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Organizational Behavior Research Project

Organizational Culture

The culture of an organization develops over time, and it plays a crucial role in the processes and
perceptions within the organization. It influences individual behaviors, fosters social identity, and
supports continuity among organization members. The ability to observe and analyze the culture of
an organization can help you interact more successfully with members of the organization. The
primary purpose of this project is to develop such observation and analysis skills.

For this assignment, I would like you to assess cultural aspects of two small organizations or of two
departments within a larger organization. For example, you might consider two departments at GSU,
two restaurants, or two non profit organizations. You may choose any pair of organizations that
interest you, as long as they operate in a similar industry or social niche. Your job is to compare and
contrast the cultures within those organizations, summarize the findings, and present your
conclusions to the class. Completion of this project requires that you visit both organizations, make
careful observations/interviews, and document what you have observed. You will then synthesize
your data into a coherent 10 to 15-minute presentation that describes the physical artifacts, shared
behaviors, and (possibly implied) norms you observed within those organizations.

The following guidelines may help you conduct this research and organize it for presentation:

1. Be objective when making your observations. Try not to enter the organizations with
preconceived notions about their cultures, and dont make guesses. Every conclusion you reach
must be based on tangible evidence such as objects, routines, documents, observed social
interactions, or interviews with organization members.

2. Observe the two organizations and describe the dominant physical artifacts such as office sizes
and locations, equipment, technologies, employee dress, awards and ceremonies, language (both
style and type), music, printed statements, decorations, etc.

3. Consider the employees degree of formality and informality. Observe social interactions, both
among employees and between employees and customers, if appropriate. Try to interview at
least one central player at each location.

4. Consider the leadership of the two organizations. Do the leaders appear to shape the culture? Is
there a strong hierarchy? Do the leaders appear congruent with dominant cultural beliefs and
assumptions? Infer from observable artifacts, dress, communication and behavior if necessary.

5. Are there any artifacts or behaviors that appear incongruent with the dominant cultural beliefs?

6. For your presentation, you may bring artifacts, videos, transparencies, or any other feasible
props that help demonstrate the cultures of the two organizations. Be sure that you describe the
mission and overall purpose of each organization/department, then compare cultural differences
and similarities across them. Any number of people from your group can participate in the
presentation, which should require ten to fifteen minutes. I would also like to receive a table
listing comparable aspects of the two cultures and your conclusions regarding their significance.
Grades will be calculated as follows: 1 point for objectivity and completeness of the research, 1
point for synthesis and conclusions, and 1 point for completeness of the table.