Organisational culture is the easiest thing to comprehend and at the same time the most difficult thing to define. It is described as the system of shared beliefs and values that develops within an organisation and guides the behaviour of its members. It should provide for a clear vision of what the organisation is attempting to accomplish with the force, persuasiveness and nature of such model beliefs and values varying considerably from one organisation to the next. Many major firms operating in todays society base their business on a strong operating culture.
Where as smaller business that have little or no culture, regularly fail customer service requirements. There are advantages and disadvantages surrounding such methods of business management, with smaller and larger organisations finding a best method to suit their needs. An internal environment is one that the business can control such as personal, marketing and accounting systems. A successful organisation continually reviews and changes, where necessary, factors within this environment. Once the perfect changes have been made to carry out the business goals, all staff are trained and reviewed upon to assure a strong operating system.
These changes can be made within the marketing process, strategic plans, tactical plans, prime and secondary functions, authority, responsibility and chain of command. All of these factors help to influence a business organisational operational culture, but the main aspects are within the business relationship with customers and creditors and personnel policies such as productivity, training and benefits, resource and technological requirements are also of major concern to assure a well-working team in all areas of goods and services. By altering such factors, a business can control its efficiency and effectiveness.
With productivity being of such importance to a business, all employees must share strong values and beliefs. There is little room for slackers and people who rely on others to finish their work. Therefore, with a strong management and closely nit groups, success will sure to follow. Employees must be trained in all aspects of their job to ensure that the final product is of the best quality and that the customers are satisfied. Henry Fayols management theory of Planning, Organising, Leading and Controlling is an ideal example of how a strong organisational culture can create the most efficient business. (Graves 1986; p129).
Initially, planning involves defining the goals and establishing strategies. Organising stands as the next most important section as it defines what needs to be accomplished, how it will be done and who is to do it. It is the management in this aspect that determines how successful the business is. Leading is directing and motivating all of the involved parties and controlling is simply monitoring activities to ensure they are being accomplished as planned and correcting and problems. Again, a strong managerial influence in the controlling section ensures that the right person is conducting the right job.
In the initial planning of the business, factors such as the marketing process, strategic plans, tactical plans, prime and secondary functions, authority, responsibility and chain of command are all outlined and given direction. Naturally, through organising and leading, the controlling aspect will again overlook the final product to ensure that the best methods are being used and a strong advantage is held over the competition. A strong culture can be seen as the way employees speak and communicate with one another, how they dress and how they operate in general activities throughout the day.
By how workers behave, ensures that new trainees learn and share the same common beliefs and goals. Throughout the business hours, new members notice these traits between co-workers and also share in stories and rituals. (Schermerhorn/Campling/Poole/Wiesner (2004). p45). The behaviour of employees is of the most importance. This is the behaviour between employees, but also between the employees and the customers and the employees and the management. Everything that is called manners is, of course, strictly determined by cultural ritualisation and the way in which workers communicate verbally and physically.
All of the employees must have the same attributes in order to obtain the business goal. For large offices, an example could be that all workers must be punctual with deadlines and therefore always carrying their work out on time. This improves their personal efficiency with time management and also improves the companies overall efficiency. In the case of a major fast food chain, all of the workers must be quick learners, fast on their feet, be able to think independently, and most of all work as a team in order for the business to ensure a quick turn-around time with orders.
Highly successful business predominately emphasis performance excellence, innovation, worker involvement, teamwork and customer service. (Schermerhorn/Campling/Poole/Wiesner (2004). p46). This is because it is in these core sectors where a business operates mainly and has deep involvement with the consumers and clientele. . Yet it is assumed that an organisation that has any history at all has developed some sort of culture and that this will have a vital impact on the degree of success of any efforts to alter or improve the business. (Porter, Lawler and Hackman (1975). p489).
This point shows how a business can retain a strong culture and still try to further improve on their operational methods. Regardless of how minute the changes may be. To maintain a strong competitive advantage, a business must alter their methods and approaches with time and advances in the industry and environment. Naturally, if the cultures were completely unchallengeable then no change undertakings would be successful. If leaders seek to change the organisational culture of the company, they may alter the way in which employees think about themselves and the business, and their position within it (Alan Bryman (1992). p98).
