Organisation Culture - Links & Articles

For a New Paradigm approach to understanding and working with culture, Richard Seel's Culture and Complexity and Describing Culture are a good starting place. Culture change is a difficult and subtle thing to achieve and we have a number of innovative approaches which can help organisations who want to change. There is a huge amount of material about organisational culture available on the internet. We've tried to offer a guide to some of it below, focusing on breadth of issues and trying to offer a small sample of what is available under different topic headings.

Introduction to Culture
Changing Culture Case Studies Measuring Culture Culture & Teams Culture & Performance Culture and Mergers & Acquisition Culture & Equality Culture Theory Culture & Marketing Culture and the Individual International Culture Culture & History Related Topics Select Bibliography

Introduction to Culture [Return]
Organizational Culture is a pdf version of some instructor's notes based on a chapter in Principles of Organizational Behaviour by Robin Fincham & Peter Rhodes. What is This Thing Called Organisational Culture? can be found on the Business Open Learning Archive site. It's a very simple introduction to conventional thinking about culture with a few

notes on some of the different models of culture which have been proposed. It was designed for viewing at 800x600 and is a bit messy at higher resolution. Organizational Culture by Carter McNamara is another simple introduction introduction, with a selection of further links.There are also some links to discussion groups which may include culture as a topic. Organizational Culture and Leadership has been written by Ted Nellen and is based on Edgar Schein's book of the same name. Schein is one of the most influential writers on culture. He sets great store on the influence of the founder of an organisation on its culture and his ideas are explored in a number of books and articles. Organizational Culture: A Web Walk was written by Valda Svede and Mariella Petriglia as a Masters assignment. Focused around education it offers a basic approach to some issues of culture.

Changing Culture [Return]
Changing culture is a controversial area. Many consultants and academics will offer neat prescriptive packages based on simple models of culture. My own belief is that these are rarely effective, though they are easy to sell to clients. Some perspectives can be found on the internet. The Culture Change Planner by Judd Norman offers a four-phase approach to culture change: "Anyone working to bring about lasting culture change will attest to the enormity of the task. Without a framework, culture change appears hopelessly complex. The four-phase Normative Systems Culture Change Process was developed in order to organize such efforts into meaningful steps. "Changing culture in many ways parallels farming. The first phase, Analysis and Objective Setting, is dedicated to analyzing and preparing the soil. Phase II, Systems Introduction, plants the seed of change. The third phase, Systems Integration, is the cultural equivalent of adding fertilizer and water so that the plant takes root and flourishes. And the fourth phase, Evaluation, Renewal and Extension, is similar to harvesting the crop and gathering new seed for the next planting."

Five Ways to Develop your Corporate Culture by Naomi Moneypenny offers 'Start Small, Act Big', 'Build Trust', 'Engender Collaboration', 'Inspire Creativity' and 'Inspire Action' as five ways to develop culture. Downsizing And Organizational Culture by Thomas Hickok argues that, ultimately, the most prominent effects of downsizing will be in relation to culture change, not in relation to saved costs or short-term productivity gains.

Case Studies [Return]
Corporate Culture: MRG Adopts Bigger Firms' Synergistic Precepts looks at the culture of the Metromedia Restaurant Group and how its founder, Michael Kaufman, took ideas from a number of larger organisations and moulded MRG and came up with nine core values. Cultural Change in the Pittsburgh Symphony Organization: A Roundtable Discussion gives an account of the experience of going through a process of cultural change in the orchestra, who used the Japanese Hoshin approach to help with much needed change. Defining the Organizational Culture of the Fairborn Fire Department by David Harlow asks three questions: What are the strengths and weaknesses within the Fairborn Fire Department that have the greatest impact on its present organizational culture? What are the elements of the organizational culture within the Fairborn Fire Department? How can the organizational culture be defined? 'Doing' Organizational Culture in the Saturn Corporation by Terry Mills, Craig Boylstein and Sandra Lorean is an extensive account of the organisation's culture, focusing on how story telling is crucial to the creation and maintenance of culture. Systematically Describing An Organization's Culture: A Case Study Of The Pima County Arizona, Pretrial Services Agency by Neil Vance explores the use of Ed Schein's approach to culture.

'Measuring' Culture [Return]
Anyone who has read my "Describing Culture" will know that I am

very sceptical about the notion of measuring culture. However, many people do it and presumably find it helpful so I include the following links: An Organizational Culture Assessment Using the Competing Values Framework: A Profile of Ohio State University Extension by Angel Berrio uses the popular competing values framework to discover that Ohio State, in common with two-thirds of US educational establishments, has a 'Clan' culture. The value of this finding is not discussed. Measuring organizational cultures: a qualitative and quantitative study across twenty cases by Geert Hofstede et al 1990, looks at a 20 culutres in orgabnisations across Denmark and the Netherlands. They found that differences could be rated by variances on six independent dimensions: process-oriented vs. results-oriented; employee-oriented vs. job-oriented; parochial vs. professional; open system vs. closed system; loose vs. tight control; normative vs. pragmatic. My own Organisational Culture Check List takes an anthropological perspective and may be helpful if you are wondering where to look for clues to make sense of an organisation's culture.

