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1 ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE 1.

1 Introduction The information age has arrived in full force and technology along with all of its advancements is here to stay. Even though businesses seem to be all about numbers and making a fast buck, companies are again realizing the immeasurable significance of their human workforce. The recent awareness of organizational culture theory is evidence that the time has come to write meaning and emotion back into organizations (Gabriel 1991, p. 319). This chapter presents a literature review on different aspects of organisation culture and employee morale. It also explores selected tools used by other researchers to assess organisational culture and employee morale. A brief review of some works studying the relationship between organisational culture and employee morale is also presented in this chapter. 1.2 Organisational culture This sections looks at different aspects of culture including its concepts, definitions, and components. A brief review of some other researchers to assess organisational included. organisational its importance tools used by culture is also

A. Concepts and definitions of organisational culture The concept of organisational culture has become popular since the early 1980s. Along with the growing interest in the topic, there seems to be little agreement within the literature as to what organisational culture actually is and, therefore, there are different definitions and perspectives on this topic. Some define organisational culture as the observable behavioural rules in human interaction (Van Maanen 1979); some as the dominant values in an organisation (Deal & Kennedy 1982); others as a consistent perception within an organisation (Robbins 1998). One of the most common definitions of organisational culture includes shared values, beliefs, or norms (Beyer & Trice 1987; Tunstall 1983; Wilkins & Patterson 1985; Martin 1985; Barney 1986; Kerr 1991) (Chen, CS 1994).

As a summary, Yanagi (1994, p. ii) stated that organisational culture can be defined as philosophies and values shared by the members of organisations and their behavioural patterns for translating them into practical actions. Another often referred-to definition of organisational culture was devised by Schein (1989, 1992). According to Schein (1989), culture is a coherent system of assumptions and basic values, which distinguish one group or organisation from another and orient its choices.

Hence, organisational culture implies a pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems (Schein 1989, p. 9). Culture is the unique whole, the heart and soul that determines how a group of people will behave. Cultures are collective beliefs that in turn shape behaviour (Organisations @ Onepine 2003). A key role for organisational culture is to differentiate the organisation from others and provide a sense of identity for its members. An important point made by some researchers while exploring the concepts and definitions of organisational culture is the stress that culture is a dynamic, evolving process, not at all static. Morgan (1986), for example, argued that culture must be understood as an active, living phenomenon through which people create and recreate their worlds. Schein (1989) also stated that organisational culture changes over time and becomes more embedded into the out-of- awareness functioning of an organisation. Both Morgan and Scheins views imply that key individuals have a crucial role to play in shaping and refining the culture.

Schein (1989, p. 2) claimed that organisational culture are created by leaders and one of the most decisive functions of leadership may well be the creation, the management, and if and when that may become necessary the destruction of culture.

Although the main focus of this research is culture at the organisational level, it is also important that due attention be given to the broader external societal, cultural context within which organisations are embedded. Cultures are layered as stated by researchers. Cultures permeate many levels of social life simultaneously. Some aspects of culture are nearly universal, like the high value placed on family bonds and good childcare. Other cultural themes are characteristic of whole regions of the world (regional culture). A culture becomes characteristic of a specific nation (national culture), or even of a particular social group (organisational/corporate culture), largely because of its linkage to specific locales and experiences. Organisational culture, therefore, has to be viewed in a broader perspective, with due consideration given to the interrelation or the linkages between cultural themes at the regional, national, organisational and individual levels.

Despite the various definitions and perspectives on organisational culture, one thing is universal amongst most of them, and that is the shared nature of the beliefs, philosophies, norms etc. In essence, many claimed that the function of organizational culture is to create a feeling of esprit de corps within the organisation (Van Maanen & Barley 1985, p. 39). If this is so, then we should attempt to examine why organizational culture is regarded so important and valuable.

B. Increasing importance of organisational culture and research on organizational culture

Organisational culture is the key to organisational excellence and the function of leadership is the creation and management of culture (Schein 1992). In general we find that outstandingly successful organisations usually have strong and unique cultures Unsuccessful organisations have weak indifferent sub-cultures or old sub-cultures that become sclerosed and can actually prevent the organisations adaptation to changed circumstances (Hofstede 1980, p. 394). Organisational researchers are becoming more aware of the importance of understanding and enhancing the cultural life of an organisation. One study of a group of high-performance companies in North America indicated that paying attention to organisational culture is an important ingredient in organisational success (Frost et al. 1985, p. 16).

