What is the importance of organizational culture?
What is the influence of leaders in shaping organizational culture?
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people” is a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi. According to Warrick (2017), “culture can be defined as the [predominant] beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviors, and practices that are characteristic of a group of people” (p.2). According to Groysberg et al. (2018), “Culture is the tacit social order of an organization: It shapes attitudes and behaviors in wide-ranging and durable ways, and cultural norms define what is encouraged, discouraged, accepted, or rejected within a group” (p.4). Groysberg et al. (2018) also stated that “When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can unleash tremendous amounts of energy toward a shared purpose and foster an organization’s capacity to thrive, and culture can also evolve flexibly and autonomously in response to changing opportunities and demands” (p.4). “Whereas the C-suite typically determines strategy, culture can fluidly blend the intentions of top leaders with the knowledge and experiences of frontline employees” (Groysberg et al., 2018, p.4). One of the characteristics of culture is that culture is shared because it is a group phenomenon; It cannot exist solely within a single person, nor is it simply the average of individual characteristics, and it resides in shared behaviors, values, and assumptions and is most commonly experienced through the norms and expectations of a group” (Groysberg et al., 2018, p.4). “Another characteristic of culture is that culture is pervasive because it permeates multiple levels and applies very broadly in an organization; sometimes it is even conflated with the organization itself, and it is manifest in collective behaviors, physical environments, group rituals, visible symbols, stories, and legends” (Groysberg et al., 2018, p.4). Another characteristic of culture is that culture is enduring as it can “direct the thoughts and actions of group members over the long term; It develops through critical events in the collective life and learning of a group. Its endurance is explained in part by the attraction-selection-attrition model because people are drawn to organizations with characteristics similar to their own; organizations are more likely to select individuals who seem to “fit in”; and over time, those who don’t fit in tend to leave” (Groysberg et al., 2018, p.4). The last characteristic of culture is that culture is implicit; This is because an important and often overlooked aspect of culture is that despite its subliminal nature, people are effectively hardwired to recognize and respond to it instinctively, and it therefore, it acts as a kind of silent language” (Groysberg et al., 2018, p.4). “Cultures that lean toward the former place greater value on autonomy, individual action, and competition, whereas some cultures emphasize stability, prioritizing consistency, predictability, and maintenance of the status quo, others emphasize flexibility, adaptability, and receptiveness to change” (Groysberg et al., 2018, p.4). For any business to succeed, organizational culture must be encouraged and leaders play a key role.
Organizational culture is essential for any organization. According to Tang (2017), “An organizational culture is a system of values, beliefs, and meanings that are held jointly by members in an organization, and the organizational culture can affect an extensive range of aspects (p.4). According to Warrick (2017), “A major factor in the success of an organization is its culture. Organizational culture can significantly influence the performance and effectiveness of a company; the morale and productivity of its employees; and its ability to attract, motivate, and retain talented people” (p.1). “An organizational culture is the philosophy that instructs an organization and it represents the major values and criteria of the organization and it is also to convey behavioral norms for members, game rules, and organizational perceptions and atmosphere” (Tang, 2017, p.4). “A strong organizational culture can reduce the turnover of employees and therefore, in modern workplaces, organizational cultures are playing a more important role to influence and guide employee behaviors” (Tang, 2017, p.4). Tang (2017) also stated that “shaping an organizational culture is also part of the management activities but, it is not like the management of other functional departments or even professional departments from the aspect of its properties so that no effect will show in a short period” (p.4). “However, an organizational culture can be reshaped or changed via management technologies or many other approaches such as the planning of systematic management activities; This include the application of Schien’s theory of three-tier organizational culture and the easier implementation on the level of artificial products such as the change and redesign of the office environment for the organization, the construction of Cooperate Identification System (CIS), the organizing of celebrations and activities, the construction of effective handling mechanism via the occurrence of issues, the integration of the desired values, and the shaping in the behaviors and performance” (Tang, 2017, p.4). All of these approaches are beneficial for the establishment of a strong organizational culture. Thus, organizational culture is essential for any organization because it instructs an organization and represents its major values and criteria.
Organizational leaders influence organizational culture in many ways. According to Warrick (2017), “Although many factors influence culture, organizational cultures primarily reflect their leaders; This is because leaders influence culture through their strategies, practices, values, leadership style, and example” (p.2). “The impact of leaders on culture is particularly influential at the top level, and examples of such leaders include; Tony Hsieh was the primary architect of the Zappos culture, Jeff Immelt was able to make significant changes in the culture of IBM, Tim Cook has reinforced the positive aspects of the Apple culture and has made changes that have improved the Apple culture (Warrick, 2017, p.2). Warrick (2017) also stated that “although culture is often thought to be resistant to change, Alan Mulally was able to change the culture of a struggling Ford Motor Company and transform the performance of Ford in a relatively short period and therefore, the examples mentioned above are positive examples of a leader’s influence on culture” (p.2). “However, it should be pointed out that leaders can also create unhealthy cultures because an ineffective leader, a leader who is not a good fit for a desired culture, or even a good leader who makes bad decisions that impact an organization’s culture can tear down or damage a culture that took decades to build” (Warrick, 2017, p.2). “Especially in the late 1980s and thereafter, studies on organizational culture began to provide convincing evidence that culture can have a significant influence on performance, morale, job satisfaction, employee engagement and loyalty, employee attitudes and motivation, turnover, commitment to the organization, and efforts to attract and retain talented employees” (Warrick, 2017, p.2). “One study, in particular, began to catch the attention of leaders, and they published an 11-year evaluation of company cultures, and they found that over 11 years, companies with healthy cultures had a 682% average increase in sales versus 166% for comparable companies without such healthy cultures” (Warrick, 2017, p.2). “W hat becomes evident in studying the themes is that, to a large degree, healthy cultures are the result of effective leadership and management, whereas unhealthy cultures are the result of ineffective leadership and management” (Warrick, 2017, p.2). Thus, organizational leaders influence organizational culture in many ways because healthy cultures are the result of effective leadership and management, whereas unhealthy cultures are the result of ineffective leadership and management.
In conclusion, culture is essential in today’s society as it defines their values and beliefs. Culture involves a group of people with similar values and beliefs. Cultures are passed down from different generations; This is done through different ways for example, education and verbal storytelling. Culture shapes the community by influencing our behaviours. Culture defines what is right and wrong and what is acceptable and unacceptable. Culture should be encouraged because it enables people to connect with their heritage and learn their ancestor’s history. For any successful business, organizational culture is essential because it enables employees align their goals and that of the organization.
Groysberg, B., Lee, J., Price, J., & Cheng, J. (2018). The leader’s guide to corporate culture. Harvard business review, 96(1), 44-52.
Tang, H. (2017). A study of the effect of knowledge management on organizational culture and organizational effectiveness in medicine and health sciences. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 13(6), 1831-1845.
Warrick, D. D. (2017). What leaders need to know about organizational culture. Business Horizons, 60(3), 395-404.