Organizational culture is one of the factors that have a direct impact on the effectiveness of an organization. It entails a system of shared values, beliefs, principles, and assumptions that define an organization (Mattone & Vaidya 2016, p.34). The success and effectiveness of operations within an organization are highly dependent on the nature of its corporate culture, as well as the ability and willingness of employees to promote it. Organizational leaders have a critical role to play in ensuring that all employees understand the values that govern their work in terms of communication, conflict resolution, and change management (Holbeche 2016, p.12).
According to management experts, poor communication and change management are some of the main factors that contribute towards the failure of many organizations to achieve their objectives (Doshi & McGregor 2015, p.112). Organizations need to invest heavily in an inclusive corporate culture that ensures all the people within the workplace participate in making crucial decisions. This helps an entity to achieve a competitive edge in the market since the level of employee satisfaction and output is always high.
Organizational culture affects crucial elements of an entity such as the innovation capacity, the willingness to take risks, employee welfare, and financial stability, among others (Ulrich 2015, p.44). A healthy organizational culture helps to increase the effectiveness of an organization by ensuring objectivity, transparency, accountability, and the free exchange of ideas at all levels of management.
An effective organizational culture
An effective organizational culture bridges the gap between the employees and the management team. Inclusiveness is a crucial element in the corporate culture of every effective organization. Management experts argue that an inclusive corporate culture empowers the employees to be more innovative and show greater commitment towards achieving their goals (Bryan & Chandan 2017, p.43). In the organizational context, an inclusive culture entails the ability of all employees to be involved in making important decisions, especially on matters involving change management.
Organizational leaders should ensure that the workforce is actively involved in introducing change within the workplace by seeking their opinions regarding the areas that need improvements and the possible solutions. This strategy builds trust among the employees and the management team, thus reducing the probability of any resistance to change. Effective communication of change ensures that all employees give their support during the transition process (Mattone & Vaidya 2016, p.51).
An effective organizational culture is also characterized by a high degree of positivity within the workplace. All organizations work in highly competitive markets that require a strong workforce and great innovations that will help in gaining a competitive edge (Doshi & McGregor 2015, p.129). To achieve this feat, an entity requires a cohesive workforce guided by strong values of teamwork and positivity. In such situations, employees ought to give their maximum output. Therefore, the kind of attitude shown by organizational leaders towards its workforce determines their ability to deliver on the objectives in an effective manner (Cummings & Worley 2014, p.89).
For example, innovative ideas from employees should be handled with great care because the reception they get from the top leadership influences their willingness to come up with great ideas. Most employees lack the motivation to be innovative when the management team keeps dismissing their ideas without trying them. Positivity is a crucial element of an effective organizational culture that ensures employees are highly motivated and satisfied with their work (Bryan & Chandan 2017, p.101). The eventual result of it is increased organizational effectiveness.
An effective organizational culture encourages and promotes learning. All organizations get numerous lessons from their successes and failures. However, some employees find it hard to discuss these elements for fear of being ridiculed if they played a contributing role in the outcomes. Successes and failures are opportunities that organizations should use to achieve more learning within the workplace (Mawhinney 2013, p.80). Organizational leaders should encourage employees to learn from mistakes that they make to increase their output. Accepting the mistakes and choosing to examine them creates room for improvements by incorporating the lessons learned in successive working programs.
An effective organizational culture promotes the recognition of efforts made by employees through an incentive program. Incentives act as one of the most effective strategies for encouraging employees to work harder and build on their successes for even greater outcomes (Fuller 2015, p.23). An effective organizational culture should be able to balance between rewarding success and improving on failures. Effective management of these elements helps to breed trust within the workplace. The employees do not feel pressured to accept their mistakes; neither do they fear to discuss them with their colleagues because the burden is taken collectively.
Cultural Attributes that have an Impact on Organizational Effectiveness
Apart from the characteristics of an effective organizational culture discussed above, certain cultural attributes add great value to an organization in terms of its effectiveness and competitiveness. The first one is high adaptability to change. Management experts argue that the ability of an organization to achieve its objectives effectively is highly dependent on the adaptability of its corporate culture to changes in the business environment (Bryan & Chandan 2017, p.201).
For example, contemporary workplace environments are dominated by technological innovations that have changed the way various things are done. An effective organization should have a receptive corporate culture characterized by low resistance to new ideas and technologies. The ability to adapt effectively to changing market dynamics increases the competitiveness of an organization (Holbeche 2016, p.123). However, if an organization’s culture is not receptive to innovations and cannot match up with the latest trends, the level of effectiveness is often low.
