Organizational culture is influenced and dependent upon the leadership style and personal characteristics of a leader. The strategy of an organization involves how it plans to achieve its mission and goals and is partly determined by its culture. However, strategy can also become one of the factors that influence the evolution of culture. Given that leadership becomes particularly important, it is crucial to understand the role and influence of leaders in the acculturation process and healthy organizational culture (Armstrong, 2001). Leaders with different styles may have different preferences for values, morals, and culture. The paper aims to discuss an organization’s culture and different ways which influence an organization’s structure and employee behavior.
Organizational Culture explained and defined
Definition of Organizational Culture
Culture makes every organization unique. Culture allows one group to set itself apart from others. Therefore, one of the essential aspects of culture is to provide a clear and unique identity to members of an organization. By demonstrating and communicating its culture, an organization can attract and retain employees. The unique identity can also become a source of competitive differentiation in the development of strategy. The presence of identity leads to higher employee commitment. Belonging to a company with a strong identity provides employees with a sense of family and belonging, which are essential factors in employee morale and satisfaction. Much has been written about the positive aspects of such an identity (Armstrong, 2001). Organizational environment and work relations have a great impact on an employee and his motivation, objectives, and personal achievements. For this reason, every employer tries to select the best place he/she can contribute to and fulfill his life aims and career goals. The paper aims to explain why my personal needs and values, expectations, and career goals are met by this organization. The essay also addresses the general environment that affected the organization and its business-level strategy, competitive position, and organization structure (Barham and Conway 1998).
Internal and External Influences
Organizational culture is influenced and dependent upon the leadership style and personal characteristics of a leader. The strategy of an organization involves how it plans to achieve its mission and goals and is partly determined by its culture. However, strategy can also become one of the factors that influence the evolution of culture. Given that leadership becomes particularly important, it is crucial to understand the role and influence of leaders in the acculturation process and healthy organizational culture. Leaders with different styles may have different preferences for values, morals, and culture. Following Foster-Fishman and Keys (1997): “Organizational culture refers to the shared system of meaning that guides organizational members’ believing, thinking, perceiving, and feeling, ultimately directing their behavior” (p. 345). To create a healthy organizational culture leaders can maintain internal health. “Top leaders should encourage all managers to adopt a more participatory management style, providing autonomy and delegating decision-making responsibility to their employees” (Foster-Fishman and Keys 1997, p. 345).. However, regardless of the strength, culture provides the identity and collective commitment that is central to encouraging stability in an organization. A healthy culture is essential for the health of the organization. It can be achieved through a strong personal image and effective communication (Sass 2000).
An organization’s culture influences the structure and relations inside the organization. The centralized, highly integrated organizational structure of corporate communications is the best one for a large professional organization. This structure allows management to provide integration and coordination across several diverse functional areas and between several organizational levels. Internal communications with employees are closely coordinated with external interaction with the financial community. Divisional management’s contributions have to be integrated with headquarters staff and senior management. An absence of coordination/integration produces disarray and a lack of discipline and focus in corporate communications (Crowther and Green 2004). Organizational arrangements are directed by manufacturer-distributor-retailer relationships. Where a large manufacturer is linked to numerous small distributors, the manufacturer emphasizes marketing leadership. The case of Wal-Mart allows saying that where a large distributor such as a wholesaler deals with a large number of manufacturers, retailers, or both, he furnishes the leadership (Beardwell et al 2004). The organization should introduce formal communication based on centralized decision-making. Implementation of the marketing-management concept has resulted in more operationally structured organizations. In centralized organizations, strategies are chosen and standards are set by various managers to achieve what they feel is important and to evaluate effectiveness. Situations are highly organized and formalized but still result in conflict and confusion. For example, conflicting directives may be given from one source to increase sales, from another to reduce advertising, and from a third to limit style changes. Plans and procedures will help the company to avoid mistakes and indecision (Doyle and Stern 2006).
At the large professional organization, systems emphasize the integration and coordination of functions and facilities, the adaptation of organizations to their internal and external environments, the impact of changes in one part of the organization on others, the resources necessary to support the organization system itself, the resources necessary to achieve goals, and the ends mean relationship. Systems stress the interrelationships or connectedness of organizations. Although the structure, or formal part, of an organization, can be easily portrayed, the informal organization, the part that greatly affects behavior and performance, cannot. Task delegation will be introduced at all management levels. A business is a social system whose efficiency is influenced greatly by interpersonal relationships (Bloisi et al l2007). Thus, to understand a marketing organization is to understand more than its formal structure. No one organizational scheme can be developed, or a set of principles established, that can specify the best organization for a company. But knowledge of factors influencing organizational behavior, of the impact of market forces, of organization concepts, and of alternative tools for coordinating and integrating human effort, can furnish a basis for approaching the problems of marketing organization (Campbell, 1997).
