How is Organizational culture created and sustained ?

How Organizational Culture Begins?

An organization’s current customs, traditions and general way of doing things are largely due to what it has done before and the degree of success it has had with those endeavours.

The original source of an organization’s culture usually reflects the vision or mission of the organization’s founders. Because the founders had the original idea, they also may have biases on how to carry out the idea. Their focus might be on aggressiveness or it might be on treating employees as family. The small size of most new organizations helps the founders instil their vision in all organizational members. Organizational cultures can develop in a number of different ways, these steps are explained below:-

  1. A single person (founder) has an idea for a new enterprise: Some organizational cultures may be the direct, or at least, indirect, result of actions taken by the founders. The founders of an organization traditionally have a major impact on that organization’s early culture. They have a vision of what the organization should be.
  2. Founders’ creation of a core group: The founder brings in one or more other key people and creates a core group that shares a common vision with the founder. The founder’s only hire and keep employees who think and feel the way they do.
  3. These employees who form the core group believe that the idea is a good one, is worth the investment of time, money and energy. Sometimes founders create weak cultures, and if the organization is to survive, a new top manager must be installed who will sow the seeds for the necessary strong culture.

  4. Indoctrinate and Socialize: The founding core group begins to act in concert to create an organization by raising funds, obtaining patents, incorporating, locating land, building infrastructure and so on. The core group indoctrinate and socialize employees to their way of thinking and feeling.
  5. Build a Common History: The founders’ own behaviour acts as a role model that encourages employees to identify with them and thereby internalize their beliefs, values, and assumptions. At this point, others are brought into the organization, and a common history begins to be built. When the organization succeeds, the founder’s vision becomes seen as a primary determinant of that success. At this point, the founders’ entire personalities become embedded in the culture of the organization.

Most of today’s successful organizations follow the vision of their founders.

Sustaining a Culture

Once a culture is in place, there are practices within the organization that act to maintain it by giving employees a set of similar experiences. Sustaining a culture depends on three forces. These forces are explained below:

  1. Selection: The goal of the selection process is to identify and hire individuals who could make the organization successful through their services. Therefore candidates who believe in the values of the organizational have to be selected.
  2. Thus, the selection process attempt to ensure a proper match in the hiring of people who have values essentially consistent with those of the organization or at least a good portion of those values cherished by the organization. In this way, the selection process sustains an organization’s culture by selecting those individuals who will fit into the organizations core values.

  3. Top Management: Top management have a important role to play in sustaining the organization’s culture. It is the top management who establish norms that filter down through the organization. It is they through their conduct both implicit and explicit that shows what is desirable. They do this through pay raises, promotions and other rewards.
  4. Socialization: Socialization is the process that adapts employees to the organization’s culture. Organization wants to help new employees adapt to its culture. The adaptation is done through the process of “socialization”.

Socialization is made up of three stages:

  1. The Pre-arrival Stage: This stage encompasses all the learning that occurs before a new member joins the organization. The socialization process covers both the work to be done and the organization. The pre-arrival stage is the period of learning in the socialization process that occurs before a new employee joins the organization. For example, when students join a business school to pursue their MBA degree, they are socialized to have attitudes and behaviours that business firms want. This is so because the success depends on the degree to which the student has correctly anticipated the expectations and desires of those in the business school.
  2. Encounter Stage: In this stage of the socialization process, the new employee sees what the organization is really like and confronts the possibility that expectations and reality may diverge. In expectations prove to have been more or less accurate, the encounter stage merely provides a reaffirmation of the perceptions gained during the pre-arrival stage. Those employees who fail to learn the essential or pivotal role behaviours risk being labelled as “rebels” and face the risk of expulsion. This further contributes to sustaining the culture.
  3. Metamorphosis Stage: Metamorphosis stage is the stage in the socialization process in which a new employee changes and adjusts to the job, work group and organization. In this stage relatively long-lasting changes take place. The employee masters the skill required for his or her job, successfully performs his or her new roles, and makes the adjustments to his or her work group’s values and norms. The metamorphosis stage completes the socialization process. The new employee internalizes the norms of the organization and his work groups and understands and accepts the norms of the organization and his work group. The success of this stage have a positive impact on the new employee’s productivity and his commitment to the organization.

Dimensions of Organizational Culture

Dimensions of Organizational Culture

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