Organizational culture refers to the principles, shared beliefs, assumptions and ideologies that bind an organization in its day to day activities. It is therefore reflects the general picture of that organization .It is well proven that this concept cannot be washed away since it is the key fabric that holds an organization together .It can determine the performance of an organization and create a bearing on its productivity.
It is therefore imperative for managers at all levels to understand the role this concept plays in their respective areas of operation. Adler(1991) posited that Organizational culture is the driving force that determines the direction in which a particular organization moves .It helps foster peace among employees drawn from different backgrounds and cultures. It therefore commits all employees to a common course geared towards uplifting the standards of a particular organization. It sets standards which if adhered to strictly will result into quality results.
The culture of an organization dictates the image of such an organization in the public. It therefore determines how the public views the organization in question. In this respect this image will have a direct bearing on its products. For instance, each pharmaceutical company has defined set of good manufacturing practices and standard operating procedures. Such guidelines should be observed by all staff to yield quality products (Appelbaum & Belous, 1988). This means that should any of these guidelines be violated then it goes without saying that the products will not meet the market standards. Such a move compromises the image of the company thereby rendering it vulnerable to their competitors in their line of operation.
A positive organizational culture is therefore desirable. Adler (1991) demonstrates that a positive organizational culture helps foster unity among employees, creates standards that can define a good organization and triggers healthy competition. A strong sense of belonging, responsibility and accountability is cultivated. In the long run this creates a formidable human resource force that helps fire up the organization to greater heights of excellence.
A positive organizational culture encompasses good values, skills, healthy inter-relationship and better working conditions which will help to instill commitment among staff. Motivation should therefore be emphasized at all times as this helps the staff to contribute positively towards achieving the goals set up by an organization. This includes but is not limited to better remuneration, housing, tools, sound training and promotion for long serving employees and the dedicated ones. Douglas McGregor in his theory X and Y concept points at an aspect of organizational culture that can motivate or demotivate staff (Forteza & Prieto, 1994, pp 447-53). In his two theories he compares a manager who coerces employees to work to achieve desired results. On the other hand he points at a manager who motivates an employee to get his job well done. This aspect demonstrates how a culture of motivation will create a direct impact on the goals of an organization. The culture of motivation gives an employee a reason to work even in absence of strict supervision. This does not only create a sense of belonging but reduces the number of employees at supervisory level. This helps an organization meets its targets at minimum costs (Forteza & prieto,1994,pp 460-483).
It is worth noting that employees behavior is affected to a greater extend by the culture practiced within such an organization. For instance the work rate and productivity of an employee depends on a number of internal and external factors. Maslow in his theory explores the motivating factors. Good training, better tools, rewards for performers and good working conditions are just but a few indicators of a positive culture. For example employees who are regularly trained through refresher courses stand a better chance to perform better at work as compared to those who are not trained regularly. An employee who takes home a good package in form of compensation every month for the good work he/she does will strive towards doubling his/her efforts to polish up the reputation of the organization. In addition team work as a culture enables employees approach a given task unified. This makes achievability of set goals very easy.
It is therefore a good practice to create a strong and sound organizational culture that can enable organization overcome challenges in the ever competitive markets. Managers have an obligation to make this a reality in their areas of operation .This includes operalisation of a raft of measures geared towards a strong human resource base and securing a good corporate image of the organization. Such an enormous task requires a number of parameters in place.
Better working conditions for employees are inevitable. Managers should ensure employees have the right tools for the job. They should not lead a hungry labourforce.Workers should be well remunerated .They should be well trained and conversant with their rights and obligations. Managers, however, need to be accurately analyzing and evaluating the existing culture against the organizational objectives. The degree to which the organization is successful in achieving the strategic vision and goals is to a large extent dependent upon how consistent and successful they are in creating and maintaining an aligned, supportive culture (Kawakami & Dovidio, 2001, p64).
