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THE CONCEPT

OF ORGANIZATIONAL
CULTURE

OUTLINE
I.

II.
III.

The concept of organizational culture: WHY


BOTHER?
Commonly used words relating to culture
What is culture?
3.1. 3 levels of culture
3.2. Definition of culture
3.3. Implications

I. WHY BOTHER?

Look at 4 brief examples:


Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)
Ciba-Geigy Company
Amoco
Alpha Power
Read and summarizes problems that 4
companies encountered.

I. WHY BOTHER?

1.

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC):


Long lasting habits/patterns of work
Difficult to change

I. WHY BOTHER?

2.

Ciba-Geigy Company
Want innovation: ask for consultant
Consultant: use wrong way to communicate
(send memo the wrong person)

I. WHY BOTHER?

3.

Amoco
Change in the way things are done around
here: centralize after merging
Resistance from engineers

I. WHY BOTHER?
4.

Alpha Power
Change to adapt legal requirements
Work units do not accept the requirements,
remain the old ways of doing things

I. WHY BOTHER?

I. WHY BOTHER?

Outsiders: cannot understand these


phenomena
Can only see throgh cultural lenses

I. WHY BOTHER?

Culture reside within individuals


Culture = hidden force that drives our
behaviors
Each of us has different roles:

Students
Employees
Family member
Group member
Team leader
Managers

Deal with dif.


groups and orgs.
of all kinds

I. WHY BOTHER?

Difficulties in understanding and justifying what


we observe and experience in our
organizational life;
Concept of culture helps:
to explain these phenomena and normalize
them;
Gain deeper understanding of
groups/organizations: why different? Why so
hard to change?
Understand ourselves

I. WHY BOTHER?

Culture and leadership: two sides of the


same coin:
Leaders first create cultures when they create
groups and organizations
Once cultures exist, they determine the criteria
for leadership and thus determine who will or
will not be a leader.
An intertwined process

II. COMMONLY USED WORDS


RELATED TO CULTURE

Observed behavioral regularities when people interact


Group norms
Espoused values
Formal philosophy
Rules of the game
Climate
Embedded skills
Habits of thinking, mental models, linguistic paradigms
Shared meanings
Root metaphors or integrating symbols
Formal rituals and celebrations

III.
1.

Structural stability:
cultural = stable defines the group
Group identity stabilizing force
Hard to change provides meaning and
predictability
Ex. : suggested by students

2.

Depth:
Culture = deepest, unconscious part of group
Less visible
Most concepts examined = manifestations /
indications of culture but NOT what culture is
More deeply embedded = more stable

3.

Breadth:
Culture covers all of a groups functioning
Pervasive: widespread, cover all aspects of
how an organization
works
Not all groups have cultures in this sense
Ex. : suggested by students

4.

Patterning or Integration
Disorder or senselessness anxious
Work hard to reduce anxiety
Develop a more consistent an predictable
way of doing things
Patterning = rituals, climate, values,
behaviors tie together into a coherent whole
Note: opposite viewpoints (Western v.s.
Asian)

HOW DOES CULTURE FORM?


Formal groups

Leaders
beliefs and
values
confirmed and
reinforced

Values and
beliefs are
taken for
granted

ASS
UM
PTI
ON
S

OK

Group do
its tasks,
members
feel good

SHARED
BELIEFS,
VALUES

A LEADER
Personal
beliefs, values,
assumptions,
visions, etc.

Impose
these
on the
group

CULTURE

- Disappear

- Seek another
leader