Organizational Culture Overview

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Introduction

An opportunity to address the values ​​and norms of business activities at the corporate level is a significant aspect of the development of any organization. Maintaining the relevant principles of adaptation to cultural behavior forms the background of organizational culture as an important phenomenon. This is a set of values ​​and rules of interaction promoted by most members of a particular firm, including both internal and external manifestations of these norms. One of the main advantages of this concept is communication among the participants in the work process at a level that allows maintaining respectful relationships in a team and improves the interaction mode. In addition, organizational culture opens up new opportunities for personnel management, which is important for managers. This phenomenon may have some disadvantages, for instance, to a high level of personal responsibility or an excessive orientation on tools for work rather than producing results. Nevertheless, the benefits that are expressed in maintaining successful communication among the structural parts of organizations and maintaining a focus on ethical standards outweigh the potential weaknesses.

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Organizational culture covers a set of areas in which adherence to relevant operating principles has specific manifestations. In particular, this development course influences the leadership sphere has an impact on working communication and creates the conditions for a productive inter-professional collaboration. In addition, organizational culture opens up new possibilities for improving the quality of customer service, maintaining the structural unity of companies, and promoting valuable conflict resolution practices. The benefits of this phenomenon are to coordinate the ethical interaction of all parties involved and follow corporate development standards. Using the AT&T corporation as an example, the manifestations of organizational culture will be examined, and the structure of the company will be analyzed in the context of the concept in question. Addressing behavioral norms and promoting the principles of respectful inter-professional interaction are significant aspects of developing business potential in modern conditions.

Defining AT&T

In the media group industry, AT&T is one of the largest conglomerates that provides telecommunication services to a large number of customers. The corporation has been operating for more than a hundred years, and during this time, it has brought much of the multimedia technology market, including early interventions in the television industry, in particular, working with sound and motion pictures (“Our mission,” 2020). Over the past years, the company’s business has expanded significantly due to the advent of wireless connectivity technologies, and in addition to traditional services for providing access to television broadcasting, AT&T offers consumers a wide range of opportunities for remote access to digital content, which is in line with modern trends in the multimedia industry.

AT&T’s Structure

Today, AT&T is the largest US media corporation with an advanced structure. The company is not an integral organization and includes individual corporations united under a single brand and providing different services. For instance, the addition of Warner Media was a significant step towards optimizing the workflow and expanding telecommunications capabilities (“Our mission,” 2020). However, other AT&T branches carry out a wide range of activities, for instance, the provision of wireless Internet connection services, uninterrupted mobile communications, and cooperation with large media holdings.

AT&T’s Culture

An innovative course is one of AT&T’s key development strategies, which is in line with its culture. According to the official report of 2018-2019, the employees of the conglomerate donated more than $31 million for the needs of non-profit organizations, which indicates the promotion of social values ​​by the management (AT&T, 2019). In addition, AT&T leadership supports its subordinates and encourages the creation of a close-knit community of specialists with advanced professional and ethical training. Therefore, the culture of the multimedia conglomerate corresponds to modern corporate trends in the business market. In order to evaluate the formation of an organizational structure, individual areas of internal activities will be considered in the context of the concept under consideration.

Leadership and Culture

Organizational culture in the context of leadership is a tool that allows establishing subordinates’ productive activities and maintaining a high level of commitment. According to Chatman and O’Reilly (2016), one of the main advantages of promoting relevant norms and values ​​is the ability to influence employees’ productivity and regulate their fulfillment of immediate duties effectively. In the case of competent implementation, this approach can be a useful control mechanism, which is a significant managerial objective.

Building a Team

Traditions and cultural practices promoted in teams are valuable elements of maintaining a high level of teamwork. As Warrick (2017) notes, corresponding values ​​maintained throughout all stages of the development of organizations serve as drivers for strengthening mutual cooperation and stimulating employees’ interest in the highest productivity. In relation to AT&T, the measures that the management promotes, in particular, uniting employees in a team, help organize a high-performance work environment with an advanced level of commitment.

