Organizational culture is an area that can enhance the achievements of objectives and goals of an organization. Nowadays, companies are actively involved in shaping the development of their culture by recruiting employees who fit in their philosophy and mission. However, organizational culture remains one of the most misunderstood concepts in the management of organizations. Some organizations have a set of values and principles that they use which may not qualify as an organizational culture. Current paper presents a review of journal articles that discuss the concept of organizational culture and the findings from researchers on the best way to adapt positive organizational practices in the daily activities of an organization.
Keywords: organizational culture, management, communication, reward and punishment
Understanding the Formation of Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is one of the most popular topics in the management circles. Researchers have presented findings to highlight how organizations form and practice a given set of values and principles which are inculcated in the daily activities by employees. However, the formation of organizational culture remains a highly controversial concept because many scholars do not agree on how organizations form their culture. According to Robbins & Judge (2014), organizations can establish and sustain a culture which is unique to its operations. However, they note that organizational culture is mostly derived from the philosophy of the founder and follows through the criteria for hiring employees who fit in the philosophy. The management establishes a set of actions which form the general practice of organization. The practices include the acceptable behavior, communication channels and the appearance of employees while they are in their work environment. The level of socialization and integration of employees depends on the success gained in the matching of new hires to those of the process established in hiring them. Socialization plays a vital role in the formation of organizational culture as most of the new employees may meet the requirements of the hiring process but fail to integrate into the system. As such, developing socialization systems became an important part in the formation of organizational culture. The purpose of the current paper is to review scholarly research work related to the formation of organizational culture and the way it impacts on organizational behavior.
Article 1: Organizational Culture and Organizational Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of the Competing Values Framework’s Theoretical Suppositions
Hartnell, Ou & Kinicki focus on understanding the practices that could lead to the formation of what could be described as an organizational culture. The authors start their article by noting that many organizations cannot identify the specific practices that form their organizational culture. As a result, these companies cannot achieve organizational effectiveness simply because the management and the employees do not understand what should or should not be included in the organizational culture. Using quantitative approach, the authors of the article have identified a number of practices, which when they form a daily practice, can constitute to an organizational culture. They note that the management has a big role in the development of organizational culture, affirming that managers who have presented themselves as role models to their employees have achieved a high level of influence on them. Most of the new employees look up to the actions of their immediate supervisors and top management to adjust to their behavior. As such, an organization can institute a positive organizational culture by sending a positive message to the employees about their actions and behavior in and out of work. Communication is also an important aspect in encouraging positive and effective organizational culture. Through effective communication, the authors of the article note that management can minimize the ambiguity of ethical dilemmas in which new employees might find themselves.
Most organizations are now preparing codes of ethics to introduce the employees to the ethical rules and primary values which must be followed by their workers. Notably, this is also identified by Robbins & Judge, who have noted that ethical expectations can be introduced and reinforced through effective communication strategies. The strategies must be targeted to the right people to have the necessary impact and to help organizations in forming a positive culture inside the organization. The key role played by organizational culture in ensuring the effectiveness of operations is providing room for managers to develop training strategies for the employees. Many organizations are now holding weekly or monthly workshops, seminars, and training programs to enhance the standards and policies set to manage and direct the behavior of workers. These sessions, according to the authors, are important in informing the employees about the permissible practices. They also help them to identify ways through which they can address some of the challenges they might encounter at their workplaces. In other words, organizations must be actively engaged in creating a given organizational culture that will suit their objectives and goals. Hartnell, Ou & Kinicki observed that organizations cannot afford to leave the work of forming an effective organizational culture to the junior staff or individual departments. The establishment of training programs and seminars serves the purpose of directing the way culture is developed in any given organization. The authors also emphasized that organizational culture also needs to modify to reflect the changes in the industry in which the organization is operating. By enhancing effective organizational culture the company can compete effectively with others in the same industry.
Article 2: The Impact of Perceived Ethical Culture of the Firm and Demographic Variables on Auditors’ Ethical Evaluation and Intention to Act Decisions
Sweeney, Arnold & Pierce explored the way employees perceptions impact the development of ethical practices within an organization. From their findings, employees’ perceptions about the behaviors of top management and those in senior management positions can influence the way they develop their culture. Through their article, the authors observe that building on the strengths of employees can help to institute a positive organizational culture. This, however, should not be done at the expense of ignoring the problems that might hinder the implementation of positive values and practices in the organization. Employees should be shown how to emphasize and capitalize on their strengths to contribute to the positive growth of the organization. To them, modern practices that enforce the development of a positive organizational culture should be built on the discovery of the strengths of employees who are the drivers of the culture. Managers and supervisors should also endeavor to rewarding more than punishing employees who do not conform to the culture of the organization they are working for. The authors have noted that even in cases where organizational management is focused on extrinsic rewards including promotion and pay rise they should also focus on small rewards such as recognizing and praising those who perform better. Creating a positive culture and, hence, an ethical practice involves acknowledging workers who are performing. As the authors note in their article, many management officers are normally afraid of praising their employees because they think the praise will not be valued.
Apart from encouraging and rewarding ethical practices that form part of the organizational culture, the authors have noted that managers who reward ethical practices and punish the unethical ones are in a better position to influence the formation of positive culture in their organization. The variations in upholding ethical culture can be seen in the number of years or the duration that an employee had worked for the organization. However, by creating a positive impression even in the newly hired employee, it is possible to institute positive development of ethical values and practices consistent with the philosophy of the firm. It is also important for the management to provide protective measures and sessions where members of the firm are free to discuss the dilemmas they face. They should also be free to report the unethical behaviors they have observed without the danger of receiving a reprimand. According to Sweeney, Arnold & Pierce, the role of creating a positive ethical environment starts with the top management of the firm. In forms where the emphasis of the top management was based on strong ethical values, and where supervisors were also likely to espouse good leadership and hence ethical culture development. As argued further by the authors, ethical cultural attitude can be transferred down to employees and, therefore, influence the behaviors of the junior staff who may not be ethically following the recommended practices.
The current paper has reviewed peer reviewed articles that present the research findings on the development and formation of positive organizational culture. From the articles, it has been revealed that the management must take an active role in supporting and encouraging the development and nurture of positive organizational culture. As noted in the articles, positive organizational culture can be practiced through effective communication and establishment of policies and regulations. It also requires hiring employees who understand the philosophy and objectives of the organization and also rewarding employees who support the culture of the organization.
Among the outstanding elements of organizational culture development is the socialization that new employees get when they are hired by an organization. Socialization takes different forms in which employees can be segregated or integrated in the organization’s system. Through training programs and orientation activities, new employees can be introduced to the culture of the organization and to the practices and values supported by their organization. From the reviewed articles, it is evident that organizations should take an active role in forming their culture. The strategies put in place to encourage positive organizational culture must be versatile enough and allow changes to take place as the need may arise. Organizational culture should be dynamic to allow the adaption of new practices that will help to meet the objectives of an organization.
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