Does the culture of your organization portray who you really are? One of a kind organizational culture optimizes information processing for efficient employee communication
Why does organizational culture matter, and why should you care? The culture of the organization describes the critical and post-modern view, as best explained by Hatch & Cunliffe (2013). We shall examine issues of domination associated with organizational culture (power, voice, and status quo) in this blog post.
The basis of this article is an official organizational culture that is always passing across information, for example, that other races are not inferior to white and black people.
You will notice the integration of information across the organization so that stories do not favor those deemed superior or in power if they have adopted this critical and postmodern culture. The management supports the interests of the organization in addition to all staff to cope with organizational problems on a continuous basis.
- Definition of organizational culture
- 9 reasons why open organizational culture is important
- Critical and post-modern view of organizational culture
- Organizational culture examples
- How to build strong, exceptional, and focussed organizational culture
- Dissemination and distribution of information
- Social culture in the workplace
- Organizational culture and leadership: heroines and heroes
Definition of organizational culture
“Organizational culture defines a jointly shared description of an organization from within.” — Bruce Perron
“Organizational culture is the sum of values and rituals which serve as ‘glue’ to integrate the members of the organization.” — Richard Perrin
Can you relate to any of these traits?
Let’s explore other core traits of corporate culture and how they can propel your organization (irrespective of the size or number of staff) to increased productivity.
Organizational culture quotes
Off-the wall organizational culture quotes
Here are nine reasons why non-obnoxious organizational culture is important.
- The oomph in the organizational is accompanied by addictive transformational power
- Healthy team environment that listens to stakeholders
- Open organizational culture increases employee motivation and freedom for active engagement
- There is no ambiguity as company information flows freely
- A sensational organizational culture where people feel that they belong has a decreased turnover of employees
- Overall organizational productivity is high
- Development of very high performance employees
- Effective onboarding process that transforms new hires and forms a long-term relationship with the employees
- Strong brand identity – even customers identify with it
Organizational culture analysis and theory“Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing.” – HubSpot Culture Code #organizationalculture #thextraordinarionly Click To Tweet
The three perspectives that help in the analyzing and understanding of organizations stem from the modern, symbolic interpretive, and post-modern perspective.
Modernist perspective is what you are able to collect from our senses; touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. The sole goal of modernists is to focus on objective knowledge and eliminate bias.
Symbolic interpretive perspective is subjective knowledge that cannot be measured as easily as those from the five senses, for example, personal experience and emotion. However, this perspective can introduce bias.
Postmodern perspective describes how knowledge gets used for power. It highlights the importance of language, and how it's reflection on reality.
Critical and post-modern view of organizational culture
The crucial and postmodern view of corporate culture affects communication in any organization as it brings out an important holistic concept of using knowledge for power (Creswell & Poth, 2017). It also highlights the importance of language and how it reflects reality.
For example this is what Mumby & Ashcraft (2017) shows. How do the subordinate staff address top executives? Its either ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ or ‘Doctor’ (and not Doc)/ Why? Because the senior execs are deemed very powerful. These titles highlight power, authority, and reaffirm their status.
Moreover, all employees are aware as long as they exceed customers’ expectations, the organization performs extraordinarily. The result is the realization of the organization’s objective, increased effectiveness, and additional profits.
Organizational culture examples
Dynamics of organizational culture in space allocation
The layout within a company affects communication in the coordination of activities.
Top executives in most organizations usually have large desks of superior quality and swinging chairs, notwithstanding larger office spaces where they sit alone. It is not mandatory for them to wear a uniform.
On the contrary, subordinates share office space with smaller workstation sizes that are less decorated.
One work station may have access to more than one employee. Junior staff follows a mandatory office dress code of branded apparel that represents the organization. Today, there is less distance between staff workspaces within a department despite the introduction of telephones and the internet.
Face to face stands out as the best mode of communication as stipulated by Hatch & Cunliffe (2013).
The top executives also have their parking space and receive personalized secretarial services. It symbolizes their superiority, affirming both the interpretive and the postmodern approach to organizational culture.
Check out your office.
