An organization is defined as a “social arrangement that works towards achieving common goals, controls its functions and performance and has a boundary separating it from the surrounding.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 3) Organizations develop their codes of conduct and discipline which stipulate the working relationship between members. This paper seeks to describe the following aspects; organizational culture and behavior, diversity, and communication. Then cite a brief analysis of culture and behavior at the Woolworths Company.
Organizational Culture and behavior
Organizational culture and behavior are different in meaning, but work together and are the most important aspects of an organization. “The terms relate to the psychology of the workforce, and if used well by the management they can lead to improved efficiency in an organization.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 32) For better understanding, these terms will be individually examined.
Organizational “culture can be defined as a deep, largely subconscious, and tacit code that gives the ‘feel’ of an organization and determines what is considered right or wrong, important or unimportant, workable or unworkable and how it responds to change.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 33) To better understand this, one needs to understand what is meant by culture. “Culture is often defined as a set of values that are adopted by people who live together.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 33) Thus, the organizational culture accrues from the individual conduct of the workers in the organization. The culture of an organization can be divided into three levels: the first is about “artifacts and behaviors.” (Peetz, 2006, p. 45) “These form the physical aspect organizational culture and mainly entail the physical layout of the workplace and the displayed behaviors of the employees.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 38) The second level is about values, “these refer to thoughts which influence the assumptions and behaviors of employees.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 39) The highest level of “organizational culture comprises assumptions and beliefs.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 39) This is the most crucial level as it forms what the organization instills into the workers and is often vital for the organization’s success. The assumptions and beliefs often influence values, artifacts, and beliefs and it is the responsibility of the organization’s management to ensure that its assumptions and beliefs are in tune with what it aspires to achieve.
Organizational behavior simply refers to the collective behavior of individuals in an organization. Organizational behavior and organizational culture are interrelated concepts that influence each other. Organizational behaviors are often seen through employees’ reactions to certain stimuli within the organizational framework. It is the work of the managers to ensure that individual employee behaviors are in tune with the organization’s values and principles. To do this, it is always good to study why employees behave the way they do and look “or ways through which bad behavior can be improved.” (Peetz, 2006, p. 60)
“Diversity can be defined as a range of visible and non-visible variations that exist among people.” (Peetz, 2006, p. 51) Diversity management, therefore, is a concept that entails the understanding that every individual is unique, and recognizes the differences between people. “This can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.” (Peetz, 2006, 51) Diversity can also be said to be the “exploration of the above differences in a safe, positive and nurturing environment.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 115) In an organization, diversity is embraced by identification of these differences in the individual employees and “accommodating the differences to enable employees to maximize their output in the working environment.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 115)
Thus diversity at the workplace is meant to ensure that the composition of the workforce includes all individuals regardless of their gender, ethnicity/culture, and age; this is often facilitated by the creation of a proper working environment appropriate for most concerns of diverse people comprising the workforce. Most countries across the world have come up with “appropriate legislations to guide the creation of proper working environment that recognizes the diverse backgrounds of the individual worker.” (Peetz, 2006, p. 55)Three core forms of diversity are often captured in these legislations: Social category diversity- this relates to differences in demographic characteristics such as age and race; “informational diversity”- which relates to differences in the background such as education and knowledge; value diversity- concerning differences in personality and attitudes
“Communication in organization includes all means, both formal and informal, through which information is passed across the network of managers and other employees in the organization.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 25) The various forms of communication available may be used to pass official information from one part of the organization to another or between the workers and the managers. “These channels can also be used to exchange hearsay and rumors.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 25) The most challenging task faced by managers is to ensure that the information passed across does not compromise “good customer relations and employee satisfaction.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 26) Communication should form a strong “knowledge sharing tool throughout the organization and more importantly, it should be able to enhance the company’s competitiveness.” (Peetz, 2006, p. 14) For instance, if a firm wants to serve its customers efficiently, then it should have an orderly process of receiving and conveying order requests from them. The employees in the sales and execution units should interact maximally; this is important for teamwork and will increase the overall efficiency of the company.
There are several ways through which organizations keep in touch with their employees; “these may include the use of bulletin boards, newsletters, or magazines.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 27) Bigger firms, covering large geographical areas may have more advanced communication systems and this may include the “use of corporate –produced television shows or copy only messages transmitted by closed circuit television.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 28) Some organizations establish computer networks that instantly convey electronic mails to various branches and departments.
Case study: Woolworths
“Woolworths is a major Australian firm with extensive retail stores in Australia and New Zealand.” (Peetz 2006, p. 34) The company employs more than 195,000 individuals in its divisions which include; Supermarkets, hotels, liquor, petrol, and general merchandise. “The company has some of the most successful policies that guide the conducts of its employees.” (Peetz, 2006, p. 45) Sometimes in the past, the management came up with a strategy that was aimed at ensuring that a working environment is that is conducive for all the employees is created. Among other areas, the strategy was meant to ensure that everyone is treated with courtesy, dignity, and respect. The company conducts business in all areas of Australia. Therefore the organization’s culture seeks to ensure that different perspectives are brought on board to serve the culturally diverse nation. The company employs all individuals including the minority groups such as the Aborigines and the Torres Strait Islanders and yet everyone feels comfortable to be part of the Woolworth team.
“Organizational culture and behavior, diversity and communication are important aspects for any organization.” (Prasad, 2007, p. 125) However, organizations tend to overlook these issues but from the above explanation, it has been shown that the aspects are indeed vital for any organization’s success.
Peetz, D. (2006). Brave New Work Place: How Individual contrasts are Changing Our jobs. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
Prasad, P. (2007). Essentials of a Successful Organisation: A management Perspective. London: Sage Publishers.