Culture & Teams [Return]
Teams are an essential part of modern organisational life. Their impact on organisational culture has been much debated. A Cultural Shift Helps SoC Teams Work Together by Luke Collins looks at the impact of culture on changing working practices in the electronics industry. Aligning Organizational Culture Through Team Learning by Alan Slobodnik & Kristina Wile is a slide presentation, with lots of systems diagram, is basically an advert for an approach to facilitating self-managed teams. Effective Cross-Cultural Teams: An Examination of Three Manufacturing Firms in Australia and New Zealand by David Thomas & Elizabeth Ravlin explores the effect of different cultures of orientation on the operation of teams. Metaphors and Meaning: An Intercultural Analysis of the Concept of Teamwork by Cristina Gibson & Mary Zellmer-Bruhn looks at different understandings of the notion of teamwork across

different national and organisational cultures.

Culture & Performance [Return]
An Exploration of Industry, Culture and Revenue Growth by Edward Christensen and George Gordon also looks at the relationship between culture and performance. Their approach is heavily influenced by Geert Hofstede (see below). Corporate Culture: The Key to Safety Performance by Judith Erickson looks at the role organisational culture can play in safety issues. My own experience of consulting in hazardous industries suggests that a 'safety culture' can lead to a general sense of riskaversion which can hinder innovation and strategic thinking. The Strength of Corporate Culture and the Reliability of Firm Performance by Jesper B.Sorensen explores the notion, put forth by the McKinsey theorists (Deal and Kennedy; Peters and Waterman) that 'strength' of culture is important in business performance.

Culture and Mergers & Acquisitions [Return]
Mergers and acquisitions are usually made for reasons of 'synergy'. In practice they stand or fall on two key issues: culture and power. If half the resources which were devoted to redesigning organisational structures were put into an appreciative exploration of the strengths of the two cultures there would be a lot more success in these ventures. A Brand-New Culture for the Merged Firm by Kenneth Smith looks at the possibility of 'discarding' the cultures of the constituent parts of the merged organisation and creating a new culture together. He looks at three components of organisational culture: values, work rituals and leadership. He argues that the best approach is "to define which culture and leadership capabilities are required to be successful in the restructuring industry and then to plan and manage the selection and development of leaders to arrive ultimately at the intended culture." Hidden Sore Points That Can Thwart a Culture Match by Paula Love and Steve Gibson looks at some of the cultural issues which can arise when two organisations come together.

Culture and Equality Issues [Return]

Cracks in the Glass Ceiling: Dealing With Sex Discrimination in Corporate Culture by Charlene Marmer Solomon looks at the ways in which corporate cultures need to change if they are to keep the most talented of their female employees. Issues of Culture and Oppression in Organizations by Sharon Kaiser takes a searching look at the politics of organisational culture, exploring how culture can oppress and suppress minority workers. Perceptions of Organizational Culture and Women's Advancement in Organizations: A CrossCultural Examination by Linda Bajdo and Marcus Dickson offers some reflections on the role of 'male-dominated' cultures and the existence of the so-called glass ceiling. Towards an Inclusive Organizational Culture by Anne Buchanan assumes that organisational culture can be made more inclusive by examining specific policies and practices. This may be effective but will also experience painful failure if there are more deepseated patterns of meaning and value. Women in a Male-dominated Industry: Factor Analysis of a Women Workplace Culture Questionnaire Based on a Grounded Theory Model byBodil Bergman and Lillemor Hallberg accepts that most culture questionnaires are maleoriented and develops an instrument suitable for measuring women's perceptions of corporate culture.

Culture Theory [Return]
Cultural Theory and Organizations: Analytical Method and Cases by Yochanan Altman and Yehuda Baruch uses an anthropological approach (Mary Douglas' Grid and Group theory as outlined in Natural Symbols) to try to understand some of the issues in organisational culture. Masking the Need for Cultural Change: the Effects of Emotion Structuration by Jamie L. Callahan looks at the importance of addressing the issues of emotion in organisational life. Symbols in Organizational Culture by Anat Rafaeli and Monica Worline explores the importance of symbols in organisational life. "We refer to symbols as visible, physical manifestations of organizations and indicators of organizational life." They argue that symbols both reflect organisational culture and trigger internalised values and norms. They also provide a frame for

conversations about experience as well as integrators of organisational systems of meaning. The Use of Organizational Culture and Structure to Guide Strategic Behavior: An Information Processing Perspective by John O'Neill, Laura Beauvais & Richard Scholl, "presents a descriptive model explaining the roles and relationships of organizational culture and organizational structure in guiding employee behavior toward strategic objectives. Using an information-processing view, we propose that organizational culture and structure direct the behavior of employees through the reduction of uncertainty and equivocality. Furthermore, we propose that differing levels of both cultural and structural influences are implemented in different organizational types based on the level of skill, originality, and training required of the tasks being performed by members of the organization, and based on the geographical dispersion of the employees themselves. We present the concept of the ´cosmopolis,µ which is an organization rich in both cultural and structural elements. Implications for both research and managerial practice are discussed."

