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Cultures and
Paradigms

Dr Tahir Rashid
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Overview
What is the concept of culture?
The role of culture in developing
strategy
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Emergent v. Prescriptive
Views
People are a vital resource
HRM analysis is essential during the
development of strategy emergent
view
Some writers say HR issues
considered only after strategy has
been decided prescriptive view
Emergent approach more popular
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SCA - HRM is often KFS
In some industries people are the key
factor for success (KFS)
- advertising and creative development
- leisure & tourism
- management consultancy
- hospitals & medical profession
In other industries the ability of people
to cope with change maybe the only
SCA
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What is Culture? (1)
Anthropology ... endless definitions, but
Interpretation of the world
Activities and artefacts that reflect this
interpretation

Collective cognition sharing the cognition
Values, beliefs, attitudes, habits, language
Symbols, buildings, products
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What is culture? (2)
Often referred to as the way we do things around here
Employees often oblivious to the existence of culture
The source of competitive advantage?
How do organisations create value?

Why do organisations differ and how?
Deep down: relationship between interpretations and
activities
Routines


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Culture exists at various levels of society:
National Culture
e.g. American, French, Britain
Industry cultures
e.g. mining, computing, restaurants, hotels
Occupational cultures
e.g. lawyers, accountants, doctors teachers
Organisational structure,
managerial practices, work attitudes
Corporate cultures
e.g. IBM, Shell, Pepsico, Disney, Hilton
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International cultural
perspectives
Hofstedes five dimensions of culture:

Power distance: the extent to which those who are
poorest in society are willing to accept their position
Individualism/collectivism: the extent to which societies
are collections of individuals or are bound together into a
cohesive whole
Masculinity/femininity: masculine societies see a sharp
distinction in roles between the sexes: female societies
see more equality
Uncertainty avoidance: the extent to which members of a
culture feel threatened by the unknown
Confucian versus dynamism: long-term outlook versus
living for today
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Charles Handy 4 basic orgn.
cultures
Power culture - typically found in small
entrepreneurial companies controlled by
powerful figures.
Role culture - is associated with
bureaucracies where peoples functions
are well defined.
Task culture - is found where people
concentrate on their job or on a project.
Person culture - occurs where people
believe the organisation exists to serve
their personal interests for example
barristers, architects and other
professionals
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In reality few organisations fit any
one classification
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Source: Adapted from E. Schein, Organisation Culture and Leadership, Jossey-Bass, 1985.
Paradigm
Taken-for-granted
assumptions
Beliefs
Values
Culture in three layers
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Three layers of culture
1. Values

often written down

statements about purpose, mission,
objectives

usually general/vague (eg. Service to the
Community)

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2. Beliefs
more specific
usually overt/talked about
eg the company should not trade
with Iraq or Iran
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3. Paradigm
Taken-for-granted assumptions
this is the real core of culture
difficult to identify and explain
often linked to the raison detre of
the organisation

Insights into the paradigm can be
gained by analysing
the elements of the Cultural Web

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The Cultural Web
Symbolsvisible representations e.g uniforms
Power structures e.g consultants in
hospitals
Organisational structure.frameworks,
communication
Control systems..reward and punishment
Routines and Ritualsknow their place,
roles
Stories.heroes and villains, tales of
achievement

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Stories Symbols
Rituals &
Routines
Paradigm Power
Structures
Control
System
Organisational
Structures
The cultural web of an organisation
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C:/misc.mettoweb
A Cultural web of the UK National Health
Service - in the early 1990s
STORIES SYMBOLS
RITUALS &
ROUTINES
PARADIGM POWER
CONTROLS ORGANISATION
Cures
Villains (politicians)
Heroes and heroism
Change agents are fools
Abuse of managers
The golden age
Terminology
White coats/uniforms
Retinues
Mobile phones
Doctors dining room
Big institutions
Royal
Clinical rituals
Consultation ceremonies
Patient infantilising
- waiting rooms
- putting to bed
- waking up
Ward rounds
Blaming next tier
NHS is a good thing
Public service
Free at point of delivery
Clinicians values
Providers know best
Acute sector superior
Ours
Fragmented
- professional bodies
- doctors
- senior clinicians
Prima donnas
Old boy network
Politicians
Financial reporting
Waiting lists
Consultant episodes
Professional responsibility
Hierarchical
Mechanistic
Pecking order of services
Tribal/functional
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Strategic change
Change brings uncertainty, two main
causes of change:-
1. Internal - desire for increased
profitability, growth or some other
objective e.g. quality or innovation
2. External competitors or other
environmental change
Orgn. can be analysed according to
their ability to cope with change
(next slide)
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Miles & Snow - Four strategic types
and their approaches to strategy
Defender Organisation:
protect market share
hold current position
Analyser Organisation :
seek market opportunities but protect existing areas
hold market share but with some innovation
Prospector Organisation :
find new opportunities
exploit and take risks
Reactor Organisation :
respond only to others
often late and inadequate
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Implications
Organisational culture can be the basis of core competences
underpinning competitive advantage.
Or the cause of strategic drift.
Strategies need to change at the point of their delivery.
Everyday", routine, symbolic change is therefore vital.


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Linked to practice
How does this relate to your chosen
organisation

How does this inform the strategy to
adopt?

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References
Lynch, R. (2009) Strategic Management, 5
th
ed
Harlow Prentice Hall
Johnson, G., Scholes, K. Whittington, R. (2008)
Exploring Corporate Strategy, Harlow, Prentice
Hall
Chopra D(2002) Leadership in People
Management , London, CIPD, or www.cipd.co.uk
Senge P (1990) The leaders new work: building
learning organisations, in Sloan management
Review, Fall, pp7-22