Culture, Leadership, Technology as Modern Forms of Control

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Culture, leadership, and technology are modern forms of control in an organization. According to Knight and Parker (2019), culture has emerged as an important tool that defines how people act towards one another, customers, external stakeholders, and when undertaking tasks assigned to them. Culture refers to “shared values, beliefs, customs, traditions, practices and norms that influence the way employees think, feel and act” (Week 8). As shown in the definition above, culture is a highly powerful tool that is used to control an organization. It defines values, beliefs, customs, and practices within an organization.

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The management has the responsibility of creating the desired culture in an organization based on cultural practices within the country and objectives that the organization seeks to achieve. Once a culture has been created, employees will be expected to work based on its guidelines (Veen et al., 2020). For instance, issues such as decision-making and communication with those in positions of power are defined by the culture that a firm has created. Even without a close and constant directive from the supervisor, an employee should know how to act based on the culture that has been created within the firm.

The power of organizational culture explains why it is sometimes challenging to manage employees from different companies when they have to work as a unit. It is important to note that “two firms with different cultures brought together through a merger requires integration of two cultures” (Week 9). They need to develop a common culture to enhance harmony in operations. Organizational culture defines how leaders relate with their subordinates and how workers relate amongst themselves.

Sometimes the “moderating role of culture on the relationship between directive and supportive leadership and group organizational citizenship behavior” is essential (Week 11). Organizational culture can sometimes be so powerful that it becomes difficult to convince employees to take a given path towards undertaking their duties. It is the role of the leadership of an organization to inculcate an appropriate culture that can promote flexibility and commitment to change.

Leadership is another powerful tool of control in the modern organization. According to Gils et al. (2018), a leader is expected to offer guidance and enable employees to understand the vision of the organization. One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to formulate policies that will guide the activities of employees. They have to assess both the external and internal environment and develop policies that can help the organization to achieve its goals in the market (Elliott & Long, 2016).

A leader is expected to understand the strengths and weaknesses of his employees and develop ways of improving their performance by overcoming the identified weaknesses. It is also the responsibility of a leader to coordinate and control the activities of employees within the firm. In a group setting, different people may have different ideas about undertaking a given duty.

A leader has a responsibility to provide guidance and a common path that everyone has to follow. In most cases in the modern organization, a leader may allow employees to take part in policy formulation, especially when it will significantly affect their work. However, one must understand the fact that the leadership has the final say in regard to the path that everyone has to embrace.

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The leadership of an organization defines the culture, technology, and almost every other aspect of an organization. In the current competitive business environment, firms are under pressure to embrace competitive strategies in their operations. They have to monitor and embrace emerging technologies and industry best practices. Elliott and Long (2016) explain that it is the responsibility of a leader to create an environment where employees can easily embrace change.

Creativity and innovativeness are critical traits that employees should possess for them to have the capacity to undertake their responsibilities effectively. The level of creativity of employees is defined by the leadership approach that an organization embraces. Holland et al. (2015) explain that leaders should accommodate innovativeness by allowing employees to try new ways of accomplishing their tasks. They should understand the fact that when trying a new way of undertaking a given task, it is possible that they may make some mistakes.

When an organization has strict rules and procedures that involve punishing employees when they make mistakes, it may discourage them from trying new strategies. They will stick to standard procedures that they understand, limiting their creativity (Zhang et al., 2015). It is also important to note that leadership has a major role to play in a firm’s capacity to embrace diversity. In the current global society, diversity has become a factor that organizations can no longer ignore.

However, it is common to find cases where diversity is used as a factor that brings division among employees instead of becoming a strength for a firm to meet the needs of its diversified customers. The management of a firm has a responsibility of creating a culture where employees understand and appreciate differences that exist among themselves. Sometimes it may be necessary to use punitive measures to discourage certain undesirable practices among workers, especially when it is related to promoting diversity.