It is possible to imprint the values and behaviour deriving from one culture onto the workforce of another with startling effect, but it is hard to see how this could happen without some kind of cultural tolerance from the receiving employees (Ghiselli, E. E. (1963). P15). Morale is another key factor within a strong culture, and maintaining a strong grasp on it can be a daunting task for any manager. All workers crave a sense of identity with what they do. (Super, D. E. (1953). P185). For workers, this comes from knowing that they are charged with what they do and feeling part of an enterprise in which they can take pride.
Employees wish to work with people whom they can respect and want other workers to feel that they are making a contribution of value to the outcome of the company. These signs of appreciation towards the workers can come from other employees and the management. Again, verbal communication is vital, and if carried out frequently, a higher status of moral will proceed and therefore a stronger internal operational culture. For if the workers loose pride in their work, the success of the business diminishes and the commitment of all parties welters. Management may take on the approach of Max Webers views on scientific management.
This is a complete opposite to a successful organisational business operating culture, with scientific management having an adoption of one best way is used to create the final product or service. Max Weber states that beurocracy was an ideal methods for getting the job done. This involved a form of organisation marked by division of labour, hierarchy, rules, regulations and a general impersonal relationship between all workers. It is clear how no form of organisational culture could ever be evident in such an operating environment as workers are only trained to perform their job and not work as a team.
It is true that this method works to obtain the final objective, but very few, if any, major firms operate under such rule. There is no room for employee advancement, and most importantly, no space for recognition of workers merit. Therefore, as stated earlier, company morale would diminish and the overall business performance would suffer. Following the business vision is of key importance to the organisation. If the mission statement changes slightly new values may have to be adopted, so that the organisational culture merely has to facilitates rather than act as a barrier to the vision and its associated strategy.
Alan Bryman (1992). P133). The problem with an already pre-existing culture is that employees may need to be educated to understand what advantages the new vision holds for them. Unfortunately, some workers may need to be reassigned or replaced if they no longer hold the necessary values needed to operate the business efficiently. This could be due to technological advances creating a learning gap for the employee or merely due to their inability to assimilate to the new changes.
In order not to appear totally over bearing, the managers may need to retain some of the organisations cultural past such as certain practices and key elements. But with any new managerial team, the culture is sure to suffer with change. Although, depending on the pre-existing strength of the culture, how much will have to be determined. This leads to the problems faced with a strong organisational culture. As all know, with time comes change. The external business environment is subject to change on various levels at random, and the behaviour of the business to adapt suitably will determine its success in the future.
For large companies, a major external change might not effect its operations severely, so the internal environment would be fairly secure. For a small business, an organisational culture would not have a vast operational history, and could therefore adapt with a newer plan of operation. But for the medium-sized business, the workers inability to adapt may see a problem. If the culture within the business is strong in the way that the workers can change their working patterns and still operate as a team, then the business future is secure.
On the other hand, if the workers culture within the organisational structure were weak, with little personal communication and support between peers, then the business would be sure to fail. For smaller organisations Parker states, small businesses are cultures. They do not have cultures (Martin Parker (2002) . p73). For the smaller businesses to operate with accordance to day external changes, the internal environment must acquire some form of shared ness between employers, employees and consumers.
They must all know what the others want from each other to work successfully. Therefore, businesses dont always need a strong organisational culture, but merely a culture with the ability to adapt to the changing environments. While the cultures of large companies seem today to be so robust that the need for transforming leadership is not a continuing one, we doubt such cultures would ever have developed as they did without that kind of leadership somewhere in the past. Most often when the business was relatively small.
So a strong organisational culture seems to be only of use to larger firms, whilst smaller firms can adapt with either a culture or not. Perhaps the true answer is too have a strong culture, but close controlling by the managerial team would be needed to ensure that the external changes do not effect the workers suddenly and cause confusion between the workers. In the case of organisational culture, it has allowed managers to create an alternative that seems to allow organisations to function better at the same time that bureaucracy withers away and is replaced by something altogether more humanised.