TOPIC: Discuss the factors which may contribute to the development of strong and weak cultures in organisations.

What are the implications of your analysis for the HRM practitioner in understanding and managing organisational change ?

INTRODUCTION An organisation usually possesses cultures and values that govern its employees and activities carried out within the internal and external structure of its environment. The culture of an organisation sets up its identity and forms its image, so therefore careful and proper thinking, research and observation is needed when trying to come up with a culture style for both new and existing organisations. Existing organisations needs to be watchful and observant as some new cultures could be generated amongst its staff members in which could be conflicting to other members and organisational cultures. Organisational culture could be defined as “the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by the people and groups in an organisation and that controls the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organisation” (Hill & Jones, 2001:143). Culture of staff can be difficult to control or manage and part of the challenges which human resource professionals’ has to deal with is managing human behaviours which isn’t predictable and is constant to change. “Organisational learning, development, and planned change cannot be understood without considering culture as a primary source of resistance to change” (Schein, 1992: XIV). In this essay, some aspects would be discussed such as the definitions of strong culture, weak culture, organisational change and its features, and factors that lead to its development within an organisation. Furthermore, the implications of strong and weak culture to Human Resource Management Professionals and some suggestions on how Human Resource personnel could

distinguishing the organisation from other organisations” (Robbins. within and outside organisations. in the “chemistry” that permeates it work environment. not with whether or not they like them. in its employee’s attitudes and behaviour. STRONG CULTURE 2 .manage organisation change would also be viewed. 2008: 272). 2009: 424). organisational culture helps employees make sense out of complex. “Organisational culture defines a normative order that serves as a source of consistent behaviour within the organisation” (Luisser & Achua. Culture determines how an organisation responds to both internal and external changes” (Luisser. DEFINITIONS CULTURE According to Robbins (2009). organisational culture is concerned with how employees perceive the characteristics of an organisation’s culture. According to Parikh (2011). in ethical standards and policies. He explained further that “organisational culture refers to a system of shared meaning held by members. 2010: 371). confusing dynamics around them. so that a suitable interpretation of the events can be made and the desired meanings can be drawn by the members. “Organisational culture is manifested in the values and principles that leaders preach and practice. and in the stories people repeat about events in the organisation.

communicated and lived by its staffs. Realistically. which norms. however. a strong culture would act as an effective mechanism. organisations with strong culture have employees who subconsciously know the shared assumptions consciously. According to Parikh (2010). According to Luisser (2008). beliefs and culture of the organisation.A strong culture would be that which definitely affects the activities and behaviours of the employees strongly. or the organisational values and interests and the values of the individuals are counter to each other (148). Strong culture is clearly seen as when employees or majority of them are in agreement and act according to the values. strong culture may not always result into the success of organisation but it could be a stepping stone to success. think that in weak cultures. WEAK CULTURE Weak culture would definitely be the opposite of strong cultures with the behaviours of the employees contrary to the expected behaviour of the organisational culture. They made a 3 . they may become rebels and fight the culture” (Luisser 2008: 53). values and attitudes are defined. According to Shukia (2006). Ruschak (2012) also explained a strong culture as an organisations culture. or there is a contradiction or conflict between the various elements of the culture. values and beliefs. Brenton and Driskill (2011). and behave as expected. “More members of the organisation display the shared traits more frequently and with greater commitment” (Parikh. 2011: 495). weak cultures imply that there is no congruence between the values of the top management and the employees of the organisation. one may be pressed to identify even common values. “When employees do not agree with the generally accepted shared values. Parikh (2010) also noted that the congruence absence may be due to the fact that desired values have not been articulated.

