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Organizational Culture

Nisha Nair

What is Culture?
Culture involves meaning, it is attached to both organizational products and processes, and it both shapes and reflects social and material conditions. To take a cultural perspective is to consider the pattern of meanings that guide the thinking, feeling and behavior of the members of some identifiable group. John Van Maanen Culture as a set of basic assumptions defines for us what to pay attention to, what things mean, how to react emotionally to what is going on, and what actions to take in various kinds of situations. Ed Schein

Anthropological understanding of Culture

Socially inherited, shared, and learned ways of living possessed by individuals by virtue of their membership in social groups

Organizational Culture

Organizational Culture is A system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations

Levels of Culture

Espoused Values

Basic Assumptions

Levels of Culture

Ceremonies and rites Stories Rituals Symbols

Basic Assumptions
Relationship to environment Nature of human activity Nature of human relationships

Espoused Values

Formation of Organizational Cultures

Top Management

Philosophy Philosophy of of Organizations Organizations founder founder

Selection Selection Criteria Criteria

Organization Organization Culture Culture

Socialization Socialization

Functions of Organizational Culture

Organizational identity

Sense-making device

Organizational culture

Collective commitment

Social system stability

Organizational Socialization
Outsider Phases 1) Pre Arrival 2) Encounter 3) Metamorphosis Outcomes




Embedding Culture in Organizations

Formal statements of organizational philosophy, mission, vision, values, and materials used for recruiting, selection and socialization The design of physical space, work environments and buildings Slogans, acronyms, and sayings Deliberate role modeling, training programs, teaching and coaching by managers and supervisors The organizational activities, processes, or outcomes that leaders pay attention to, measure, and control Leader reactions to critical incidents and organization crises Explicit rewards, status symbols (e.g. titles), and promotion criteria Stories, legends, or myths about key people and events

Culture is

Culture is learned Culture is shared

It is possible for a person who goes to another culture to

learn the new culture

Culture is compelling

It is possible to identify group patterns Behavior is determined by culture; understanding culture is

Culture is interrelated

important in order to understand behavior

Culture provides orientation


A culture needs to be studied as a complete entity A particular group reacts in the same way to a given

Work Values Based on Culture

Work related values are NOT universal National cultural values are likely to persist Even when a multinational tries to impose the same norms all over the world Local values determine how headquarters regulations are followed

Cultural Differences in Work Values

Values Power distance Description The extent to which people feel comfortable with large separations of power between themselves and their elders and/or superiors The extent to which people focus on individual needs and achievements versus that of the in-group or family The extent to which people are comfortable with ambiguity in rules and procedures Extent to which the equality between sexes is valued and roles and responsibilities based on gender are differentiated Value placed on long term or short term

IndividualismCollectivism Uncertainty Avoidance Masculinity-Femininity Long vs. Short Term