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What is organizational culture? This indefinable combination of values, beliefs, and practice that a corporation posses, which makes the difference between surviving and thriving, succeeding and failing. Most large corporations typically have a strong culture with values and norms appropriate to the organizational purpose. In a big organization, sub-cultures also exist, division to division, office to office. In this part of this group assignment I will describe the organizational culture of one of the most famous internet companies in the world, which is also the largest marketplace in the internet – EBay.
Many articles and books have been written in recent years about culture in organizations, usually referred to as “Corporate Culture. ” The dictionary defines culture as “the act of developing intellectual and moral faculties, especially through education. This paper will use a slightly different definition of culture: “the moral, social, and behavioral norms of an organization based on the beliefs, attitudes, and priorities of its internal community. Every organization has its own unique culture or value set.
The culture of the organization is typically created unconsciously, based on the values of the top management or the founders of an organization. Organizational culture has been defined as “a pattern of basic assumptions, values, or beliefs and norms of behavior. According to O’Reilly, organizational culture defined as the values shared by members of an organization. These basic values may be thought of as internalized normative beliefs that can guide behavior inside an organization.
If organizational culture is developed as an organization learns to deal with the dual problems of both external adaptation and internal integration, then values that enhance the organization’s capability in these two functions should be useful for it.
To the extent that members of an organization share the same sets of values, thought processes, and languages, they will have similar mind-sets and behaviors as they integrate their efforts inside the organization and adapt to environmental changes. Research has documented a variety of outcomes that are related to organizational culture.
For example, organizational culture has been found to relate to organization growth and organization performance. Other studies have shown that its effect can be observed directly at the individual level, in outcomes such as commitment, resource allocation decisions, retention, and perceived attractiveness of an organization. Given the dramatic changes in both the external environment and the internal structure of worldwide organizations, organizations that emphasize cultural values that relate to external adaptation and internal integration should be more effective than those that do not.
The character of any corporation or an organization characterized by set of values and principles by which the founders and the upper management run the company from its creation when it’s really begin to become part of the DNA of the company. I believe that companies form culture very early on and they get imprinted very early on with a sense of right and wrong. And it starts from the top. It started with the CFO, the President, and CEO. According to Whitman, sis he had innate sense that they needed at EBay to establish very early on what the code of behavior was going to be, what the code of ethics would be.
EBay’s internal company culture was very dominant and strong. Even though its culture had great influence of its member’s behavior, the culture encourages its members to feel more commitment. Employees were expected to be open and honest, to treat one another with respect, and to speak up if they believed they were not being treated in this manner. EBay functioned as being a nonhierarchical, democratic organization that encouraged ideas and feedback from all employees. The culture at eBay characterized as being open and low risk, where employees were encouraged to express their opinions despite their different points of view.
Mistakes were acceptable, but employees were encouraged to truly learn from them. According to Whitman, unlike other companies where different views and opinions from the senior management were barely heard , at EBay they do not have “punishes” attitude, meaning that there is no penalty for being on the wrong side of an issue or changing your mind in the face of better information. If an employee`s point of view contradict with his/her colleague when you end up convinced to be wrong, the culture is to appreciate your opinion and at the same time to come with the approach of: “ok? hat’s smart. You’re right. Let’s move on. ” In addition, As role models, senior managers had to act with a high degree of professionalism and respect. EBay does not encourage people who scream loud or pound the tables. At EBay, it’s pretty even-keeled culture. Sustaining its culture provide a better understanding of the strength of the culture. As EBay grew, in order to conserve the unique internal culture of the organization, EBay made sure it hires only individuals who fit with the culture of the organization.
In order to emphasize the importance of its culture, EBay`s CEO Meg Whitman, met with new candidates and describe eBay’s values and to set expectations for how each employee would support and contribute to the company’s culture. According to EBay founder Pierre Omidyar, experience was not the only quality they were looking in potential applicants, but for someone who really understands the significance of its both internal and external communities and that person should express its most respect to these communities.
Moreover, measuring the community and organization very often represents a major challenge in terms of being sure the values and culture of EBay are being communicated correctly. Therefore, on the organizational side, they had to be sure they were hiring quality employees who fit with the culture; they could not afford to let that slip. Even though most well establish cultures resist changes, EBay was able to accept changes within its upper management and the way it works.
For example, when Whitman arrived EBay she tried to make some changes because she felt they were needed the way the company goes and in order to adapt to these new changes. An example would be her trying to set up these meetings, but no one had a calendar. According to Whitman, at EBay this was a culture where appointments were not needed because of its small size – there were only 35 people at the company. So she laid out a calendar and asked people to sign up for appointments. She did not appreciate the feedback; the employees did not like the changes.
What ended up happening was that the employees who had previously worked in big companies signed up for multiple meetings, and the people who had worked primarily in start-ups didn’t sign up at all. Furthermore, EBay`s culture was designed to mirror its external community culture. Very important element of EBay`s culture is a respect for its community. It goes far beyond “the customer is always right” because eBay wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for its community The meetings helped Whitman realize just how special the chemistry was between eBay’s internal and external communities.
EBay’s internal culture mirrored many of the characteristics of its external community culture in tangible ways: they were empowered to develop recommendations, and the company employed a nonhierarchical, team-based approach to problem solving. According to Omidyar this configuration was so important: Internally, EBay had to share the same values as their community because they indirectly influence the community in everything they do.
Everything EBay put on the Web site, every press release, every utterance to the press, every corporate action, every deal, every partnership that happens in any part of the organization eventually trickles down to the community. EBay rely on all of its executives and then their managers to continue to communicate the culture. The message should trickle down to the very last employee, so that everyone really understands what we’re about and what our values are. EBay also encourage its employees to call the upper management if we’re doing something that is not quite right. EBay empowered everyone to be a guardian of the culture – everyone.
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