in childhood and modified through experience. • The mindset of the individual associated with any particular organization influences the culture of the workplace. • Culture at this level is the real driver for superior performance and a definite source of competitive advantage that is very difficult for competitors to emulate. • For eg, Toyota’s Lean production system success stems from vision and dedication to a set of common principles – the Toyota Way.
It encourages its employees to be both self-motivating and self-directing. Its five core values express the beliefs and values shared by Toyota. All Toyota team members, at every level, are expected to apply these values in their daily work and relations with others. By making correct decisions, by continuous improvement, by embrazing challenges and by respecting customers and each other thereby speeding up decision-making. Toyota’s Japanese employees reach a point of “emotional fortitude” where the behaviour is entirely consistent with the organization’s culture and beliefs. Toyota’s employees in the West find it hard to reach to this mental state and this may give Japanese colleagues an intrinsic, competitive advantage.
• 3) Assumed Values of the employees which can’t be measured but do make a difference to the culture of the organization. • They include the assumptions that individuals hold about the organization and how it functions. • They relate to human behaviour and the nature of reality. • They are invisible, preconscious and “taken for granted”, therefore difficult to access. • There are certain beliefs and facts which stay hidden but do affect the culture of the organization. • For eg, organizations where female workers dominate their male counterparts do not believe in late sittings as females are not very comfortable with such kind of culture. Male employees on the other hand would be more aggressive and would not have any problems with late sittings.
• Culture and performance have mutually reciprocating relationship. • If strong culture helps build high performance company, the past performance and successes shape influence people behaviours which with time become part of the culture. • Some consider culture the glue that holds everyone together while others compare it to a compass providing direction.
Courtney from Study Moose
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