Culture & Marketing [Return]
An Empirical Investigation Into the Impact of Organizational Culture and Marketing Strategy on Firm Performance by Thomas baker & Jon Hawes, "presents a conceptual discussion of the fit between organizational culture and marketing strategy and a study undertaken to determine the type of culture and strategy which should befit together in order to achieve optimal organizational performance." The Integration of Internal Marketing Into the Organizational Culture of Service Firms by Tracy Suter notes that, "The purpose of this paper is to show how internal marketing can impact the culture of an organization. The role of internal marketing is to develop an organizational culture based on quality customer service at every level of the organization."

Culture & the Individual [Return]
Culture is created by the interactions between individuals. Individuals are affected by the culture. The relationship between the two needs careful study. Personality Traits and Workplace Culture by Mark Mallinger and Ileana Rizescu offers some thoughts on the relationship between the individual

and organisational culture. The describe the Integrated Cultural Framework, which contains six dimensions. Individual Personality And Organizational Culture Or "Let's Change This Place So I Feel More Comfortable" by Gerald Barkdoll explores the hypothesis that individuals (particularly organizational leaders) attempt to change the culture of their organizations to fit their own personality preferences.

International Culture Issues [Return]
Differing national cultures can have a big effect on international mergers or joint ventures. Reinventing Organizational Culture Across International Boundaries by Wellford Wilms, Deone Zell & Dennis Cuneo looks at a successful joint venture between General Motors and Toyota.

Culture & History [Return]
Organizational Culture and Business History by Michael Rowlinson & Stephen Proctor offers a critique of different approaches to culture and looks at the role of of view of history in writings on the subject.

Going further afield: [Return]
Unrelated to organisational life is Richard Seel's Birth Rite, an article which suggests some links between common ritual practices and a form of depression. One culture-related topic which is quite well represented on the web is memetics - the study of 'memes', a term coined by Richard Dawkins to denote the 'gene of culture', that is the hypothetical building blocks of culture which may behave analogously to genes in biology. Because we see the notion of paradigm as important to the understanding of culture, we've included a little about the idea.

A select bibliography on organisational culture [Return]
Cameron, Kim S. & Quinn, Robert E. 1999, Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values

Framework. Reading, Mass: Addison Wesley. Cray, David & Mallory, Geoffrey R. 1998, Making Sense of Managing Culture. London: International Thompson Business Press. Cronk, Lee 1999, That Complex Whole: Culture and the Evolution of Human Behaviour. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Deal, Terrence & Kennedy, Allan 1999, The New Corporate Cultures: Revitalizing the Workplace After Downsizing, Mergers and Reengineering, Perseus. Dunbar, Robin, Knight, Chris & Power, Camilla1999, The Evolution of Culture: An Interdisciplinary View. Edinburgh: University Press. Frost, Peter J. et al. 1991, Reframing Organizational Culture. Newbury Park: Sage. Goffee, Rob & Jones, Gareth 2000, The Character of a Corporation: How Your Company's Culture Can Make or Break Your Business. London: HarperCollins Business. Handy, Charles 1991, (3rd ed) Gods of Management: The Changing Work of Organisations. London: Arrow. Hofstede, Geert 1994, Cultures and Organizations: Intercultural Cooperation and its Importance for Survival. London: HarperCollins. Hofstede, Geert 1984, Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values (Abridged Edition). Beverley Hills: Sage. Kotter, John P. & Heskett, James L. 1992, Corporate Culture and Performance. New York: Free Press. Price, If & Shaw, Ray 1998, Shifting the Patterns: Breaching the Memetic Codes of Corporate Performance. Chalford, Gloucs: Management Books 2000. Schein, Edgar H.1992, (2nd ed) Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Schein, Edgar H. 1999, The Corporate Culture Survival Guide: Sense and Nonsense About Culture Change. San Francisco: Jossey-

Bass. Schneider, William 1994, The Reengineering Alternative: A Plan for Making Your Current Culture Work. New York: Irwin/McgrawHill. Scott-Morgan, Peter 1994, The Unwritten Rules of the Game. New York: McGraw-Hill. Sentell, Gerald 1998, Creating Change-Capable Cultures. Alcoa, TN: Pressmark International. Sherriton, Jacalyn & Stern, James L. 1997, Corporate Culture, Team Culture: Removing the Hidden Barriers to Team Success. New York: American Management Association. Sperber, Dan 1996, Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach. London: Blackwell. Trice, Harrison & Beyer, Janice M. 1993, The Cultures of Work Organizations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.



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