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Theory Of Organizational Culture

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 7 (1580 words)
Categories: Business,Culture,Management,Organization
Downloads: 31
Views: 318


Culture is an effective force within companies. Organizational culture forms choices, identifies priorities, influences habits and impacts results (Miner, 2007). It can be a source of organizational strength or an element in organizational weak point. The principle of organizational culture has its roots in anthropology. Although the term culture has been provided meaning a great deal of times, a lot of significances make out that culture is traditionally and socially developed; welcomes common practices, worths and knowledge that veteran members of a company hand down to newcomers by way of socialization; and is made use of to form a group’s progression, material yield, and ability to withstand.

The definition of culture consists of both structural influences such as the innovations of production, market conditions, and organizational and market policies, and human variables such as leadership design, socialization processes, interaction standards and the social building of worths.

Organizational culture has attracted restricted attention in the past. Not till the early 1980s did professionals and the scholastic community accept the concept that organizational culture deserved study.

Research study summed up by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman, Stanley Davis, William Ouchi, Edgar Schein, and a couple of others has offered a start foundation for future, more rigorous research.

At this moment, offered research study supports the concept that organizational culture exists, is an effective aspect in employee behavior, and varies within each organization, even within departments and sections of the very same organization. It might be useful in helping supervisors and workers comprehend their roles and relative success in the dynamics of the organization. In this paper, focus will be on Edgar Schein, being one of the most priced estimate experts of corporate culture.

Edgar Schein’s initial concern was with the modification procedure and with his own specific approach to organization development (process assessment). Just as it became obvious that this technique would gain from a broader theoretical idea did he explore the location of management and its role in influencing organizational culture (Schein, 2004).

In the end what emerged was a comprehensive culture theory in which top managers were significant actors. In this theory, culture served in a number o respects as a substitute for hierarchy (and thus bureaucracy). Thus Schein’s theory offers an alternative to bureaucracy not only in its early and continuing focus on organizational development, but in its subsequent elaboration of the culture construct as a tool for human organization that can in certain respects replace aspects of bureaucracy.

Theoretical Basics

            As one of the many ideas in organization and management theory, organizational culture theory draws together ideas and research findings based on assumptions radically different from mechanistic models. It is strikingly non-quantitative in its orientations, eschewing ‘scientific’ research as not necessarily helpful in understanding how organizations work. In some ways, the organizational culture research amassed to date represents kind of a counter culture within organization and management theory.

Yet, it too draws on older models for legitimacy. It is akin to human-relations theory, relies on the humanistic perspective, is integrative in ways Follett would approve, and is systems oriented. Its break with the past may be seen most clearly in its rejection of totally rational, self-correcting or self-correctable systems, where objectives are somehow known by all organization members and coordinated work efforts expected and predictable (Ashkanasy, Wilderom and Peterson, 2004).

Rather, organizational culture theory gives dominance to personal perspectives, traditional modes of behavior, accepted beliefs and values, and basic assumptions. To predict worker (or system) behavior, the manager must understand and direct the evolving culture of the individuals and the various groups (subcultures) making up the organization. Knowledge of the formal organization – its rules, technology, clients and goals – provides only clues to the true character of the organization and its future actions.

Only a full understanding of the prevailing culture can assure success in predicting and controlling future behavior. Even more clearly than had climate research, organizational culture theory indicates that managing organizations is not the same as managing a set of discrete individuals or even departments. By moving attention away from the self to the collective, it has helped overcome the excessive focus in some lines of theory from which organization studies has drawn.

Unmerged Theoretical Framework

            Since 1985, the proliferation of research on organizational culture has continued unabated. Given the abundance of research now available, it would seem reasonable to expect a theoretical consolidation of what has been learned from all this effort. This has not happened – for good reasons. Organizational culture researchers do not agree about what culture is or why it should be studied.