Culture has historical penetration which is recent and not well established.comparison between strong and weak cultures which can be seen below. Identification with culture among 4. Little knowledge about history or 3. Most employees can tell stories about history of the organisation. 3. Elements of culture send consistent 2. heroes exists among average employees. CHARACTERISTICS BETWEEN STRONG AND WEAK CULTURE STRONG CULTURE 1. ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE 4 . Messages. 4. Values are limited to top management. Little connection exists between cultural elements and employee beliefs and assumptions. 2011:43. Culture 5. employees is strong. SOURCE: BRENTON & DRISKILL. 5. 2. There are also cases of having a strong weak culture which are stronger than organisational culture. Values permeate the entire organisation WEAK CULTURE 1. has existed for over a long period. Elements send contradictory messages.

goals and objectives are necessary in an organisation especially when they are recruiting new employees. “In today’s global business environment organisations are facing challenges and opportunities due to the constantly changing world of business. Employees with proper knowledge of the missions and goals are most likely willing to abide by the rules and adopt the beliefs and values of the organisation. “Organisations with strong common corporate culture is where current norms and values are widely shared and strongly shared” (Ruschak 2012: 76). FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO STRONG AND WEAK CULTURES Clear Goals. and so its effect would definitely reflect on the actions and reactions of employees in an organisation. most times the employees may not have proper knowledge of the organisational culture and why it was invented or is being practiced. All this factors affect whatever goes on within an organisation. 5 . environmental factors are numerous and complex. goals and missions were perceived as effective in organisational functioning. Vision & Knowledge of the Organisation The importance of clarification of beliefs. And these changes affect all aspects of the organisations functioning such as the organisational culture and organisational commitment” (Robbins 2009: 434). According to Cheng (2005) report. it could either have a negative or positive effect on the culture and lifestyle in the working environment. clear and consistent beliefs about the school’s roles. In cases for weak cultured organisation. history. According to Pathak (2011). political and geographical environment. especially in the socio economic. employees within some school organisation that shared strong.Change is very much constant and one of the things that could affect human behaviour is change. values. some of these factors are static while others are dynamic. Organisational culture is also influenced by changes.

there could be some level of rigidity in the system that could contribute to weak culture. the ability to provide subordinates with more inspirations. 2011: 152). Employees tend to act towards expected behaviours by the organisation when they socialize properly. there is the possibility of easiness within them. Effective socialization has a high possibility to resulting to strong culture while its lack especially when there is improper mentoring in accordance to the organisational culture could also contribute to weak culture. PERFORMANCE REWARDING SYSTEM 6 . But when they are not socializing often or effectively. if they refuse to internalize. On the contrary. encouragement and meaning for their work. but in cases whereby we have employees who don’t have strong ethical belief probably before joining the organisation . this could result to a strong culture. they may find it difficult to break through example is in terms of obedience to rules and regulations. there could be the possibility of weak cultures.INTERNALIZATION There are cases whereby individuals adopt organisational cultures easily due to the fact that it may not be contrary to most of their personal beliefs from the outside world and so majority of these employees are likely to be bonded and be submissive in obedience to the organisational culture. Internationalization according to Trevino & Nelson could apply when employees come into an organisation with their beliefs (external) and if consistent with the organisation values makes their activities smooth in accordance to rules but there could also be the possibility of joining the organisation with contrary beliefs and internalizing the cultural expectations with time in the organisation. SOCIALIZATION “In a corporate environment. more friendly social relations and greater involvement in organisational activities for instance decision making could also lead to strong culture” (Trevino & Nelson. the willingness to enhance friendship and respect among employees and their subordinates.

when employees aren’t satisfied within an organisation. The challenges faced by employees also could be a problem when 7 . every organisation is after effective and efficient performances in terms of either satisfying the public or customers. 2010). The reverse could be the case if employees are not being rated or awarded regularly for their behaviours or performances within the organisation. Leadership plays a key function in contributing to a weak culture where there is no agreement on the values and beliefs of the organisation on the part of the management and employees or it could be disagreement at all times in accordance to the beliefs and values of the organisation during decision making which could result to strong culture which symbolizes wide spread consensus (Luisser & Achua. Constantly checking or rewarding employees’ performances could motivate the employees to function in accordance to the organisational culture. JOB CHALLENGES AND SATISFACTION Realistically. Employees would stay committed and focused to their jobs especially the fear of not losing their jobs or being demoted would contribute to the development of a strong culture and the reverse could be the case when it comes to general culture (Ruschak. There is a possibility of bad leadership behaviour leading to weak culture. they could act negative and begin to lose integrity. 2012) LEADERSHIP STYLE The leadership style of an organisation is also an important factor that could either contribute to a strong culture or weak culture in an organisation.Obviously. Their dissatisfaction with their jobs or the organisational culture may have a negative effect on the organisation’s performance thereby also leading to development of weak culture.