- Is there a clear division of labor where a group of employees focuses on a particular task, that is, receipt of orders, packing final product, cashier, et Cetra?
- What is the case in demarcated departments? Is the company culture characterized by similar actives carried out by groups of people – either in the marketing department, accounting department, human resources department, the board of directors who occupy different space allocations.
Bulletin boards and walls
The foundation of the association between physical structure and organizational identity is status, group boundaries, and corporate image (Putnam & Fairhurst, 2015). Bulletin board and wall displays in the office represent the culture, attitude, different position, and status of the employees.
Trust me. There is a notable difference between bulletins and boards of top executives to their juniors.
Post items include views of the employees within a department, in addition to the organizations. Hatch & Cunliffe (2013) point out that for the senior executives, the bulletin boards, displays, and portraits that primarily emphasize the organization’s corporate image and identity.
Artifacts, family photos, and personal items
Artifacts displayed on desks or walls mark territories with personal belongings that show ownership of workspaces. These include personal items like photos of mentors or close relations (spouse, children, distant relatives), their children’s homework drawings.
The majority of the main office walls have artifacts and photos that are organizationally related. Those on the walls are theme-based, concerning organizational identity and perceptions of outsiders to the organization.
Corporate image influences the experiences of staff and their beliefs of the organization as a whole (Hassard et al., 2017)
Impact of organizational culture in common areas
Common rooms like boardrooms and washrooms allow the integration of staff at all levels (Putnam & Fairhurst, 2015).
Senior executives have extra privacy and walk very short distances to their washrooms, desks for tea, and boardrooms. The junior executives share and use the same resources, and conflict is very likely to arise.
Occasionally, meetings are held on a regular basis with the staff of all levels and hierarchies in the organization to applaud, recognize, and award the extraordinary ones in one of the meeting rooms or auditorium. Likewise, the organization’s vision, mission, and values are reiterated and emphasized in these meetings.
How to build strong, exceptional, and focussed organizational culture
Tone, frequency, content, type, and mode of communication
Employees in an organization are a community.
Emphasis exists on employee motivation, involvement, and communication of team goals, predominantly formally. Emails are shared for staff meetings every week. Mumby & Ashcraft (2017) discusses formal and informal communication of employees within departments, in order of hierarchy (up and down), and laterally.
Emails are escalated at each level but copied to every member of a department. Unique scenarios include when selected staff members form a committee to achieve a target or objective of a project. In this case, the information they communicate with each other whether formal or informal is passed on amongst this project, until they realize the goal and objective.
A meeting is called via email, and notice given accordingly. One of the project members then shares the information with relevant departments of the whole organization. Informal communication is widespread especially in the midst of staff members within departments, or similar grades across the entire organization.
Each category of staff, whether junior or senior have their informal way of communication that they only understand, commonly known as jargon. It is such that if a senior staff participates in an informal discussion with a group of junior staff, then messages passed across are taken in a relaxed manner. A junior employee takes a more formal tone when communicating with superiors.
In addition to the above, Hasard, et al., (2017) emphasize seamless communication amongst staff for complex tasks. Overall, communication is written for milestone reviews, personal objectives, and goals while verbal communication exists amongst staff within related departments and levels or ranks in an office.
Rules and regulation that govern both formal and informal communication guides how information flows during tasks such that all employees depend on one another.
Dissemination and distribution of information
Hierarchy in the organization show who reports to who in the organization. For instance, Hatch & Cunliffe (2013) discusses that when information is moved downwards on meeting goals and objectives of the organization, subordinates are told what to do by seniors, managers, including top executives.
On the other hand, when information is moving upwards, juniors report back to management with details of they will personally meet those goals and objectives. Consequently, the organization has a unity of community where employees report to several senior staff.
Social culture in the workplace
Employees within an organization socialize outside the workplace. Smaller groups of staff within the organization have different interests and tend to socialize together. Putnam & Fairhurst (2015) emphasizes that employees learn from each other in more relaxed environments, whether they work in similar or different departments.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”The closer the hierarchy and rank, the higher the chances of social interaction outside of the workplace.” quote=”The closer the hierarchy and rank, the higher the chances of social interaction outside of the workplace.”]