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Distributing Roles

Since the competent distribution of roles is an aspect of successful teamwork, the use of organizational culture can be good practice for this activity. Warrick (2017) analyzes and compares the performance of companies with high and low cultural indicators and argues that the performance of subordinates depends directly on how successfully team leaders utilize appropriate tools for the distribution of responsibilities. In the context of AT&T, the analysis of this topic allows describing the merits of following the principles of organizational culture and its role in promoting teamwork.

Communication and Culture

Team communication plays no less important role than employee productivity. According to Şomăcescu et al. (2016), interaction among colleagues is a direct mechanism for disseminating the conditions and principles of a particular organizational culture. As a result, opportunities to discuss the existing challenges, propose ways to overcome them and participate in the decision-making process jointly open up prospects for increasing the outcomes of operational activities.

Communication Role

Addressing current operational issues through productive communication is one of the most convenient mechanisms. Şomăcescu et al. (2016) state that “organizational communication has an instrumental role to sustain the organizational culture” (p. 99). In this regard, the interaction among all participants in the workflow is a prerequisite for maintaining high team productivity and the implementation of all the tasks set by the management and coordinated by team leaders.

Collaboration and Effective Communication

In the context of continuous operational activities, communication is an effective way to increase employees’ professionalism. As Şomăcescu et al. (2016) remark, collaborative work makes it possible to engage workers into a single mechanism and create a network of relationships that stimulates the exchange of knowledge and experience. As a result, joint activities and regular communication are the drivers of high-performance outcomes, and the market recognition of AT&T proves that even in a large organization, establishing a culture of interaction is possible and desirable.

Communication Etiquette

Communication etiquette is an integral element of organizational culture, which encourages the mutual respect of colleagues to one another. Regardless of an employee’s position, the violation of interpersonal interaction norms is unacceptable due to the creation of a tense operating environment and, therefore, the risk of conflicts. As an example, AT&T promotes a system of cultural communication and business etiquette among its employees, and the constant growth of the organization’s capabilities proves the effectiveness of the chosen course. The analysis of the characteristics of inter-professional interaction should be carried out to obtain a more accurate idea of individual communication among participants in the work process.

Inter-Professional Collaboration

The exchange of experience achieved in teamwork takes place both due to the collective efforts of the team and inter-professional relationships. Hock et al. (2016) analyze behavioral culture in the context of employees’ collaboration and argue that to create a sustainable and productive work regime, managers should promote interaction programs among colleagues. This practice has obvious advantages and can be implemented at any enterprise if realized properly.

Benefits of Collaboration

One of the main advantages of inter-professional communication is an opportunity to address the key positions of organizational culture without additional incentives. If employees interact with one another either in individual development projects or at a basic level, leaders have a chance to convey specific ideas to their colleagues through discussions and regular meetings. According to Hock et al. (2016), any business model is a set of interdependencies that, in turn, form a specific operating environment. In case inter-professional collaboration is at a proper level, a number of valuable implications are achieved, including strengthening teamwork.

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Benefits to Teamwork

By maintaining inter-professional communication, the quality of teamwork improves, which is a logical outcome. As evidence, Hock et al. (2016) note that “loose relationships that encourage inter-functional cooperation and teamwork lead to psychological safety” (p. 437). As a result, employees who collaborate regularly and productively feel free and can focus on the quality of performing their immediate duties. These implications are essential for creating a sustainable customer service system, and the relevant principles of organizational culture regarding this aspect of activities will be considered, including the context of AT&T’s work.

Customer Service and Organizational Culture

Since customer relationship management is an important component of the activities of any enterprise providing public services, promoting organizational culture can be a crucial aspect of achieving high results in interaction with the target audience and, therefore, maintaining client loyalty. AT&T, as a large telecommunications conglomerate, builds its business on expanding media opportunities and attracting new buyers. As a result, customer service is highly significant for the company and can be optimized through appropriate initiatives to improve the organizational culture.

