Management Skill Berde, Csaba Management Skill



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1. 9.1. Typology of cultures

Many classifications are known from the professional literatures. A clear type is not identifiable in an organization, signs of different cultures are usually equally recognized. In the following section we try to introduce the most accepted ones.

According to Baker (2004) all organizations have cultures, still some appear to have stronger, more deeply rooted cultures than others.  When a culture is strong, then it may be conceptualized as a coherent set of beliefs, values, assumptions, and practices embraced by most members of the organization.  The emphasis is usually on


  • the degree of consistency of beliefs, values, assumptions, and practice across organizational members;

  • the pervasiveness (number) of consistent beliefs, values, assumptions, and practices.  

Some consider a strong culture as a corporate advantage, since it promotes motivation, commitment and these may be turned into financial benefit as well. On the other hand, some noticed the drawbacks of the strong culture may result in unconstrained demands on corporate laborers, and these may also be means of manipulation and cooptation (Perrow, 1979). Schein (1992) proposed that culture of modern organizations should be strong but limited, differentiating fundamental assumptions that are pivotal (vital to organizational survival and success) from everything else that is merely relevant (desirable but not mandatory).  Baker (2002) noticed that nowadays organizations need a strong organizational culture but one that is less pervasive in terms of prescribing particular norms and behavioral patterns than may have existed in the past. It is noticeable that after the change of regime in Eastern Europe, former corporate cultures were often meant the difficulties for new owners of the privatized companies. Moreover, multinational companies also brought in the country and into their new organizations their established foreign cultures, which meant challenges for laborers, since many elements had never been noticed until then.

Denison (1990) has identified 4 basic types of cultures according to their functions, and it all will be translated into four hypotheses. The dimensions by which classification is possible are addressing internal or external environment and internal dynamics orstability:



  • the hypothesis of consistency-common values, beliefs in the organization will promote coordination and meaning, sense of identification

  • hypothesis of the mission-the concept that shared objectives and strategies will drive organizational members toward common objectives

  • participation hypothesis-the concept that participation will promote sense of responsibility and will contribute to commitment

  • the hypothesis of adaptability-the concept that norms, beliefs will promote the organizational capacity to cope with challenges and adapt to changes.

Cameron et al. (2006) have introduced a methodology known as the competing values framework. In the framework of it, researchers have examined what are the values organizations consider important to raise their efficiency. They have identified two explanation values which interpret efficiency:

  • Concentration inside or outside: the first means focus on the corporate members and internal efficiency, the later focuses on adaptability to the external environment

  • Flexibility or tight control: flexibility means larger space to move and decisional freedom, the later expresses limits in behavior and decision-making.

By making dimensions of the four aspects, they have described a model of corporate culture (which, because of the contrasts may also be called as model of competing values):

By classifying cultures, they may be sorted into four types; these are the clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy (Figure 2.).



9.2. ábra - Figure 2: The competing values framework (based on Cameron et al.(2006)).

Details of these four types are the following (Kinicki-Williams, 2011):



  • The clan culture has an internal focus rather than external, and values flexibility rather than stability.  The culture has an internal focus and  values  flexibility  rather  than stability and control.  They work like a family by encouraging collaboration among  employees,  striving  to  encourage  cohesion  through  consensus  and  job satisfaction and to  increase  commitment through employee involvement.  These kinds of organizations deal with employees and also develop them, customers are regarded as partners.

  • The adhocracy culture has external focus and flexible values. Corporates having them seem to be rather innovative, creative and quickly respond to the market changes. Employees are empowered to risk and take challenges, start initiatives. This type is typical of currently emerging new companies.

  • Market culture. It has external focus and stable, controlled values. Since these organizations are quite often market driven, laborers rarely feel satisfied: quality and performance requirements are declared. Those who meet them are rewarded, difference form the objectives are rarely tolerated. Rapidly emerging South-Asian automobile producer, KIA is an example of that.

