HOW EMPLOYEES LEARN CULTURE?

How is culture transmitted to employees of an Organization ?

Culture is transmitted to employees in a number of ways. The most significant are stories, rituals, symbols, and language.

Stories: Organizational “stories” typically contain a narrative of significant events or people including such things as the organization’s founders, rules breaking, reactions to past mistakes, and so forth. Lavinson and Rosenthal suggest that stories and myths about organization’s heroes are powerful tools to reinforce cultural values throughout the organization and specially in orienting new employees. These stories provide prime examples that people can learn from. Stories and myths are often filtered through a “cultural network” and remind employees as to “why we do things in a certain way”. To help employees learn the culture, organizational stories anchor the present in the past, provide explanations and legitimacy for current practices, and exemplify what is important to the organization.

Rituals and Ceremonies: Corporate rituals are repetitive sequences of activates that express and reinforce the values of the organization, what goals are most important, and which people are important and which ones are superfluous. Ceremonies and rituals reflect such activities that are enacted repeatedly on important occasions. Members of the organization who have achieved success are recognized and rewarded on such occasions. For example, awards given to employees on “founders’ day”, Gold medals given to students on graduation day are reflections of culture of that institution.

Material / Cultural Symbols: Symbols communicate organizational culture by unspoken messages. When you walk into different businesses, do you get a “feel” for the place –formal, casual, fun, serious, and so forth? These feelings you get demonstrate the power of material symbols in creating an organization’s personality. Material artefacts created by an organization also speak of its cultural orientation and make a statement about the company. These material symbols convey to employees who is important, the degree of equality desired by top management and the kind of behaviour that are expected and appropriate.

Examples: - assigned parking space for senior executives in the company premises, large offices given to senior managers, luxury automobiles given to senior or successful officers of the organization.

Organizational Heroes: Top Management and prominent leaders of the organization become the role models and a personification of an organization’s culture. Their behavior and example become a reflection of the organization’s philosophy and helps to mould the behaviour of organizational members.

Language: - Many organizations and units within organizations use language as a way to identify members of a culture. By learning this language, members attest to their acceptance of the culture and their willingness to help to preserve it.

Managerial Decisions affected by culture: For any organization to grow and prosper, it is important that its mission and its philosophy be respected and adhered to by all members of the organization. Here managers play a significant role in building the culture of the organization. The manager plays continuous attention to maintaining the established standards and send clear signals to all the employees as to what is expected of them.

Cultural consistency and strong adherence to cultural values become easy when the mangers themselves play strong role models. Good managers are able to support and reinforce an existing strong culture by being strong role models and by handling situations that may result into cultural deviations. The figure below shows the major areas of amanager’s job are influenced by culture.

How the Environment Affects Managers: The environment affects managers.

  1. Through the degree of environmental uncertainty
  2. Through the various stakeholders relationships.
  1. Environmental Uncertainty:-The environmental uncertainty is the degree of change and complexity in an organization’s environment.
  2. Degree of Change: - If the components in an organization’s environment changes to aminimum, we call it a stable environment. A stable environment is characterises by

    • No new technological break throughs by current competitors.
    • No new competitors
    • Little activity by pressure groups to influence the organization

    We call it a dynamic environment, if the components in an organization’s environment change frequently.

    Degree of Complexity: - The degree of complexity refers to the number of components in an organization’s environment and the extent of the knowledge that the organization has about those components.

    Environmental Uncertainty

    Environmental Uncertainty

    Managers try to minimize uncertainty because it is a threat to organization’s effectiveness.

    Given the choice, managers would prefer to operate in an environment which is simple and stable. However, managers rarely have full control over that choice.

  3. Stakeholders Relationship: - Stakeholders are any constituencies in the organization’s external environment that are affected by the organization’s decisions and actions.

Various Organizational Stakeholders

Various Organizational Stakeholders

The few of the organizational stakeholders are explained below:

  • Stockholders: The shareholders are the persons who provide the funds to the business enterprise. The business should be managed efficiently so as to provide a fair return on the investments of the shareholders. They should be provided with comprehensive reports giving full information about its working. In the same way, the shareholders should also meet the obligations of the business enterprise by supporting the efforts of the business so that continuous development of the enterprise is possible. They should encourage the business to follow a dynamic policy and to plough back profit for the purpose of development and expansion.
  • Customers: Customers’ satisfaction is the ultimate aim of all economic activity.
  • This involves more than the offer of products at the lowest possible price. Adulteration of goods, poor quality, failure to give fair service, misleading advertising etc. are some of the violation by business towards its customers. A business enterprise has positive responsibility towards the consumers of its products. It has to provide quality goods to customers at the right time, right place, and at right price.