The second attribute is an open communication culture. Effective communication strategies have a direct impact on the effectiveness of an organization in terms of employee motivation, change management, and overall output. Promoting a culture where employees can access and approach their leaders easily with any issue helps in empowering them because they feel valued (Schein 2016, p.56).
Organizational leaders have the responsibility of ensuring that they act in a friendly manner towards the employees, as well as encouraging them to speak out about anything that might be bothering them. It is hard for issues to pile up without being addressed where an organization has adopted an open system of communication. Employees are highly motivated, thus increasing the overall effectiveness of the delivery system. The management team needs to keep the communication channels with the employees open, especially in times when they are planning to make personnel changes (Alvesson 2012, p.116). Getting the views of employees about any impending changes helps in preventing the development of divisions and conflicts within the workplace.
Procedural, interpersonal, and distributive fairness is an important cultural attribute that adds to organizational effectiveness. Treating employees in a deserving and respectful manner is crucial to the realization of organizational goals. An effective organizational culture provides a clear procedure for dealing with various issues within the workplace (Ford 2014, p.96). This kind of openness and clarity creates a high level of cohesiveness within the workforce because it encourages interpersonal relationships.
Also, the ability of an organization to promote fairness across all levels of management adds great value to its capacity to compete. Conflicts are a common phenomenon within workplaces. Identifying potential conflict areas and managing them effectively help in creating a fair working environment (Holbeche 2016, p.210).
An organizational culture based on achieving good results is highly valuable for every organization (Kegan 2016, p. 106). The level of competitiveness experienced in various markets across the world requires every organization to have a workforce driven by a strong desire to achieve good results. Organizations can introduce performance contracts for their employees as a way of pushing them to achieve as much as possible using the available resources.
Management experts argue that employees are more motivated to work when they have clear and attainable goals to guide their operations (Zerwas 2014, p.11). It is counterproductive for an organization to hire highly qualified individuals and fail to provide them with a target to form the basis of their work. The number of resources an organization spends on hiring and paying its employees should be directly reflected in their results. An effective organizational culture does not promote a culture of complacency (Zerwas 2014, p.11).
Principles of Organizational Culture that add Value to Effectiveness
The concept of organizational culture applies under several principles, which are geared towards helping an organization increase its effectiveness. The first principle requires organizations to limit their operations within their existing cultural situations (Meyer 2016, p.80). This means that making an overhaul of an organization’s culture is not advisable because it introduces new dimensions to the way things were being done. Also, making simple and periodic upgrades cannot be effective as well. The most important thing is for the organization to reorient its objectives in line with the existing values (Smith 2015, p.154).
The second principle encourages organizations to focus on changing the conduct of their employees, which will eventually bring the desired mindset (Meyer 2016, p.83). This means that organizations should have a culture that encourages employees to act in a certain way instead of communication done through channels such as brochures. The conduct should also be closely linked to organizational goals. This has a direct impact on the motivation levels of the employees because they establish greater values in the objectives when they realize their conduct has a direct impact on the overall outcomes (Ford 2014, p.179).
The third principle argues that authority within the workplace should not be confused with leadership roles (Ford 2014, p.179). An effective organizational culture should focus on encouraging leadership more than the authority that comes with holding a position within the workplace. Organizations should avoid overlooking informal leaders within the workforce because the insight they bring into the workplace cannot be acquired using money or any other form of incentive (Meyer 2016, p.99). It is important to build the workforce around natural leaders because they tend to command more respect than those appointed based on their working experience or achievements.
Natural leaders are grouped into four categories, namely networkers who believe in building close relations with everyone, early adopters who love experimenting, exemplars who are natural role models, and pride builders who have mastered the art of motivating others (Meyer 2016, p.128). However, it is important for organizations to avoid letting their formal leaders feel disoriented, as their contributions within the workplace are also important.
Organizational culture is a crucial contributing factor to the success and competitiveness of an organization. The norms and values of an organization’s culture usually encourage an attitude towards achieving success. Also, it applies the incentive model to acknowledge success, which, in turn, results in increased competitiveness. An effective organizational culture should promote innovation, cohesion within the workplace, open communication, authentic natural leadership, and inclusiveness when making decisions.
The ability of an organization to effectively meet its objectives and compete in its respective market depends on the ability to promote a highly adaptable culture. The dynamics of various markets keep changing, thus the need to promote an organizational culture that is receptive to innovations, ideas, and challenges. Organizational culture can also hinder effectiveness in an organization if there are no clear communication channels, and the employees are not involved in making crucial decisions. Organizational culture should ensure the employees feel valued and important to the success of an entity.
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