Organisational learning, development and planned change cannot be understood without considering organisational culture as the primary source of resistance to change (Schein 1992). The ability to perceive and assess the limitations of ones own culture and to develop the culture adaptively is the essence and ultimate challenge of leadership (Schein 1992). Interpreting and understanding organisational culture is an important activity for managers organisational functioning. Examination of past failures in organisational development efforts points to the role of culture as a critical force to be considered in effecting change (Beer 1980). Some of the reasons why it is important to understand an organisations culture are: It will determine the responses that an organisation will make to new problems and challenges. It may facilitate change or be a stumbling block. It will determine the kinds of people who are attracted to the organisation and who will be successful in it. It determines what counts as important in the organisation and so gives a clear direction for planning training and management development programs.

Failing to understand and manage the organisational culture can lead to much time being wasted on irrelevant activities and even to conflict between different levels in the organisation, cynicism and disillusionment. Without control of the culture, subsidiaries, departments and functions may take on their own culture. While some differences in culture between groups within the same organisation may be acceptable or desirable, there may be core values, which are vital to the success of the organisation and should be shared by all. These core values need to be identified and embedded in the culture. The process involves being explicit about what values are important to the organization and getting people to understand and commit themselves to these values (Human Factors International 2004).

Schein (1989, p. 48) stated failing to understand how culture works is just as dangerous in the organisational world as failing to understand gravity and the atmosphere in the physical/biological world.

C. Different aspects of organisational culture

While exploring the content of organisational culture, researchers seems to use a wide variety of approaches, methods and terms to describe what organisational culture might contain and/or entail. The organization has perspectives sees organizational culture as consisting of variables, subsystems or components. These components have been described in McKinseys 7S framework. (Peters and Waterman, 1982; see Figure 1)

Figure 1- McKinseys 7-S framework

In this framework, components have certain functionality and management can control and integrate different components to form strong or weak cultures.

As Meek (1988) stated: strong cultures are somehow more likely to be associated with effectiveness than are weak cultures and strong cultures can be deliberately created (p.196) and Organisational cultures are created by leaders and one of the most decisive functions of leadership may well be the creation, the management, and - if and when that may become necessary the destruction of culture Similarly, Schein (1989) referred to various cultural elements such as the physical layout of an organisations offices, rules of interactions that are taught to newcomers, basic values that come to be seen as the organisations ideology or philosophy, and the underlying conceptual categories and assumptions that enable people to communicate and to interpret everyday occurrences. He distinguished among these elements by treating basic assumptions as the essence what culture really is and by treating values and behaviours as observed manifestations of the cultural essence. In a sense, he classified these elements into three levels of culture . Earlier, Lundberg (1985, p. 171-172) had offered a very similar view and distinguished four (4) separate levels of meaning for an organisations culture (adapted from Schein (1981) and Dyer (1982) (See Figure 2)

Perspectives may be viewed as the solutions to a common set of problems encountered by organizational members from time to time. They define and interpret situations of organisational life and prescribe the bounds of acceptable behaviour in such situations. They are relatively concrete and members are usually aware of them The values are the evaluation base that members of an organisation use for judging the rightness or wrongness of situations, acts, objects and people. Values reflect the real objectives, standards and goals in an organisation and define as well its transgressions, sins, and wrongdoings. At the deepest level of an organisational culture are the basic assumptions, which are the tacit beliefs that members hold about themselves and the world, their relationships to one another and the nature of the organisation in which they work. Largely unconscious, they underpin the first three levels above. They can be viewed as the implicit and abstract axioms that determine the values, perspectives and artefacts of an organisations culture.

