An Easy Understanding Of Organizational Culture - Really!
At one point organizational culture was considered a new and radical idea, but over the course of the last twenty years the theory of organizational culture has moved from a theoretical academic notion to gaining overwhelming belief as a true structure that can help individuals understand various human systems.
While organizational culture is a term most commonly used now in the business, and particularly the corporate, field, the original idea of organizational culture within business came from ideas of culture in anthropology and sociology, and indeed many of the terms used to describe organizational culture are also used in college level classes in those subjects.
The culture of a group, whether based on national, ethnic, or corporate identity, can be described by the definition of: A pattern of shared basic assumptions and beliefs that a group learned as it solved problems, internal and external, and those assumptions have worked effectively enough to be passed on to new members as the proper or correct way to think, evaluate, and see those problems and solve them.
Organizational culture thus evolves over time, just as the group does. There are always two challenges that apply to basic cultures being studied in sociology, and those two challenges in different ways also apply to the business world, therefore allowing for the comparison.
Those two challenges are:
Â· Adapting to the problems and challenges that occur in the external environment that affect the group in order to survive, and if possible, thrive.
Â· Taking individuals from outside the already established organizational culture and passing on the group values, thus uniting a group of independent individuals into a cohesive whole that can benefit everyone more than individual efforts.
Understanding organizational culture is imperative, as is the honest analysis of an individual's, or corporation's, own specific culture can help in a concerted effort to reinforce the good while eliminating the bad. Organizational culture can go either way. Good culture can make every worker stronger, and even the most average worker's contribution exceptional while bad culture can destroy even the most talented individuals.
Thinking that culture is only a few weekly meetings and a couple mandated memos from the Board of Directors is a sure fire way to end up with a weak and inefficient culture that will eventually begin to drag the company down.
If you want to be able to get very specific in how you define organizational culture, then you need to take each case on an individual basis. Every corporation has their own culture, and muddying up the waters even more is that many cultures have sub-cultures, and corporate culture is no different. Even within a company's organizational culture, there are likely to be several sub-cultures within the larger standard culture.
Each will have slightly different values, experiences, and hierarchies of authority. Knowing this will help any individual studying these cultures to realize that each one needs to be defined a little differently, each sub culture accounted for. Only then can a detailed description of a culture be made and steps taken to change it.