Organizational culture is defined as “a system of shared meaning held by members” of an organization which effectively sets it apart from other groups or organizations (Robbins, 2005). The system referred to in the definition is in reality a group of characteristics which are valued by the members of an organization, in particular, and the entire organization, in general. These characteristics, which are found to be predominant in an organization, are actually advocated and promoted by the founders of the organization. By and large, organizational culture has seven general characteristics which generally describe a certain organization.
These are: “innovation and risk taking, attention to detail, outcome orientation, people orientation, team orientation, aggressiveness, and stability” (Robbins, 2005). Innovation and risk taking refers to the tendency of management to adopt a policy which permits or encourages its workforce to seek out and introduce new methods and approaches even if some amount or risk-taking is involved. Aggressive companies are aptly described by this characteristic. Attention to detail, on the other hand, means that management insists that employees exhibit absolute accuracy in every facet of operation.
This is prevalent among companies engaged in the production of precision instruments and devices. Outcome orientation is an organizational characteristic which simply means that the owners of the business are willing to sacrifice adherence to prescribed rules, regulations, and procedures if by doing so optimal results are achieved. Concern for the safety and well-being of its workers are the primary objectives of an organization which is characterized as being people oriented. For this type of an organization, outcome or even profit take secondary position to the welfare of workers.
This means that no matter how profitable a decision could be for the company, it could get sidelined if evidence suggests that the safety of the employees would be compromised. Meanwhile, team orientation should be interpreted as the inclination of an organization to organize work activities around work teams rather than individual workers. In other words, the organization believes that teams perform better than individuals. Aggressiveness refers to the management policy of not only tolerating an aggressive attitude among its workers but also encouraging competition.
This characteristic also implies that the organization has the tendency to resort to expansion without waiting for stability to be firmly established. Finally, stability is the opposite characteristic of aggressiveness. The company prefers the stable, profitable status quo over hasty expansion plans. An organization characterized by stability is not in a hurry to strive for growth and expansion and is usually contented with the present so long as its desired profit is realized. In the case of Krispy Kreme, its statement of objective clearly made known its aggressiveness, i. . : “As we enter the 21st Century, Krispy Kreme is not slowing down” (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. , n. d. ). This statement depicts a company in a hurry – a characteristic which is very admirable as far as an aggressive individual is concerned. Data available in the company website support this declaration. After the initial public offering of its stock in the year 2000, the first international outlet near Toronto in Canada was inaugurated in December 2001. The Canadian expansion started the company’s thrust towards international growth.
Today, barely eight years later, Krispy Kreme products are already available in Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Kuwait, Dubai, Hongkong, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. , n. d. ). The other appealing characteristics of the company are: innovation and risk taking, and team orientation. The company took its first calculated risk as early as 1950 when it decided to be innovative and sought to improve its doughnut-making process by designing its own doughnut-making equipment.
Their objective was achieved through the efforts of a team of equipment engineers that it organized, thereby putting emphasis on the importance of team orientation. The collaboration of the engineers allowed Krispy Kreme to become the first company to serve hot doughnuts to their customers. Their engineering team is also continuously improving their hot doughnut technology to preserve the company’s leadership status in the hot doughnut business (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. , n. d. )
The culture at Krispy Kreme could also be characterized as people oriented because the organization is customer-responsive. The workforce is composed of employees who are recruited because of their innate friendliness and service-oriented tendency. Moreover, employees are not bound by hard and fast rules in their dealing with customers. There exists a rather low level of formalization in the company and in its stores that allows employees to make the necessary adjustments that would enable them to deal satisfactorily with different kinds of people who come from all walks of life.
Management refers to this policy as empowerment because it allows Krispy Kreme employees to do what they think is necessary in order to make their customers happy and satisfied. Being people oriented (particularly customer-responsive), Krispy Kreme has made it clear that employees should be painstaking in their efforts to please their customers and ensure that they keep coming back (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, n. d. ). By cultivating and sustaining a strong culture, the management has effectively informed its employees exactly what the company expects of them.
Foremost among these is for the engineering team to keep on discovering new technologies that would improve their doughnut-making capability and preserve company leadership in the industry. Then its army of chefs should assume adequate vigilance in the preparation of their products so that customers are always satisfied with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee, among others. Finally, store front-liners are expected to go out of their way to satisfy customer needs – to be sincerely friendly, helpful, and accommodating, thereby generating customer loyalty (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. n. d. ). As Robbins (2005) has specifically prescribed, a strong culture should have a “high degree of sharedness and intensity [which] creates an internal climate of high behavioral control. ” At Krispy Kreme, only applicants who are perceived to fit the bill are hired. Then the culture of the company is drilled into them from day one, thereby effectively shaping the organizational behavior of every worker.