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Harris, Faculty March 25, 2010
How has the management of your organization been influenced by external and internal factors? Organizational culture is defined as the set of core values, beliefs, and assumptions that distinguishes members of one organization from those of another. “Culture is ‘software of the mind’” and an important aspect of an organizational environment. External culture defines acceptable behaviors for both the organization and individuals within the organization. Variations of the following five dimensions characterize national/regional external culture and have an impact upon the success or failure of management practices: power-distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism-collectivism, masculinity-femininity, and time-orientation. These five facets help determine what management techniques are acceptable and define how work units are managed consistent with the natural culture. Corporate internal culture reflects shared values and beliefs of employees and determines acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Corporate internal culture is “water cooler drama,” and it is passed through stories, myths, and rituals. Corporate culture is important for it attracts likeminded individuals and managers select individuals similar to themselves in their beliefs. Individuals with values who do not fit the dominant culture will feel uncomfortable and eventually leave. This results in a core
culturally homogeneous workforce that requires performance consistent with the goals of the organization. Research and development encourages an innovation strategy that supports individual thought, freedom, and risk taking. Due to the diversity of the personal cultures within the workgroup setting, research and development companies who are globally based define a cyber-culture that spans traditional internal and external limitations. Workgroups are task oriented and teams are made up of individuals who may be continents apart and communicate only through online forums and group chat rooms designed to meet the needs of a specific project as well as the skills and expertise of the team members. This cyber-culture results in outstanding performance among team members. The internal culture becomes the common ground of successful completion of the project as a whole and team members do not actually participate in the “water-cooler drama” of traditional internal organizational cultures. A solid foundation based on mutual camaraderie develops among individuals over time. Individuals working in the cyber-culture of research and development hold a personal internal culture and external work ethic culture uncommon in the traditional corporate settings. Projects gain speed and momentum with a life that is all their own. The driving force of the corporate culture serves only as a backbone for hiring individuals whom you may never meet face to face and is used to define the infrastructure used to disseminate projects and the status of the same. Everything else within the cyber-culture serves only to give life to the projects.