Other factors that play a role in out of workplace interactions include demographics, lifestyles, social moments, beliefs, history, traditions, values, knowledge, information, skills, expertise, neighborhood, legal, political affiliations. As the employees socialize out of work, social legitimacy improves.
Employees are encouraged to socialize outside their workplace to further expand their knowledge. The postmodernist theorists are skeptical of hierarchy, control, centralization, and integration (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2013). When they socialize together, they come up with their concepts of interaction to counter the differentiation they perceive to have taken place at work.
Do you have rituals at your workplace?
All employees socialize before joining any organization at childhood and teenage voluntarily or in a group. After college, employees let go of these old roles and values and adapt to the expectations of the team they find at the workplace according to Putnam & Fairhurst, 2015).
Intensive learning takes place through observation, asking questions, over the hearing, and interactions. The employee is accepted as an insider.
Movement from this level involves the mutual withdrawal of those staying and those who leave. One option is to move to either another similar position or a higher position within the same or different department. The other movement is an exit due to turnover, retirement, or sudden death. This is the ritual in the organization, irrespective of their rank.
Organizational culture and leadership: heroines and heroes
The heroines and heroes that are held up as role models are the protagonists who are strong, competent, and exceptional. They break free from established identities and construct new ones by the expansion of their consciousness (Putnam & Fairhurst, 2015).
The events the hero(ine) experience lead to a new life; a new life with outstanding admirable qualities. They could be lured or carried away or proceed voluntarily to achieve a task within the organization. A hero(ine) who refuses the call to adventure turns into a victim, but the one who continues crosses beyond the threshold of their world to the unfamiliar and eventually to astonish his/her workmates.
Creswell & Poth (2017) state that the dominant social culture has defined, chosen, and recognized heroes and heroines within the cultural boundaries identified through a filter. Therefore, their accomplishments are compatible with the emphasis on culture, for example, Steve Jobs of Apple Co. cultures are not identified in this write-up.
Any team culture evolves from the practical view of top management and leadership managing and designing the culture of employees for a purpose. In a different setting, an organization may adopt the emergent, created and developed a culture of networks of various subcultures (the interpretive view).
At the current view of the critical and post-modern view, an organization’s identity to facilitate the commitment of employees differentiates it from others in the same field. Firstly, high complexity in the demand of products results in a high level of certainty of the environment of the organization.
The resultant stable environment depicts a successful organization that uses mechanical and organic structures like innovation that assist the organization to meet its demands (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2013). Secondly, a cultivated organizational culture creates realities that offer a choice to get away from the ‘cultures’ employees in the organization do not like.
Hence, the postmodernist perspective for any organization may embrace technological innovation to satisfy different environmental demands. Employees strive to consistently create a sustainable environment (Creswell & Poth, 2017). Norms, laws, and values are embraced.
Thirdly, all employees in an organization behave sustain-ably due to the persistent message communicated of thoughts that the organization is sustainable. A structural change of five phases; the entrepreneurial, collective, delegation, formalization, and collaborative takes place.
Office and out of workplace routines, ideologies, and perceptions change by improvisation, innovation, and creativity. In this digital age of the Internet of Things, the adoption of computer-based technologies and social media transforms communication, both laterally and vertically across the organization. Therefore, the organization’s perception evolves with each different environment.
Further organizational culture references
Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2017). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage publications.
Hatch, M. J., & Cunliffe, A. L. (2013). Organization theory: modern, symbolic, and postmodern perspectives. Oxford university press.
Hassard, J., Hyde, P., Wolfram Cox, J., Granter, E., & McCann, L. (2017). Exploring health work: a critical-action perspective. Journal of Health Organization and Management, (just-accepted), 00-00.
Mumby, D. K., & Ashcraft, K. L. (2017). Critical Approaches. The International Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication.
Putnam, L. L., & Fairhurst, G. T. (2015). Revisiting “Organizations as discursive constructions”: 10 years later. Communication Theory, 25(4), 375-392.
What’s your organizational culture like?
Tell us your thoughts.
If you were to answer the question on what comparisons your odd organizational culture has with those explored in this blog post, what would it be?
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