it could be difficult dealing with employees who do not share the same values and beliefs or those who refuse to work in harmony after they have been recruited. HOW HR COULD MANAGE ORGANISATION CHANGE 8 . The implication of strong culture within an organisation on the HRM professional could be a positive one because they wouldn’t have to deal with so many problems on the part of employees and even in terms of giving the more training on how they can improve on the organisational strong culture. HRM in terms of weak culture have to deal with employees who have invented their own personal culture and who are trying to introduce it or use it in work places instead of the established culture in the organisation. they may not find it easy dealing with their activities in weak cultured organisation. 2003:243). Employees with job satisfaction are likely to be effective since they enjoy doing their jobs. Human nature is complicated and change of behaviours and attitudes may not be easily put up with. and if properly trained on how to handle some possible challenges that could contribute to the development of strong cultures (Cheng: 2005). IMPLICATION OF STRONG AND WEAK CULTURE TO HRM PROFESSIONAL The HRM professionals are faced continuously with various challenges in terms of managing human and material resources. While the reverse may be the case in strong cultured organisation. The HRM professional is most times embedded with the task of creating and maintaining a corporate culture consistent with the strategic objectives of the organisation. with the task of selection and recruitment of the right employees. “Misconduct within some organisations could be reduced by an ombudsman field that carries out investigation on employees unethical behaviours” (Secord.not properly tackled by the management.

“It is important to match compensation incentives directly to new measures of strategic performance because it gives the leader leverage to reward only those performances that are supportive of the strategy and culture” (Luisser & Achua 2010: 382). They also made an example of an organisation who stresses honesty as part of their ethical behaviour. there is need for both formal and informal systems to work closely in support of ethical behaviour. Encouraging employees to do activities together was further stressed by Luisser & Achua (2010). According to Mckenna and Beech (2008). there could be need to stress the values.According to Trevino & Nelson (2011) for consistency in effective functioning.HR professionals can enhance strong cultures in their organisations by putting in mind the organisational culture and values during the process of selection and recruiting not leaving out continuous appraisal after recruitment. the HR professionals have to reconcile the perspective of greater individual and group autonomy in an organisation. it is advisable to create strong and flexible 9 . Learning process in terms of training given to new employees. by having a common place of eating for all employees and avoiding special treatment in terms of parking spaces in the car garage to promote equality. This point stated above could help in creating a strong culture within an organisation as most of the employees who may act differently could be less privileged when it comes to appraising their performances for purpose of benefits or promotions. missions and goals of the organisation and make them understand reasons why those statements. In the situation of changes. the human resource team needs to create a selection system that checks the backgrounds of all employees or candidates being selected to be employed. Luisser & Achua (2010). it can change in the wrong direction” (Luisser & Achua 2010: 381). states the need for a strategy-culture fit which according to them would make the possibilities of easy adaptation. “The culture of an organisation naturally evolves over time and without strong leadership. According to Hernandez (2010). values and cultures have been inculcated by the organisation.

The HR professionals are tasked with most of the implementation of culture policies and these could be achieved successful by coming up with new strategies on a continuous basis. this way.cultures and also ensure that candidate’s values are checked to see if they are compatible with that of the organisation because it would make it easier for new employees to adjust when they get in. they would be able to easily come up with required solutions facing the organisations employees that are coming up with weak cultures. strong cultures would be more accepted than weak cultures in most cases due to the fact that its advantages are more in terms of clear vision on the part of majority of the employees which results to high performances. on the other hand. continuous performance appraisal could also reduce weak culture in the organisation. Finally. Organisations have to put in more efforts in strengthening the strong culture by continuous reminder of organisation values and cultures. CONCLUSION Organisational culture is meant to be a form of guidance for employees in their behaviours and attitudes within and outside the organisation. in which may not be guaranteed most times. He further mentioned the importance of compensation system to encourage positive behaviours in addition with the use of seminars and other programs to improve socialization of employees in general. HR Professional is undoubtedly going to be faced with challenges from the global environment. 10 . 2010). recruiting and training employees (Hernandez. the human resource professionals have to always put in mind the vision of the organisation. There is need for careful focus on the process of selecting.

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