How Cultural Culture Is Powerfully Molded By Rewards

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This is a problem, because without a reliable definition (or definitions) of culture, we cannot understand its connections to other key elements of the organization. Nor can we develop adequate approaches to analyzing, preserving and molding cultures. If we can define what organizational culture is, it gives us an understanding on how to help solve problems and even to create and evolve better cultures Culture is steady, clear patterns of behavior in organizations. This view heightens repeated behavior or habits as the heart of culture and deemphasizes what people feel, think or believe. It also focuses our attention on the forces that mold behavior in organizations, and so brings up an important question: are all those forces “culture” or is culture simply the behavioral outputs? Culture is powerfully molded by rewards. The best predictor of what people will do is what they are rewarded to do. By incentives, financial rewards, non- financial rewards such as status, understanding and advancement, and rules, to which members of the organization are subject. But where do incentives come from? As with the previous definition, there are potential chicken-and-egg issues. Are patterns of behavior the product of rewards, or have rewards been constructed in fundamental ways by beliefs and values that downplay the culture? Note that this motivates the definition of culture beyond patterns of behavior into the domain of jointly-held beliefs and meaning about “what is.” It says that

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