Your Corporation Really Can Have Culture

There are several different points of view out there when talking about organizational culture perspective. Part of this arises from the fact that even larger or general perceptions of this subject have shifted over time.

For a long time, many theorists and businessmen alike saw culture as something that came from outside of corporations and was a part of national identity, traditions, ethnic groups, or other influences equally outside of the corporate influence.

An alternative perspective eventually emerged which argued that culture was not a completely outside influence on companies that couldn't be controlled or shaped, but that culture was actually a part of any large organization, and that it was an internal influence.

If you viewed organizational perspective this way, then culture becomes a much different factor in how things work. According to this model, which is now widely accepted, large companies and other similar organizations have, and are, their own cultures in the same way that separate countries or tribes are different cultures.

Studies of "corporate culture" now studied the way that companies could actually create their own sub cultures through repetitive training, meetings that worked in a ritualized fashion, and in ceremonies and the general thought processes that different companies encouraged.

Culture was no longer some outside force that had to be dealt with because workers brought it into the company from the outside world, but developing a healthy organizational culture was now something that seemed theoretically possible. If creating an organizational culture was possible, then it should also be possible to develop a strong culture within the organization that would actually help to contribute to employee efficiency, productivity, loyalty, and in the end, profit. This idea was very appealing to many CEOs, and the era of recognizing and breeding specific organizational cultures began.

This idea caught on, all because of the new view of culture. Studies were done in "cultural engineering." Basically, companies invested a lot of time, money, and manpower to really determine if a strong culture could actually be made and produced just like something off of the assembly line, to the benefit of everyone involved. The feeling was, and remains, that certain measures can be taken to influence the cohesion and unity of an organization.

Providing a strong organizational culture was seen as a strategy that could be used in order to strengthen the power of the managers and to create a more direct and invested road from the CEOs at the top of the company to the common employees themselves.

This is a view that is seen today, and is so universal among companies and theorists that while there may still exist some disagreements over what exactly constitutes culture or how much of an influence it has, virtually no one argues that organizational culture does not exist. It is accepted as fact that individual companies definitely have their own unique cultures and sub-cultures that either help them succeed or cause them to fail or flounder. All of this from a change in organizational culture perspective.