Organizational Culture Paper

This essay has a total of 1792 words and 7 pages.

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture can be defined as a system of shared beliefs and values that
develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its members. It includes
routine behaviors, norms, dominant values, and a feeling or climate conveyed. The purpose
and function of this culture is to help foster internal integration, bring staff members
from all levels of the organization much closer together, and enhance their performance.

However, there seems to be a widely held misconception that throughout an organization or
within a specific division there is only one uniform culture that exists. This definition
does not seem adequate because it fails to recognize that in many organizations there are
quite often groups that are unique of the dominant culture. They may have values that are
not consistent, or outwardly reject the culture as a whole, yet at the same time they are
still able to maintain their position within the firm. In addition, it has been a personal
experience that in many organizations strong organizational culture can in fact be
negative, and in fact actually damage the performance of their employees. The perception
is due to the fact that in many organizations the culture can act as a barrier to the
employee to gain status within the organization.

This perception may have also had a lot to due with the nature of the position that was
held at the company. This company seemed to fit the criteria and meet the description of a
"Fortress Culture". This may have been the result of the fact that it business was in the
highly competitive field of financial services. The management was very preoccupied with
figures such as sales, growth and earnings, and they treated the staff as a commodity that
could easily be replaced. As a contract employee there was little in the way of job
security and essential no possibility to be rewarded for good performance. The theory is
inadequate because it does not recognize the fact that in many businesses today, firms no
longer retain all of their staff on a full-time basis. It simply assumes that many of the
individuals are full time staff members and at least have short-term job certainty. It
fails to recognize the fact that by having many individuals that are working in
organizations as part time or contract staff is not really given the opportunity, or they
do not wish to become part of the organizational culture. Hence they elect not to
internalize the company's culture and in turn establish their own distinct sub-culture of
individuals that share their own beliefs.

Many of the fail points within the organization could be traced directly back to its
socialization process. The socialization process is the process by which an organization
brings new employees into its culture. The older members of the society transmit to
younger members the social skills and knowledge needed to function effectively in the
organization. This process of the organization develops the skills and competencies needed
to perform the new job. Although the company seemed to be successful in the first two
steps the remainder of the process seemed to be inconsistent with this theory.

The company followed the traditional pattern of selecting potential candidates through the
use of trained recruiters and a standardized procedure. These recruiters looked for a
variety of specific traits in each candidate that they believed would make them suitable
for the position at the firm. Those individuals that did not meet these strict criteria
were not considered for the position. The organization also had many similarities with the
next step in which the successful candidates were placed in many challenging environments,
or impossible situations to test their commitment to the position. The theory then
suggests that at this point in the process those individuals who are not willing to accept
the culture would be removed and all others allowed to proceed. Yet this does not seem to
be adequate for two reasons. To begin with the theory does not account for the fact that
in reality many individuals to not actual accept the norms and values but they simply give
off the appearance that they do in an attempt to retain their position. Quite often
individuals never really become part of the dominant culture yet merely they try to give
that impression so that they are not dismissed. Secondly, it falls short in the case of
many individuals that have been hired as a contract employee. Not having the certainty and
job security of a full time staff member makes individuals less open towards the
organization's norms and values. By not having the confidence in their future at the firm
individuals are likely to be very reluctant to make the effort and try to become part of
the team, and eventually the firm's culture.
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