Organizational Culture and Strategic Human Resource Management
Different scholars have given the term culture different meanings according to the context in which it is applied. People have different cultures from their area of origin, but organizations tend to have almost similar cultures governing the relationship between the employer and employees or among the employees themselves. Carla defined culture as interactions, behavior patterns affective understanding and cognitive constructs which are acquired through the socialization process. These patterns are used in distinguishing members of different cultures through the way they behave.
Lederach (1985) stated that culture refers to shared schemes and knowledge obtained from a set of people through interpreting, perceiving, responding and expressing social realities.
Consequently, Organizational culture refers to how people from a given organization are required to behave concerning their employment and their code of behavior concerning the operations and activities carried out in any given organization. These codes give employees a sense of belonging or identity, appointing and aligning a common view which enables them to act according to such cultures (Bates, Amundson, Schroeder, & Morris, 2010: p.
1565). Different organizations have different ways of maintaining organizational cultures. Most of the companies adopt an impressive rate of retaining employees with a high level of satisfaction as a way of maintaining strong cultures in the workplace. These are important towards the success of the business as well behaved and motivated employees are more productive compared to those who are non-motivated in a given organization. These strong organizational cultures can be maintained through the following ways:
Responsive to the needs of an employee; despite the company catering for the pension schemes and the salary of the employees, it is also required to respond to other interests of the employees such as; lifestyle benefits, healthy, working conditions, leisure and the study days. This motivates the employee to maintain good standards of behavior and in turn increases their output.
Ongoing development; this comprises of the developments that are carried out in the business organization such having talents day mentoring schemes, which offers training to employees on how they can improve their services. This makes the employees feel that their future is being invested in and that the company is supporting their professional and personal growth.
Social calendar; this involves a well balanced social interaction regarding business activities, which creates a good morale. It involves social healthy and social events, which are carried outside the office setting, which creates an inter-team bonding and a buoyant atmosphere which is a form of motivation to the employees.
Honest feedback and openness; employers are required to create an environment that brings an open culture which makes employees in every stage share their suggestions, ideas and concerns. When strategies of a well structured feedback are put in place, business owners can as well monitor the levels of employees’ satisfaction and be able to alleviate any arising issue.
Innovative approach; this comprises of the ways a business conducts its activities and the ways it relates with the members of staff. The company should strive to portray good examples and allow its employees to attend industrial events. This makes sure that they become updated with the c trends and advance in their area of work.
Committed leadership; leadership is a very essential component in any given organization; this should involve all team members especially those in the management sector. Company culture can only be maintained through having committed, clear and inclusive leadership where all members are represented.
Importance of Maintaining Organizational Culture
The recent past, there has developed a high concern on how businesses have chosen to carry out their daily operations. The culture of an organization in the leadership concept has become a major component used by leaders to come up with a dynamic organization. Leaders do ignite the process of culture formation through imposing expectations and assumptions on their subjects or followers. Schein (2011: p. 370) stated that as companies stabilize due to their success of completing its primary tasks, assumptions of leaders becomes shared which facilitates the socialization process of new members. This result to the success of the organizational leaders’ consistency, giving clear signals regarding their priorities, believes and values.
When ethical cultures are promoted through leadership, leaders become successful which facilitates organizational growth, maintains good services that the society demands, ability to solve issues before they end up becoming serious disasters and become competitive against their rivals. Schein (2011: p.374) also discovered that corporate cultures are very important on matters concerning decision making in the organization. He stated that if decisions are made without considering the forces of the operative culture, it may result to undesirable and unanticipated consequences. This is due to complex issues confronting leaders when deciding on the best method of generating the achievements of the organization when faced with complex environments. Their success will depend on the understanding, and the knowledge leaders have concerned the organizational culture. This makes them predict the results of their decisions by preventing anticipated repercussions. Arguably, an organization that maintains such strong culture can also realize the following benefits.
Enhanced corporation and mutual trust
Development of an informal control system within the organization
Assisting workers in modifying their behaviors through providing behaviors, which are justified Schein (2011: p.373) also characterized the culture of an organization in three levels. The first level consisted of artifacts and behavior levels which are most visible as they are always around us. Such an observable cultural level consist of an outward manifestations behavior patterns of culture which can be seen in the physical layout of dress codes, work environments, levels of technology, behaviors and attitudes of people. The second level comprised of the organizational values that determine behavior and are unobservable which are different from the artifacts and physical behaviors. They give the difference between operating values and the stated values such valuing customers and qualities. Operating value refers to actual manifestation of true values in force. Schein (2011: p.373) emphasized that for better understanding of culture one has to get the deeper level of beliefs and assumptions. The relevance of culture is the learned beliefs, values and assumptions which are taken for granted and shared as the company becomes successful.