Another well-known author, whose ideas influence organisational work, Geert Hofstede, has argued that organisational cultures should be distinguished from national cultures. Cultures manifest themselves, from superficial to deep, in symbols, heroes, rituals and values etc. National cultures differ mostly on the values level; while organisational cultures at the levels of symbols, heroes and rituals, together labeled practices. Hofstede (1980) studied the differences in national cultures for over fifty countries. The cultures show five independent dimensions of values: power distance; individualism versus collectivism; masculinity versus femininity; uncertainty avoidance; and Confucian dynamism. Power distance: a measure of the inequality between bosses and inferiors, the extent to which this is accepted. Uncertainty avoidance: the degree to which one is comfortable with or feels threatened by ambiguous, uncertain situations, the extent one can or cannot tolerate uncertainty and tries to avoid it by establishing more structure. Individualism Collectivism: the degree to which a culture relies on and has allegiance to the self or the group. In other words, it is the degree to which one thinks in terms of I versus we; either ties between individuals are loose or people are part of a cohesive group throughout their lives.

Masculinity Femininity (also known as achievement versus nurturance orientation): the degree to which a culture values such behaviour as assertiveness, achievement, acquisition of wealth or caring for others, social support and quality of life. Confucian dynamism: this fifth dimension was later added following Hofstedes work with Michael Bond (Hofstede & Bond 1988) which was meant to explain the rapid economic development of many Asian countries. This dimension refers to the selective promotion of particular set of ethics found in Confucian teachings. Particular teachings that lead to economic development include thrift, perseverance, a sense of shame, and following a hierarchy. The impact of long-term or short-term orientation is also studied as part of this dimension.

In his research into organisation cultures, Hofstede identified six independent dimensions of practices: process-oriented versus results-oriented; job-oriented versus employee-oriented; professional versus parochial; open systems versus closed systems; tightly versus loosely controlled; and pragmatic versus normative

The position of an organisation on these dimensions is determined in part by the business or industry the organisation is in. Hofstede (1991, 1997) emphasises that culture is not a property of the individuals, but of groups. Some other researchers, while studying organisational culture, noted that an organisations structure is a determinant of its culture, i.e. certain structures create certain type of cultures, as reflected in Charles Handy s work. He outlines a simple framework for categorising cultures. Handy also uses four (4) Greek Gods to illustrate his basic approaches and the organisational cultures that result (Handy 1991): Role Culture: is perhaps the most readily recognised and common of all the cultural types. It is based around the job or role rather than the personalities and is epitomised by what we tend to think of as the traditional hierarchical structure. Its strengths are in its predictability, stability and consistency while its obvious opposites of inflexibility and slowness of reaction and adjustment are its weakness. Task Culture: is one where management is basically concerned with the continuous and successful solution to problems. Performance is judged in terms of results and problems solved. Although a structure exists, it is flexible and capable of being formed and reformed depending upon the task in hand (more flexible and adaptable). Individuals empowered with discretion and control over their work.

Power and respect come from individual knowledge and talent rather than rank or position. Power Culture: In this type of organisation, power derives from the top person, and a personal relationship with that individual matters more than any formal title or position. The dominant influence of the centre results in a structure that is able to move quickly and respond to change and outside threats. This culture is often found in small entrepreneurial organisations and political groups but will frequently breakdown as they grow since the web is more difficult to maintain with size. Person (Star) Culture: The individual is the central point. If there is a structure, it exists only to serve the individuals within it. The culture only exists for the people concerned; it has no super-ordinate objective. The culture is that of educated and articulate individuals. specialists who have come together because of common interest solicitors, academic researchers, consultants etc

D. Some tools / instruments used to assess organisational culture Given the importance of organisational culture, many researchers, consultants and managers have attempted to search for a valid and applicable measurement tool/instrument to help understand, diagnose, measure and manage an organisations culture. Various tools have been developed with a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches to measuring organisational

culture, making the choice of methods a matter of goal and purpose of the particular investigation. In some cases, qualitative measures may have an advantage in the assessment of certain aspects of an organisational culture e.g. attitudes, satisfaction. The diversity of measurement tools and approaches reflects the diversity in perspectives on the content, levels, dimensions, typology and the formation and development of organisational culture which ultimately dictate what needs to be uncovered and/or measured and who need to be involved in the process.

The Denison organisational culture survey (Denison 1990) is one of the instrument for which evidence of sensitivity to organisational change has been presented. This tool assesses organisational culture along the four basic cultural traits, which are presented by certain organisational dimensions. The tool consists of 60 items, which are used to assess and measure the dimensions. Table below gives a brief description of the structure of the instrument.