According to Schein (1992), the two main reasons why cultures develop in organisations is due to external adaptation and internal integration. External adaptation reflects an evolutionary approach to organisational culture and suggests that cultures develop and persist because they help an organisation to survive and flourish. If the culture is valuable, then it holds the potential for generating sustained competitive advantage. Additionally, internal integratipn is an important function since social structures are required for organisations to exist. Organisational practices are learned through socialisation at the workplace. Work environments reinforce culture on a daily basis by encouraging employees to exercise cultural values. Organisational culture is shaped by multiple factors, including the following:
(i) External environment
(iii) Size and nature of the organisation’s workforce
(iv) Technologies the organisation uses
(v) The organisation’s history and ownership.
Organisational values, role models, symbols and rituals shape organisatjona culture. Organisations often outline their values in their mission statements, although this does not guarantee that organisational culture will reflect them. The individuals that organisations recognize as role models set, by example, the behaviour valued by the organisation. In addition, tangible factors such as work environment act as symbols of culture, creating a sense of corporate identity.
The founding of an organisation is a critical period in the life of the organisation and the development of its culture. An organisation’s founder or chief executive has an influential impact on the development of the organisation’s culture because that person is likely to have the control in hiring people with the same values and influences the choice of strategy. By screening candidates for a cultural fit, organisations select those employees that will be able to uphold the organisational culture. Additionally, leaders embed culture in organisations by what they pay attention to, measure and control; how they react to critical incidents and crises; the behaviours they model for others; and how they allocate rewards and other scarce resources.
Q.5. How does organisational culture control the behaviour of organisational members? What do you understand by cultural control mechanisms?
Ans. If consistent behavioural patterns are the outcomes or products of a culture, what is it that causes many people to act in a similar manner? There are four basic ways in which a culture, or more accurately members of a reference group representing a culture, creates high levels of cross individual behavioural consistency. These are as follows:
(1) Social Norms: Social norms are the most basic and most obvious ways of cultural control mechanisms. In its basic form, a social norm is simply a behavioural expectation that people will act in a certain way in certain situations. Norms (as opposed to rules) are enforced by other members of a reference group by the use of social sanctions. Norms have been categorised by level.
(a) Peripheral norms are general expectations that make interactions easier and more pleasant. Because adherence of these norms is not essential to the functioning of the group, violation of these norms generally results in mild social sanctions.
(b) Relevant norms encompass behaviours that are important to group functioning. Violation of these norms often results in non-inclusion in important group functions and activities.
(c) Pivotal norms represent behaviours that are essential to effective group functioning. Individuals violating these norms are often subject to expulsion from the group.
(2) Shared Values: These are as follows:
(a) As a cultural control mechanism the keyword in shared values is shared. The issue is not whether or not a particular individual’s behaviour can best be explained and/or predicted by his or her values, but rather how widely is that value shared among organisational members and more importantly, how responsible was the organisation/culture in developing that value within the individual. What is a value? Any phenomenon that is some degree of worth to the members of giving groups. The conception of the desirable that establishes a general direction of action rather than a specific objective. Values are the conscious, effective desires or wants of people that guide their behaviour.