The rationale for this structure is that a large part of the marketing manager’s responsibility is the change in the structure of his organization. He must challenge accepted methods of organizing activities, for, in marketing, correct and permanent organizational arrangements do not exist. The case of McDonald’s shows that the strength of the bond varies from one organization to the next and even within subgroups inside a single organization. However, regardless of the strength, culture provides the identity and collective commitment that is central to encouraging stability in an organization. A healthy culture is essential for the health of the organization. It can be achieved through a string of personal images and effective communication (Hankinson, 1999). “The challenge involves an inherent balancing act: minimizing linkages to maximize the focus of independent business units while, at the same time, capitalizing on potential sources of leverage to create value from the joint ownership and management of multiple businesses” (Nadler and Tushman 1999, p. 54). The proposals will change the structure of work and interpersonal relationships. The demand for high quality and service excellence will influence the morale and satisfaction of employees. It can lead to resistance to change and opposition movement. A common mistake is to conceive employees and their relations as fixed entities. On the contrary, they should be constantly forming around a specific task or goal, fixing things, celebrating their accomplishments, disbanding, and then forming again with different people appropriate to take on another problem with new goals (Nadler and Tushman 1999). The answer to that question is problematic. In the process of fixing the small things, teams tend to become insular and can forget why they exist. In focusing on their particular goal, they forget not only the ultimate customer but also those teams around them. Worse yet, teams can become competitive, combative, and even destructive to the organization (Hughes 2006). Goal displacement occurs when activities that are originally intended to help improve organizational goals become ends in themselves. For instance, Laura Ashley has a bureaucratic structure based on formal relations and communication. In contrast, the functional structure of the department leads to information and more close communication between employees. The retail and marketing department structure is based on superior-subordinate relations between students and teachers, teachers and management staff, teachers and board of directors which help to direct staff (Nadler and Tushman 1999). It adopts the structural pattern, norms, the form of organization used by other departments.
Organizational Culture and Employee Relations
Espoused values include ethical principles and high quality of the products delivered, social responsibilities, and innovations. This strategy has more to do with the value system of high-level management than it does with the external environment. To make the correct choices, Starbucks introduces a strict code of responsibilities and duties (Hughes 2006). It has also been acknowledged that the managers of Starbucks have important obligations to a variety of stakeholders and not just the shareholders, and this should be reflected in the organization’s statements of purpose, such as mission statements. For instance, Starbucks follows a conservative strategy characterized by slow growth and a stable environment. Innovations as a part of organizational culture require participative processes and result in the sharing of information across departments, functions, and organizational levels (Morrison, 2006).
Taking into account my personal experience, I can say that the leader’s openness led to the creation of a healthy organizational culture. The leaders make most, if not all, of the decisions regarding the various factors that will shape culture (unique values, morals, communication). Once they are in place, they, in turn, influence the culture that contributed to their creation (Robbins, 2004). Organization growth depends on effective operations and performance, employees’ commitment, and organizational structure. This scenario has been chosen because it meets and reflects my career goals and life expectations, personal needs, and values so important for every employee. Marketing organization and leadership are concerned with both internal organization and the development of systems. This organization can meet external and internal needs and innovate (Paley, 2006).
Modern companies do not operate in a vacuum but interact with other originations and communities in general. For this reason, the general environment influences the organization and its strategies. Taking into account the nature of work and the industry, competition and economic demand will have an impact on an organization’s operations and performance. If “reputation” constitutes a barrier to entry, as some have claimed, certainly strategic credibility is one important element in a firm’s “reputation” (Tannenbaum, 2003). Another benefit of strategic credibility is a potential reduction in the cost of capital. Credibility and the disclosure of strategic information services to reduce investor perceptions of risk and uncertainty, lowering the expected rate of return on their investment–or so the financial theory goes. A shifting environment may require a departure or change in corporate strategy. Many corporate executives concluded that, on balance, the benefits of communicating strategy outweighed the potential problems. They also suggested ways of minimizing negative outcomes. The company should resist competition and innovate in order remain competitive (Senior, 2001).
