Culture And Organizational Behavior Revisited

Culture and organizational behavior were not always two topics that were considered side by side of one another. In fact, this concept which may seem common place, and even common sense now, first gathered steam only a little over twenty years ago. In the 1980s, there was a large push in the area of theory to pay attention to organizational culture as an important factor in individual organizational success.

Many experts started arguing that developing a strong organizational culture was essential for maximum success. Most people agree that a solid connection is there, although there remains some degree of argument as to how influential it really is.

The behavior found within a successful organization will in part be due to, and continually nourished by, a healthy organizational culture. It's extremely important to know what type of behavior culture has the greatest impact and how culture works to control the behavior of members of that particular organization. The culture will affect the organization, just as the opposite is true. Behavior is a learned habit, and the process of socialization that teaches new employees the habits of those workers already there is one of the major parts of organizational culture.

The behavior of individuals within a culture will depend greatly on the behavior that is encouraged by the higher ups, and by the general organizational culture that any corporate entity has.

There are always decisions that have to be made about a business that leans the culture, and therefore the behavior of the employees there, one direction of the other (though most fall somewhere in the middle). The following are some examples of the different conflicting emphasis that can clash with each other in determining the behavior of the employees.

Social Focus vs. Task Focus. The emphasis here determines whether decisions are made on the condition of improving relationships as the bottom line, or if having the assigned tasks finished is most important.

Individual vs. Team. This is pretty self explanatory. Do you encourage team players, or do you only need individual cogs to do their part?

Cost Control vs. Happy Customers. This is where many businesses can go wrong. This determines how concerned individual employees and supervisors should care about happy customers and general service as opposed to minimizing operating costs, sometimes at the price of customer service.

Power distances. Is the CEO unreachable to all but the other executives? Does your manager have complete power over you, or is she/he like a co-worker who simply has final say? This can change attitudes drastically.

These are only a few of the factors of organizational culture that affect organizational behavior and vice versa. The two influence each other, and often times the culture will help to dictate the behavior, and the behavior will come back around to reinforce the organizational culture. The relationship between culture and organizational behavior is undeniable. To the benefit of some, but to the detriment of others.