Organizational culture refers to a system of values, standards, and beliefs that distinguish one organization from another. Examples of its characteristics include teamwork, stability, attention to detail, aggressiveness, and innovation. Organizational culture can be strong or weak depending on the intensity with which the core values are practiced.
What are The Functional and Dysfunctional Effects of Organizational Culture?
The functional effects of organizational culture include defining boundaries, controlling behavior, promoting commitment, and conveying identity. Culture is a way of differentiating an organization from others (Ehrhart, Schneider, & Macey, 2014). It conveys a sense of identity by defining the values and qualities that an organization looks for in employees during recruitment and promotion (Schneider & Barbera, 2014).
Organizational culture enhances commitment among employees by advocating for a vision that gives purpose and eliminates self-interest (Howard-Grenville, Rerup, Langley, & Tsoukas, 2016). Moreover, it controls behavior by outlining the ethical standards that employees are required to attain. Shared values and beliefs enhance collaboration among employees and facilitate the creation of better working conditions.
The dysfunctional effects of organizational culture include barriers to change, diversity, and mergers as well as acquisitions. Organizational culture discourages the embracement of change because employees resist new ways of doing things (Ehrhart et al., 2014). Many firms fail when employees oppose change. Organizational cultures create barriers to diversity because they compel employees to hold on to certain values and systems without deviation (Schneider & Barbera, 2014). Religion, race, and gender are insignificant about the implementation of a firm’s core values. As a result, many mergers and acquisitions fail due to cultural incompatibility between organizations.
What Factors Create and Sustain An Organizational Culture?
Factors that create and sustain organizational culture include a founder’s values, industry demands, and preferences (values and goals), leadership, employee onboarding, open and truthful communication, and reward systems (Howard-Grenville et al., 2016).
An organization’s founder creates a vision that employees embrace through socialization. He/she acts as an example of what an organization expects from employees. Organizational culture is sustained by proper hiring, training and career development, promotions, and rewards (Schneider & Barbera, 2014). Leadership is an essential aspect of culture promotion because managers act as role models, make decisions, influence the working environment, and define the values and norms of their organizations (Howard-Grenville et al., 2016). Rewards are also important because they communicate the type of behavior or performance that is reinforced or punished.
How Is Culture Transmitted To Employees?
The most effective methods of transmitting culture to employees include symbols, rituals, stories, and language. Symbols convey important messages such as an organization’s standards, hierarchy, mission, and appropriate behavior (Schneider & Barbera, 2014).
Examples of symbols used include employee dres’ code and company logo. Rituals reinforce the goals and the core values of an organization. Many organizations use stories to transmit their cultures to employees by telling them about the most significant events in the history of the organization (Howard-Grenville et al., 2016). For example, employees are told about how the organization mitigated past failures or the company’s evolution since its founding. Language is used to unite employees and signify their willingness to accept and preserve an organization’s culture.
Companies develop organizational cultures as a way of facilitating the achievement of their goals. A company’s founder needs to stipulate the core values that employees are required to embrace. Hiring is conducted based on whether an employee fits an organization’s requirements. Organizational culture is sustained through effective leadership, open and truthful communication, reward systems, and employee socialization. Organizations teach employees their culture through stories, rituals, symbols, and language. Employees need to understand and embrace an organization’s culture because failure usually arises from the inconsistency between an organization’s values and its employees’ values.
Ehrhart, M. G., Schneider, B., & Macey, W. H. (2014). Organizational climate and culture: An introduction to theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
Howard-Grenville, J., Rerup, C., Langley, A., & Tsoukas, H. (Eds.). (2016). Organizational routines: How they are created, maintained, and changed. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Schneider, B., & Barbera, K. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Oxford handbook of organizational climate and culture. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.