Corporate Culture

It has been defined as "the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization. Organizational values are beliefs and ideas about what kinds of goals members of an organization should pursue and ideas about the appropriate kinds or standards of behavior organizational members should use to achieve these goals. From organizational values develop organizational norms, guidelines or expectations that prescribe appropriate kinds of behavior by employees in particular situations and control the behavior of organizational members towards one another." (Hill & Jones, 2001)

Senior management may try to determine a corporate culture. They may wish to impose corporate values and standards of behavior that specifically reflect the objectives of the organization. In addition, there will also be an extant internal culture within the workforce.

Work-groups within the organization have their own behavioral quirks and interactions which, to an extent, affect the whole system. Task culture can be imported. For example, computer technicians will have expertise, language and behaviors gained independently of the organization, but their presence can influence the culture of the organization as a whole.

Strong culture is said to exist where staff respond to stimulus because of their alignment to organizational values.

Conversely, there is weak culture where there is little alignment with organizational values and control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy.

Where culture is strong there is a risk of another phenomenon, Groupthink. "Groupthink" was described by Irving L. Janis. He defined it as "...a quick and easy way to refer to a mode of thinking that people engage when they are deeply involved in a cohesive ingroup, when members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternatives of action." This is a state where people, even if they have different ideas, do not challenge organizational thinking, and therefore there is a reduced capacity for innovative thoughts. This could occur, for example, where there is heavy reliance on a central charismatic figure in the organization, or where there is an evangelical belief in the organization’s values, or also in groups where a friendly climate is at the base of their identity (avoidance of conflict). In fact groupthink is very common, it happens all the time, in almost every group. Members that are defiant are often turned down or seen as a negative influence by the rest of the group, because they bring conflict (conflicting ideas) and disturb the central culture. In cultural studies, culture is seen as ethnocentric (Barone, J.T, Switzer, J.Y), or culturocentric, meaning that we tend to think that our culture/subculture is the best. The stronger the culture, the greater the risks of groupthink.

By contrast, bureaucratic organizations may miss opportunities for innovation, through reliance on established procedures.

Innovative organizations need individuals who are prepared to challenge the status quo and need procedures to implement new ideas effectively.

Reference: Wikipedia
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