Importance of Customer Service

Despite distinctive sales strategies promoted by different companies, following the principles of customer satisfaction is one of the main approaches. For instance, Rahimi (2017) considers this activity on the example of the hotel business and argues that profitability depends directly on how sustainable the organizational culture of a particular service provider is. In the case of AT&T, creating conditions for communication with the target audience is possible if all employees are aware of the importance of such interaction. As a result, the promotion of organizational culture correlates directly with the quality of customer service.

Communication Skills

Maintaining a high level of communication skills is an essential element of customer service and, therefore, stable demand. Rahimi (2017) states that managers need to establish interaction with subordinates not only to deliver relevant information timely but also to control employees’ communication skills. This activity is mandatory because, to ensure stable sales, the target audience needs interaction with sellers, and the specialists of AT&T are well aware of the necessity to promote this principle. Further, the formation of structural features will be examined in the context of organizational culture, in particular, the importance of corresponding missions and visions.

Structure and Culture

The evaluation of the work structure in the context of organizational culture makes it possible to study the correspondence of current missions and visions to specific norms and values ​​promoted at a corporate level. Vveinhardt and Andriukaitiene (2017) consider these aspects of development in the example of corporate social responsibility and note a strong correlation between the formulation of goals and employees’ ability to follow them. With regard to missions and visions, maintaining organizational culture is a mandatory aspect of communicating specific provisions to all the parties involved.

Importance of Having a Mission and Culture

Having a mission in the context of organizational culture allows determining the key areas of work based on both individual benefits for companies and advantages for other interested parties. In relation to AT&T, the corporation is focused on the innovative development of its technological base and the expansion of its clientele by updating proposals for the provision of telecommunications services (“AT&T mission, vision & values,” 2020). These objectives are consistent with the current organizational culture of the corporation and characterize the priority values ​​promoted by the management.

Importance of Vision and Culture

Visions, as a rule, are the representations of how companies position themselves in the selected market segment and what they see as development prospects. According to AT&T’s report, the conglomerate considers itself one of the most valuable global corporations that provides telecommunications services (“AT&T mission, vision & values,” 2020). However, by analyzing the official statistics obtained through a survey of employees, one can remark that a minority of the staff (38%) are motivated by the existing mission and vision of AT&T (“AT&T mission, vision & values,” 2020, para. 4). These data prove the need for a clearer formulation of development strategies in accordance with the existing norms and values. In order to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements, managers should promote relevant practices aimed at conflict resolution within the organizational culture.

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Conflict Resolution and Culture

Conflicts in the workplace may be seen not as a negative phenomenon that interrupts the operating mode but as an area for potential positive interventions. According to Sharma and Singh (2019), the higher the level of organizational culture is in a company, the more opportunities leaders have to transform disagreements into productive inter-professional communication. For this purpose, the involvement of all employees is essential to create a strategy for resolving conflicts and increasing the individual reputation and professionalism of each subordinate.

Conflict and Reputation

If conflicts in the workplace hurt the reputation of employees, this is a serious reason for managers to reconsider career guidance in relation to maintaining positive relationships among colleagues. Based on the statistics, AT&T’s staff show no apparent contradictions since the majority of respondents (37%) note transparency and integrity as the elements of the work process (“AT&T mission, vision & values,” 2020, para. 4). Nevertheless, in case of disagreements, responsible leaders should do everything possible to prevent interpersonal conflicts since they indicate a weak organizational culture.

Conflict and Communication

Interaction among employees is a valuable aspect of maintaining a high level of conflict management. According to the survey of AT&T workers, the majority of respondents (41%) state that they are loyal to their colleagues than to leaders (“AT&T mission, vision & values,” 2020, para. 4). These data allow arguing about the need to use relevant strategies for promoting communication among employees and establishing an effective system for involving them in teamwork to avoid the risks of misunderstanding and eliminate any bias, which, in turn, is fraught with conflicts and contradictions with the provisions of organizational culture. As a result, benefits to employees may be achieved, and this topic deserves particular attention and will be discussed further.