The most challenging issue concerning the organizational culture is whether they can be changed. Some of these cultures are maintained, created and transformed by leaders or the people. Hartman (2006) stated that culture comprises of laws, history, language as well as systems and rules, informal and formal practices, rituals and beliefs. However, ethics of an organization operates on the whole moral culture of the business organization. Schein (2009: p.109) recommended the following five embedding primary mechanism which can be used by leaders as major tools to teach the organizations they lead on how to think, perceive, behave and feel from their own unconscious and conscious convictions.
Leaders’ attention on a regular basis control and measures: organizational leaders and founders communicate their beliefs, values and priorities based on where they are paying their attention. Their overtime measure and emphasizes can lead to a greater effect on the culture of the organization. Schein (2009: p.110) stated that such a process ends up becoming a powerful way of delivering a message especially when the leaders portray a total consistent to their behavior. These leaders consistency is the one that sends a message showing their priorities, beliefs and values which is high importance rather than the actions’ intensity. Northouse (2008: p.370) argued that every leader should have an agenda, proposals, a series of beliefs; values issues and ideas which they desire to discuss which has significant effects on the values the organization exhibits. Schein (2009: p.112) stated that leaders can apply both negative and positive signals as tools of capturing the subordinates’ attention on important issues concerning the organization.
Leaders’ reactions towards organizational crises and critical incidents: all organizations are bound to experience crises which are known to draw every ones attention in such an incidence. The way leaders react to such crises; it gives more information concerning the values, culture and norms of the organization (Pacanowsky & Trujillo, 2013: p.130)
Schein ((2009: p.113) quoted that if an organization is confronted with crises, the way leaders and other shareholders deals with such a situation, it creates values, new norms, working procedures and reveals underlying assumptions, which are important. Crises generate emotional involvement and attention to those related to the organization mostly if such crises threaten the existence of the organization. When the organizations assumptions are exposed in such an incidence, the potential is increased to either reinforce the current culture or make a change on such current culture. In such situations, leaders may influence the culture of the organization so as to support ethical behaviors and strong morals which reinforces creation of new values in the organization. Such situations give the leaders an opportunity to coach, teach and mentor their followers.
How resources are allocated by leaders, status and rewards: organizations are required to prepare a budget which is a basic tool used in resource allocation of the company, this allocation reveals the leaders beliefs and assumptions. If the allocation of resources is balanced, it improves the efficiency of the operations, creates consumer satisfaction and increases the values of the company.
Deliberate teaching, role modeling and coaching: when a leader becomes a good role model by showing personal examples, it sends a very beneficial and a powerful message to the organizational members mostly for consistent and ethical actions. Schein (2011: p.272) stated that a subordinate derives their personal ethics from what they perceive or observe as ethical standards practiced by the leaders.
How leaders select, recruit, excommunicate and promote: this gives a significant way through which leaders can transform the culture of the organization and their assumptions through selecting, promoting and retaining people business organization. Schein (2009: p.115) stated that leaders and organizational founders establish unconscious culture in the organization through advancing and hiring anyone, whom they thought has such values they desire and eliminate the undesirable ones. If the corporate culture of the business organization is corrupt, people in the organization tend to ignore the right things and engage in activities which are unethical along their ways of operations.
SHRM on the other hand refers to the intentions and plans of the organization on how it should achieve its goals through people. It is a process which comprises of three propositions: the first one indicates that competitive advantage has a major source which is human capital; secondly, it indicates that the organization strategic plan is implemented by people. Finally, is that the organization should adopt a systematic approach that defines where the company wants to go, and the ways it should do to get there. These strategies of HRM define the plans and intentions associated to organizational overall considerations such as its effectiveness and more precise aspects related to people management, which involves resourcing, employee relations and rewards, learning and development. It addresses organizational issues in a broader perspective which are associated to changes in culture and structure, organizational performance and its effectiveness, matching resources concerning future requirement, and management of change. Its main aim is to develop capability processes, which ensures things, are done effectively.
Aims of adopting SHRM
The rationale of SHRM is to bring an agreement and understanding based on developing an approach of people management in the long-term. Boswell (2010: p. 1489) suggested that SHRM is meant to achieve competitive advantage using HRM.
It provides a perspective on how to address success factors or critical issues related to people, strategic decisions made which have a long term and a major impact on the organizational success and behavior. Its fundamental aim is to come up with strategic capability by making sure that the business has a skilled, well motivated and committed employee which brings competitive advantage.
The objective of SHRM is providing a sense of direction always in a tabulated environment in order to ensure the company needs and the employees collective needs are met through implementation and development of coherent and practical programs and policies of human resource. Holder and Dyer (2008: p.66) stated that the aims of SHRM should be to provide a unifying framework which is integrative, broad and based on contingency. Storey, Wright, & Ulrich, 2009: p. 108) termed the aims of SHRM that they should emphasize on aspects of human relations of people management, communication, emphasizing continuous development, involvement, working life quality, security of employment and balance of work-life.