For widespread cultural change to take hold, change must start at the top in terms of defining and consistently modeling corporate values, behaviors, actions, and leadership culture so that the new approaches and behaviors utilized by employees are encouraged, supported, and allowed to take hold in systemic ways. Without commitment and behavioral modeling at the top, individuals will abandon any new behaviors that they attempted to embrace, however briefly. In this day of the shifting social contract, if senior leadership isn’t seen as “walking their talk,” some of your best employees can be expected to leave the company in search of more committed leadership whom they can align with, trust, follow, and respect.
Employees in hazardous work places should ensure that occupational safety is taught and observed strictly .Employees should be allowed to join workers unions of their choices.
Respect for human rights is paramount. Proper disciplinary mechanisms should be in place and at no times should wayward employees be left to go unpunished. This will help eradicate the culture of impunity and instill responsibility.
As cited by Daboval (1992), an organization should therefore put in place measures that can enable co-existence, encourage specialization and division of labour. The rules and regulations governing employee conduct should be well defined. Employees should be given a chance to nurture their careers. At no time should an employee be deployed in an area where he/she has no relevant skills and knowledge.
The management should practice good governance at all times to boost its image among the subordinate and create confidence within itself. The desirable mode of dressing should be adhered to all times. This means that a person working as a doctor should not dress like a mechanic as this will expose not only his/her career to ridicule but also expose the nakedness of the organization.
It is worth understanding that most organizations adopt their ways of rewarding employees. Such criteria should however not undermine the spirit of hardwork. Equitable reward formula should be adopted to minimize maginalisation.Every employee should feel catered for at all times. Any attempt of increasing salaries of certain individuals outside the set standards will demotivate a section of staff who feel unaccomodated by the system.
In addition, the criteria for dealing with dissenting voices should be above board. The middle line managers should present employee concerns in time for onward transmission to the top line managers. Proper conflict resolution mechanisms should be maintained to avoid unprecedented unrest. This will determine the level of teamwork. It is therefore important for managers to practice good communication to avoid gaps and crisis that come along with poor communication.
The organizational structure should be well defined so that conflicts are well resolved. Everyone should be conversant with his/her job profile and description. This helps cultivate specialization and minimize unhealthy competing interests among the staff.
Managers should develop strong foundational values to be practiced from time to time. This aims at creating a future full of self responsibility and dedication.
Adler (1991) points that management should understand organizational culture for a number of reasons.First; it makes the duties of managers simpler. For instance company with a solid good culture will not waste time each and every time to coerce workers to behave in a certain way. It enables them to understand all employees in that organization, their needs, their strengths and weaknesses and know how to deal with them.
It is an advantage for managers to understand the organizational culture as this enables them to marshal their team towards productivity. This can enableto carry out proper appraisals and reward accordingly. Reward and recognition approaches and practices affect other systems in your culture in significant ways and can be attached to the behavior of employees with the rewards they ought to get. Such rewards and punishments help moderate employees’ behavior. Employees learn through their own experience with promotions, performance appraisals, and discussions war dons with the boss. Anything deemed worthy of learning should have a reward system attached to it to ensure it. All, recognition and incentive systems must be aligned with the type of culture you desire and organizational goals.
For top managers, there is need to, accurately analyze and evaluate the existing culture against the organizational objectives. The degree to which they are successful in achieving their strategic vision and goals is to a large extent dependent upon how consistent and successful they are in creating and maintaining an aligned, supportive culture. This is as cited by Schis (1999).
For widespread cultural change to take hold, change must start at the top in terms of defining and consistently modeling corporate values, behaviors, actions, and leadership culture so that the new approaches and behaviors utilized by employees are encouraged, supported, and allowed to take hold in systemic ways. Without commitment and behavioral modeling at the top, individuals will abandon any new behaviors that they attempted to embrace, however brief they might be. In this day of the shifting social dynamics, if senior leadership isn’t seen as “walking their talk,” some of the best employees can be expected to leave the company in search of more committed leadership whom they can align with, trust, follow, and respect.