Benefits

Organizational culture may be considered not only as a managerial mechanism for promoting specific norms and values but also as a favorable environment for employees. In particular, Maxwell and Chukwudi (2018) give examples of reward policies promoted at various enterprises and note that this approach is an incentive for subordinates to follow the instructions of leaders responsibly. Therefore, the implementation and strengthening of organizational culture have obvious advantages for the staff due to the establishment of a productive workflow and the ability to interact with colleagues effectively.

Benefits to Employees

For employees, a high level of organizational culture can be associated with different implications. For instance, in AT&T, 53% of the respondents remark that compensation payments and other material bonuses are the key incentives for work (“AT&T mission, vision & values,” 2020, para. 4). At the same time, as Maxwell and Chukwudi (2018) argue, much depends on a leadership style chosen by the management since different operating environments require distinctive approaches to control. However, regardless of the field of work, employees can experience positive manifestations of organizational culture, which are expressed in a favorable microclimate, bonus payments, or opportunities for professional growth.

Retention Implications

The leadership of companies with a strong organizational culture can count on high retention results for talented employees. For AT&T, additional work should be conducted to strengthen this area since, according to the survey, only 56% of employees are proud of their activities in the corporation (“AT&T mission, vision & values,” 2020, para. 4). High organizational culture provides for mutual understanding among all the participants in the work process. To create appropriate conditions and ensure subordinates’ satisfaction, leaders should pay attention to the retention rate as an indicator that reflects the level of commitment. The analysis of all the considered implications of organizational culture can allow summarizing the basic findings and drawing conclusions.

Conclusion

Promoting relevant norms and values ​​among managers and subordinates makes it possible to increase the business potential of companies, and the example of AT&T is evidence that this practice correlates with employees’ commitment directly. The phenomenon under consideration includes a wide range of rules, traditions, and nuances that largely determine the success of managerial work and influence productivity. Effective communication, inter-professional collaboration, high-performance leadership, and other significant aspects of business activities are manifested in companies with strong organizational cultures. For AT&T, this indicator is not sufficiently high to claim a sustainably advanced culture, and statistical reports based on the surveys of the conglomerate’s employees prove this. Therefore, the management of the corporation needs to take additional measures to strengthen AT&T’s organizational culture. In general, this concept includes an extensive range of areas, and one can highlight leadership, structure, customer service, inter-professional interaction, and some other sectors. The value of the work done lies in an opportunity to study the characteristics of organizational culture in detail and provide examples of its manifestations in practice.

References

AT&T. (2019). Future focused. Purpose driven.

AT&T mission, vision & values. (2020). Comparably.

Chatman, J. A., & O’Reilly, C. A. (2016). Paradigm lost: Reinvigorating the study of organizational culture. Research in Organizational Behavior, 36, 199-224.

Hock, M., Clauss, T., & Schulz, E. (2016). The impact of organizational culture on a firm’s capability to innovate the business model. R&D Management, 46(3), 433-450.

Maxwell, A., & Chukwudi, E. (2018). Organizational culture and employee performance. Onyx Journals of Socio-Economic Studies, 1(1), 181-207.

Our mission. (2020). AT&T.

Rahimi, R. (2017). Organizational culture and customer relationship management: A simple linear regression analysis. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 26(4), 443-449.

Sharma, S., & Singh, K. (2019). Positive organizational culture: Conceptualizing managerial role in interpersonal conflict. European Journal of Business & Social Sciences, 7(5), 1508-1518.

Şomăcescu, S. M., Barbu, C. M., & Nistorescu, T. (2016). Investigating the relationship between organizational communication and organizational culture. Management & Marketing Journal, 14(1), 91-100.

Vveinhardt, J., & Andriukaitiene, R. (2017). Management culture as part of organizational culture in the context of corporate social responsibility implementation. Economics & Sociology, 10(3), 294-320.

Warrick, D. D. (2017). What leaders need to know about organizational culture. Business Horizons, 60(3), 395-404.

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