It should attempt to have an achievement of balancing both the soft and hard elements. Almost every organization strives to achieve its objectives and must ensure that the required resources needed to achieve such objectives they are used efficiently. Quinn (2013: p. 96) stated that when the management is taking an extensive planning, they should consider the people in mind, take an account of the aspirations and the needs of all the organizational members in the soft concept of SHRM.
Importance of having SHRM in an organization
In most cases, the importance of SHRM in a business organization becomes hard to overemphasize them because human beings act as the driving forces in any business organization. This calls for the organization to have strategies of implementing a well-thought out and well planned SHR ideas (Kang & Kim, 2011: p. 390). This will facilitate coordination and having a proper channel of human capital to ensure increased productivity (Kane, 2006: p. 190). Better strategies on human resources, which are solid, allow the business organization to develop a good relationship with the organizational workers, and have peaceful coexistence and mutual benefits from the host community.
A well and properly implemented a plan on SHRM helps the organization to attain its goals through the employees performing their necessary duties which are geared towards achieving such goals. In such a situation, the benefits of SHRM are seen since departments of human resources identify key areas in the organization which requires manpower (Sarros, Cooper & Santora, 2008: p.150)
These departments are also required to carry out key steps on matters of recruiting ideal candidates who can fill vacancies and helps the organization to achieve its short-term, long-term goals and its vision.
Strategic approaches to HRM
Approach based on resources: Barney (2011: p.46) indicated that aims of based resource approach are developing the capability of achieving the fit between opportunities, resources and obtaining value addition from well deployment of resources.
Strategic fit: strategies of human resource should have an integral part that contains strategies of the business which contributes in the planning processes of the business as they are carried out. Integration is a necessary concept in a business as it gives the congruence between strategies of human resource and the business itself when done vertically (Barney, 2011: p.48). The aim of carrying out both horizontal and vertical integration in a business is to ensure a coherent approach is achieved as far as management of people is concerned.
Management at high-performance: this management aims at making an effect on the firm’s performance through its people in areas such as quality, productivity, levels of consumer services, profits, growth and delivery of improved shareholders value. This management carries out practices such as selection procedures and vigorous recruitment, relevant training and extensive management, development activities and process of management performance.
Few years ago, researchers and professionals have been focusing on whether corporate culture has any effect on the company performance and its effectiveness. Kanter (2013: p.22) in his book Managing Knowledge Workers Unleashing Innovation and Productivity demonstrated that companies with better SHRM outperformed those with less progressive practices. In illustrating the link between organizational culture and its effectiveness, the proposition focuses on four major traits of culture which needs to be examined in order to get the clear link between the two. Such traits are; involvement, adaptability, consistency and mission.
Consistency and involvement are mainly focused on the internal composition of the organization and its mission. Mission and adaptability on the other hand focuses on how external factors of the environment and the organization are collated. Research has proposed that the culture of an organization has to be strong, and give strategic competitive benefits and its values and believes have to be firmly held and widely shared (Koch & McGrath, 2010: p.340). This proposal is only meant if the purpose of the corporate culture is to improve its effectiveness and the overall performance.
Although previous reviews and studies show that SHRM has become general probably with respect to performance and HRM, it has been mainly limited to the relationship between organizational performance and HR practices (Vijayasiri, 2010: p.48). Strategic HRM accepts functions of HR as a strategic important partner when formulating the strategies of the company and their implementation through practices of HR. Deley (2009: p.38) adopted a perspective view based on resources which emphasized on acquiring competitive benefits through the means of utilizing organizational resources through employees. Through the research for SHRM of organizational effectiveness, the following areas were used to determine whether such strategies are successful:
Outcomes on human resource, which made an evaluation concerning the behaviors of the workforce/ employees;
Outcomes of the organization which are based on quality, productivity and services;Outcomes on financial accounting related to profitability and investment returns;Outcomes on capital market for public organizations that are, shareholders returns and stock value.
Finally, strategic HRM is a very important factor to be mentioned despite whether there is a significant research done or not. There is supportive evidence which shows that there is a strong link between effectiveness and culture. SHRM fully depends on the organizational culture for its successful implementation (Denison, & Mishra, 2013: p. 214). Valuation of styles and viewpoints and development of ways which are concrete facilitates learning in the organization from differences which shows high benefits obtained when organizational structure, processes and procedures are maximized.
Conclusively, research has been done which shows how national cultures are diversified and how they influence the behaviors of the employees, this inspires optimism on the emerging perspectives related to SHRM practices and culture (Siddique, 2013: p.230). Globally, there is a lot of research that is carried out on how organizations allocate resources, make decisions, manage, negotiate and motivate employees, develop and train their employees (Linn, 2008: p. 90). These researches reveal that culture is one of the most important determinants of the organizational behavior. Consequently, a culture plays a great role in the field of HRM which takes heed of methodological and the existing theoretical pitfalls. This shows that, for the SHRM to be implemented successfully, organizational culture has to be maintained at high standards by both the employer and the employees.
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