    How employees learn culture in an organization ?

  • Employees: Employees should be treated as human beings and their cooperation must be achieved for the realization of the business enterprises goals. The responsibilities of the business enterprises to its employees are – the security of employment with fair wages, equal opportunity for growth and development within the organization, fair promotions, employee welfare, social security and profit sharing.
  • Further, the business enterprise should also provide the employee welfare, social security and profit sharing. Further, the business enterprise should also provide the employees scope for improvement of educational qualification, training and upgrading of skills so that they may get a chance to improve their prospects.

    Workers are poor and hence they cannot afford to remain without job for a long period. Most of them are ignorant and require advice and guidance from persons who have the genuine interest of the workers at heart. Each worker by himself is unable to fight against the injustice done to him. As such all the economists have recognized the right of the workers to organize themselves. As a group they can settle terms with the employers in a better way. In other words, the workers have been granted the right to bargain collectively.

    With a view to self-protection and self -help labour has organized itself under employee associations and unions. The associations formed by workers have come to be known as “Trade Unions”.

  • Suppliers: An important force in the environment of a business enterprise is the suppliers who supply the enterprise with inputs like raw materials and components.
  • The importance of reliable source of supply is in dispensable for the smooth functioning of a business enterprise. It is very risky to depend on a single supplier because the problems with that supplier are bound to seriously affect the business organization.

    Therefore, multiple sources of supply are often helpful. A business organization should deal with the suppliers judiciously. It should try for fair terms and conditions regarding price, quality, delivery of goods and payment. The dealings with the suppliers should be based on integrity and courtesy. The business must create healthy relations with its suppliers.

  • Competitors: A firm’s competitors include not only the other firms that market the same or similar products but also those who compete for the discretionary income of the consumers. Thus, competition among the different business organization should be such that the customer is helped to satisfy his desires and is better of buying the enterprises goods and services.
  • Government: The business enterprise should take responsibility for providing amenities in the locality where it is located. It should pay the taxes to the government regularly and honestly, so that the funds may be spent by the State for welfare activities. It should take measures to avoid bad effluent, fouling the air and condition of slum and congestion.

The business enterprise should extend full support to the Government in implementing its policies and programmes relating to the solving of the national problems such as the unemployment problem, food problem, wide disparity in income levels of the different sections of the society, regional imbalance in the economic development etc. It should also help the Government in the equitable distribution of commodities which are in scarce supply, in controlling prices and inflationary trend in the country and in the implementation of various development schemes of the Government.

The business enterprise should realize that it cannot function without the support of the Government. If there is any difference between itself and the Government the same should be settled by mutual exchange of ideas and suggestions and not by restoring to non-cooperation with the Government.

From the above discussion, it is clear that the interest of the various Stakeholders interacting with the business enterprise is not identical. They are inflicting conflicting.

The owners want highest dividend, the financial institutions want the highest interest, the workers the highest possible wages, the Government wants the highest possible revenue and the consumers want the lowest possible price. It is, therefore, the duty of the business enterprise to bring about a compromise among the interests of various groups. The enterprise is an arbiter among the various groups. It should endeavour to provide a fair dividend to the shareholders, fair pay and working conditions to the workers, good quality products at reasonable prices to the customers.

Stakeholders have a stake in or are significantly influenced by what the organization does. In turn, these groups can influence that organization. There are many reasons why managers should care about managing stakeholders’ relationships. Some of the reasons are given below:-

  1. It can lead to other organizational outcomes such as improved predictability of environmental changes, more successful innovations, greater degree of trust among stakeholders, and greater organizational flexibility to reduce the impact of change.
  2. An organization depends on these external groups as sources of inputs (resources) and as outlets for outputs (goods and services) and organizations should consider their interests as they make decisions and take actions.

Steps in Managing External Stakeholders Relationships:- There are four steps in managing external stakeholder relationships.

  1. Identifying who the organization’s stakeholders are. Those external groups that are to influence organizational decisions and be influenced by organizational decisions are stakeholders.
  2. Determine that particular interests or concerns these stakeholders might have. For example.
    • Customers – product quality.
    • Shareholders – financial issues
    • Employees – safety/working conditions.
  3. Decide how critical each stakeholder is to the organization’s decisions and actions.
  4. For example, some stakeholders are more critical to the organization’s decisions and actions than others.

  5. Determine what specific approach they should use to manage the external stakeholder relationship. The more critical the stakeholder, the more uncertain the environment.

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