They do not study the same phenomena. They do not approach the phenomena they do study from the same theoretical, epistemological or methodological points of view. These fundamental disagreements have impeded the exchange of ideas and the ability to build upon others’ empirical work. It has therefore been difficult to clarify what has been learned or how cultural studies contribute to other traditions of inquiry. No wonder, then that research on organizational culture has sometimes been dismissed as a dead end, as unrelated to mainstream theory, or as a fad that has failed to deliver its promises.

            What is needed is a theoretical framework that can capture the chief similarities and differences amongst the range of advances towards organizational culture study. Such a framework, if it is to be useful, must not threaten the integrity of these different approaches by creating pressures towards assimilation. The three-perspective framework developed by Martin and Meyerson can be helpful with this regard (Alvesson, 2002). According to Martin and Meyerson’s framework, three major perspectives have come to dominate research on organizational culture: integration, differentiation and fragmentation.

The integration perspective portrays culture predominantly in terms of consistency (across the various manifestations of a culture), organization-wide consensus about the appropriate interpretation of those manifestations, an clarity. In contrast, studies congruent with the differentiation perspective portray cultural manifestations as predominantly inconsistent with each other (as for example when a formal policy is undermined by contradictory informal norms). The fragmentation perspective views ambiguity as an inevitable and pervasive aspect of contemporary life.

Functions of Organizational Culture

It is tempting to emphasize the significance of organizational cultures for performance, growth and success. Organizational cultures are the product of a number of influences including the national culture where society functions, the lasting influence of the founder of the organization or early prevailing leaders as well as its current leadership, and the organization’s operating environment.

The company’s principal business line, the production technologies it employs, and the market atmosphere in which it contends in are components of the operating environment. As an approach to understanding organizations, organizational culture theory provides a bridge between the structural and agency camps of organizational studies.

Organizational culture as meaning also fills the void of uncertainty and is therefore the primary source of anxiety reduction for members and others (e.g., the organization’s stakeholders). Organizational culture is functional in that it provides meaningful response to the sorts of questions that spread through organizational existence (Golembiewski, 2000).

Organizations share common issues and tasks – from survival in their external environments to managing their internal affairs, from handling crises to inculcating new members, from dealing with growth or decline to maintaining morale, from measuring performance to renewing product/service offerings. Organizational culture in one sense provides the organization’s solutions to these issues and tasks.

What has been found to have consistently worked over time is symbolically expressed and maintained through patterned behaviors and devices as guides to future actions. Through its meaning-infused symbols and patterned activities, organizational culture provides much that is invaluable to organizations and members. It is that which defines the uniqueness of the organization and serves as an organizational identity, or the meaning of who the organizational members collectively are.

It also provides that which enables members to create their organizational identity. Organizational culture is also the basis for order and direction as well as coherence – the meanings of where organizational members are going and how they are related. Knowledge that is said to be the crucial factor behind sustainable advantage and success for companies is closely interlinked with organizational culture (Schein, 2004).

Organizational culture is thus highly significant for how companies and other organizations function: from strategic change, to everyday leadership and how managers and employees relate to and interact with customers as well as to how knowledge is created, shared, maintained and utilized. Shared values present in organizational cultures give the organization a sense of direction so that staff sees how to fulfill their professional goals in relation to the organization’s goals.

Above all, organizational culture provides a profound sense of meaning to staff work. When influenced by a strong organizational culture, staff truly cares about their work; they significantly invest themselves in what the organization represents. Where a strong culture exists, either people buy into organizational norms or they are encouraged to leave. Those who remain identify deeply with the organization’s cultural system, and their professional lives gave greater significance because of their affiliation.


Alvesson, M. (2002). Understanding Organizational Culture. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Ashkanasy, N., Wilderom, C. & Peterson, M. (2004). Handbook of Organizational Culture. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Golembiewski, R. (2000). Handbook of Organizational Consultation. CRC Press.

Miner, J. (2007). Organizational Behavior 4: From Theory to Practice. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.

Schein, E. (2004). Organizational Culture and Leadership. (3rd Ed). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Theory Of Organizational Culture. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/theory-of-organizational-culture-essay

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