Tuesday, June 8, 2010


The culture of a group can now be defined as: A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.Organizational culture is the personality of any organization. Culture is comprised of the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization members and their behaviours. Members of an organization soon come to sense the particular culture of an organization. Culture is one of those terms that's difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when they sense it. For example, the culture of a large, for-profit corporation is quite different than that of a hospital which is quite different that of a university. You can tell the culture of an organization by looking at the arrangement of furniture, what they brag about, what members wear, etc. - similar to what you can use to get a feeling about someone's personality.
Corporate culture can be looked at as a system. Inputs include feedback from, e.g., society, professions, laws, stories, heroes, values on competition or service, etc. The process is based on our assumptions, values and norms, e.g., our values on money, time, facilities, space and people. Outputs or effects of our culture are, e.g., organizational behaviors, technologies, strategies, image, products, services, appearance, etc.
The organisational culture is a crucial element of organisational life. It holds things together and it is the fabric of "the way we do things around here" but is also where bad habits become well-established and good intentions go off centre.
The concept of culture is particularly important when attempting to manage a organization. Practitioners are coming to realize that, despite the best-laid plans, organizational change must include not only changing structures and processes, but also changing the corporate culture as well.
Organisational culture is usually created by top management with the power to set direction and effect structure in organisations. Their leadership style, in turn, influences communication. Culture therefore influences the communication climate , degree of honesty and truthfulness in an organisation. Positive communication climates such as humanistic or participative, encourage problem-centred, open and honest communication where people tend to be respected and trusted. A poor communications climate has a clear business cost including low morale, reduced production, poor customer service, loss of reputation as well as bad mouthing the company, weak relationships and reduced personal and organisational learning.
Many strategic planners now place as much emphasis on identifying strategic values as they do the organizations mission and vision, due to organizational change efforts which fail the vast majority of the time as failure is recognised as lack of understanding about the strong role of culture and the vital role it plays within organizations.

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