Technology is a powerful tool of control in modern organizations. Benson and Brown (2007) note that the role that technology plays in modern organizations has evolved over the years. As a tool of communication, technology has become a major tool in managing employees. A chief executive officer of a global company headquartered in Melbourne does not need to leave their office to travel to all the branches all over the world to know the progress that has been made.

Instead, they can easily rely on modern technology to monitor activities in these branches. Events in these global branches can be covered in live video feeds for these top managers to understand what is going on in these branches. Videoconferencing has also become a major form of communication in these organizations. Instead of departmental heads and other top executives meeting regularly at the office, they can use Zoom or other video conferencing applications to convent their meetings without physically leaving their respective offices. These trends have redefined governance in the modern era as virtual reality technology continues to gain momentum.

Technology has become a tool that controls the path that an organization takes to achieve success in the market. As competition becomes stiff, firms are keen on finding unique ways of achieving their goals and outsmarting their rivals. The only way that they can exceed customers’ expectations, cut costs of operation, and increase their profit margin is to embrace emerging technologies (Zhang et al., 2015). Companies have embraced technology-based operations to not only enhance quality and reduce the time of delivery but also make their work easier.

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Technology has become a tool that controls organizations, especially in cases where competition is high. It may not matter what the management wants to do. They have to embrace emerging technologies when the time is right. Ignoring emerging trends and practices may have devastating consequences for a firm.

A good example of a company that tried to ignore and control technology is Eastman Kodak. It was the dominant player in the film industry in the global market. It invented digital film technology but felt that the new product could cannibalize its main product of the traditional film. In an attempt to control technology, it made an effort to ignore the new technology and continued to offer its traditional products. Its rivals, such as Fujifilm, took advantage of the new invention and started producing digital films. Soon Eastman Kodak was overtaken as an industry leader, and the firm was almost forced out of the market as its operations became less profitable.

Its case clearly demonstrates that technology controls the path that a firm takes in the market. Every time there is a new invention, it is the responsibility of the management to assess it and determine its appropriateness for the firm (Harney et al., 2018). Early adoption of such new technology-based practices may help a firm to improve its overall performance while at the same time lowering the cost of production.

References

Benson, J., & Brown, M. (2007). Knowledge workers: What keeps them committed, what turns them away? Work, Employment, 21(1), 121-141. Web.

Elliott, C., & Long, G. (2016). Manufacturing rate busters: Computer control and social relations in the labor process. Work, Employment and Society, 30(1), 135. Web.

Gils, S., Quaquebeke, N., Borkowski, J., & Knippenberg, D. (2018). Respectful leadership: Reducing performance challenges posed by leader role incongruence and gender dissimilarity. Human Relations, 71(12), 1590–1610. Web.

Harney, B., Fu, N., & Freeney, Y. (2018). Balancing tensions: Buffering the impact of organizational restructuring and downsizing on employee well‐being. Human Resource Management Journal, 28(2), 235–254. Web.

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Holland, P. J., Cooper, B., & Hecker, R. (2015). Electronic monitoring and surveillance in the workplace: The effects on trust in management, and the moderating role of occupational type. Personnel Review, 44(1), 161–175. Web.

Knight, C., & Parker, S. K. (2019). How work redesign interventions affect performance: An evidence-based model from a systematic review. Human Relations, 00(0), 1–36. Web.

Veen, A., Barratt, T., & Goods, C. (2020). Platform-capital’s ‘app-etite’ for control: A labor process analysis of food-delivery work in Australia. Work, Employment and Society, 34(3), 388–406. Web.

Zhang, J., Ahammad, M. F., Tarba, S., Cooper, C. L., Glaister, K. W., & Wang, J. (2015). The effect of leadership style on talent retention during Merger and Acquisition integration: evidence from China. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(7), 1021–1050. Web.

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BusinessEssay. "Culture, Leadership, Technology as Modern Forms of Control." November 26, 2022. https://business-essay.com/culture-leadership-technology-as-modern-forms-of-control/.