While various stakeholders are interested in a company’s candid appraisal of poor performance, they can be even more sensitive to information about management’s strategic intentions which allow them to make judgments about future corporate prospects (Bratton et al 2007). Here, the experiences of some of our companies diverge from the results reported in the global strategic communications survey. At IBM Corporation, the characteristic of important communication is simplicity; keep the strategy message simple, but communicate it with great frequency. Also, resist the temptation to rest on one’s laurels when things seem to be going well; avoid complacency and the “frontrunner” phenomenon. The job of strategic communications is never done. Also, self-serving attributions that take too much credit for good performance while blaming poor performance on uncontrollable, external factors can erode strategic credibility (Schien, 1996).
Another strategy that helps to maintain a healthy culture is giving identity and creating commitment. Culture makes every organization unique. Culture allows one group to set itself apart from others. Therefore, one of the essential aspects of culture is to provide a clear and unique identity to members of an organization. By demonstrating and communicating its culture, an organization can attract and retain employees (Schien, 1996). The unique identity can also become a source of competitive differentiation in the development of strategy (Robbins 2004). The presence of identity leads to higher employee commitment. Belonging to a company with a strong identity provides employees with a sense of family and belonging, which are essential factors in employee morale and satisfaction. Much has been written about the positive aspects of such an identity (Sass, 2000).
Individual behavior and perforce are a part of leadership and management. Most employees pay attention to the big picture of business but neglect small details. Also, transformational leadership is based on change while most of the employees resist and fear constant change. Thus, the ability to focus on goals and the issues surrounding them is the primary concern (Sass, 2000). If team members respect each other’s competence, most personality problems will work themselves out. Furthermore, the more time a team spends on interpersonal relationships, the less effective it becomes. There is an inverse correlation between the time spent on “people problems” and team effectiveness. Effective and successful teams focus on issues about the team goal. Both relate to how the leader manages the team and both bring focus on the task to be done; however, they are different in very specific ways. Combining individual strengths means influencing rather than directing. Influencing requires a different skill than managing in a hierarchical structure, where the direction is more common. One of the most potent ways in which the leader can exert influence is by example. At Laura Ashley leaders and managers can introduce training and learning courses in order o ensure the high professionalism of workers (MacIntosh and Doherty 2007).
The leaders are role models for organizational members. Stories are told about them, and myths are created about their courage, creativity, and physical prowess. Such stories help perpetuate leaders’ influence on their organizations and therefore safeguard the culture. The roles of leaders are that they establish and grant many of the status symbols that are the main artifacts of culture. They grant special awards within the organization that again set up role models for other employees. These role models are more often than not individuals who are excellent representatives of the culture of the organization (Huczynski and Buchanan 2007). By setting themselves up as role models, they send the signal to their organizations that physical fitness is a key to success. Other means through which the leader shapes culture are by making decisions regarding the reward system and by controlling decision standards. What types of accomplishments will be rewarded is a major aspect of the culture of an organization (Robbins 2004). “Core values and core purposes in enduring great organizations remain stable, while their operating values, practices, strategies, tactics, processes, structures, and methods, change continually” (Tannenbaum 2003, p. 19).
Strategies that consider organizational values in their development will become an extension of organizational values. The values that give the organization credibility also will give credibility to the individual. They will be a source of self-fulfillment and personal integrity. While organizational values relate to employees, profit, customers, stakeholders, community, and the like, individual goals will relate to fairness, honesty, trust, respect, quality, and cooperation. These are precisely the values that are inherent in the organizational values statement. Alone, however, these values are far too general and open to interpretation. It is easy to forget the particular and complicated nature of human moral experience. Thinking about and discussing the ethical implications of a goal is more practical and valuable than using a list of values or ethical models. Acting on the ethical implications is even more valuable. Ethical action is the relentless effort to make values a part of the goal-setting equation. Where the managers go wrong, however, is in expecting more from these values than they can deliver. The industry depends upon effective leaders who establish clear goals for the entire organization. Proclaiming decision-making and problem-solving skills that have made them so successful, managers readily take responsibility for other people’s problems and give them back ready-made solutions. Indeed, top managers gain authority in the first place because they take responsibility and solve problems with such aplomb. Managers rarely receive promotions for providing the leadership required to do adaptive work. Management gains commitment to performance through contractual arrangements, leadership through empowerment. As the corporate world has become better aware of these essential distinctions, more and more resources have gone into training and educating about leadership competencies.
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