  • Hierarchy culture. This culture is characterized by internal focus and stable, controlled values. These kinds of companies typically possess formalized, structured work environment aimed at achieving effectiveness through a variety of control mechanisms. Automobile companies, post delivery organization in the US are typical examples.  



Famous scholar Handy (1999) has defined four types of corporate cultures together with their identifiable symbols as well:

  • The culture of the power or authority. The power culture is symbolized by a spider’s web. Key element of this structure is the charismatic leader. In some organizations the power is possessed by only few people, who are also decision makers, too. In a culture like this, some responsibilities are delegated but upper instructions must be followed strictly. In a strictly centralized organization like this, emerge and development may cause the organizational conditions and relations impenetrable.

  • The role culture. This type of culture is symbolized by a Greek temple. In this culture authority and power are delegated inside a highly defined structure. These organizations are typical examples of bureaucracies: orders and duties come from statuses and positions, the operation is declared in documents (such as job descriptions). These seem to be very stable units, where strength of the organization lies in the specialization inside its pillars. Interaction is have a nature of official.

  • The task culture. It is symbolized by a lattice work. In the centre of the attention lie the task and its realization. It provides a considerable independency for the members; it applies team work (usually cross-functional or cross-professional ones) and realizes a specific performance centered approach. Typical of R+D organizations. Often refers to a matrix structure.

  • Person culture. It is symbolized by a cluster. There are some organizations, where laborers fell that they are equally (if not more) important than their organizations their work for. In cultures like this individual are more concerned about themselves than the organization itself. It is typical of forming organizations, where the organization itself is not yet bureaucratic and strong authority has not been established. Statuses are usually filled in by personal skills and capacities. It is usually transitional, and soon becomes into the one of the previous three.

The other famous scholar Kono (1990) has studied the three basic elements of the corporateculture. He tried to answer the following questions:

  • What can be considered as internal common values

  • What is the typical concept of the decision making practice of the corporation, what are dominant samples and procedures

  • What are the generally prevailing behavior customs

Decision-making has a central role in this list, and it is what dominantly influences internal culture. The three main elements may be broken into deeper ones:

  • Values, which are accepted and followed by the members,

  • The collection and understanding of information,

  • The way of establishing and distributing concepts, objectives, orders,

  • The ways of evaluation of ideas, concepts and the degree and method of taking risk,

  • The development of cooperation between managers and laborers,

  • The degree of loyalty to the company,

  • The development of motivation.

In his work Williams (2011) covered the subject of changing corporate cultures. One method of changing a corporate culture is to use behavioral addition or behavioral substitution to establish new patterns of behavior among managers and employees. Addition means a process of having managers and employees paired with a new behavior, while behavioral substitution is having managers and employees perform a new behavior in place of another behavior. Beside behavioral elements, changing corporate artifacts is also a way of changing culture. Cultures can also be changed by hiring and selecting people with values and beliefs consistent with the company’s desired culture. The author considers changing culture a difficult job. There is no guarantee that previous elements will lead to success, probably the combination of these all may contribute to it.

According to (Trice-Beyer, 1991) there are the following types of culture changes:



  • Revolutionary and comprehensive efforts  

  • Efforts that are gradual and incremental but nevertheless are designed to cumulate so as to produce a comprehensive reshaping of the entire organizational culture

  • Efforts confined to radically change specific subcultures or cultural components of the overall differentiated culture.

According to Williams (2011), preliminary research showed that organizational culture is related to organizational success. Basic elements to these are the following:

  • Those cultures which are based on adaptability (ability to notice and respond to changes), since cultures may also act as leverage of dysfunctions to prevent change.

  • It should promote a high level of involvement of laborers in decision-making, and by doing this laborers will feel better sense of responsibility and ownership.

  • A clear company mission is promoting the organizational drive and act as a guide to decisions and behavior of people.

  • Consistency means that company actively defines and teaches organizational values, beliefs, and attitudes. Stable beliefs are widely shared and strongly held.



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