Organizational Culture and Its Importance

2639 Words Sep 19th, 2008 11 Pages
There is no single definition for organizational culture. The topic has been studied from a variety of perspectives ranging from disciplines such as anthropology and sociology, to the applied disciplines of organizational behaviour, management science, and organizational communication. Some of the definitions are listed below:
A set of common understandings around which action is organized; finding expression in language whose nuances are peculiar to the group (Becker and Geer 1960).
A set of understandings or meanings shared by a group of people that are largely tacit among members and are clearly relevant and distinctive to the particular group which are also passed on to new members (Louis 1980).
A system of knowledge, of standards
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To understand culture, we must understand all three levels. One additional aspect complicates the study of culture: the group or cultural unit which "owns" the culture. An organization may have many different cultures or subcultures, or even no discernible dominant culture at the organizational level. Recognizing the cultural unit is essential to identifying and understanding the culture.
Organizational cultures are created, maintained, or transformed by people. An organization's culture is, in part, also created and maintained by the organization's leadership. Leaders at the executive level are the principle source for the generation and re-infusion of an organization's ideology, articulation of core values and specification of norms. Organizational values express preferences for certain behaviours or certain outcomes. Organizational norms express behaviours accepted by others. They are culturally acceptable ways of pursuing goals. Leaders also establish the parameters for formal lines of communication and message content-the formal interaction rules for the organization. Values and norms, once transmitted through the organization, establish the permanence of the organization's culture.
ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE IS ALSO A SYNTHESIS OF SUBCULTURES
Sociologists discuss how distinct societies are composites of interacting subcultures rather than a single overarching culture. Organizations consist of subgroups that
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