Dissertation: Managing Organizational Culture

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¶ … opportunity exists for the company to expand internationally by setting up operations in the emerging economies of China and India. The question to consider is how to build cultural harmony between the facilities operating in three different countries. The question of whether it would be better to establish a certain national organizational culture is likely would be considered in this report. cultures of the United Kingdom, India and China is presented. The organizational cultures prevalent in China and India are more collectivistic and marked by high power distance than the organizational cultures in the United Kingdom. There are other differences such as the importance of status in China and family tradition in India, whereas in the United Kingdom principles of utility and economic efficiency determine organizational practices and behaviors. The three cultures also differ in their assumptions and beliefs that are rooted in different philosophical and economic beliefs. Managing culture is a complex process. People may develop resistance to efforts at controlling behavior and are likely to be seen as eye-wash without bringing about meaningful cultural change. Therefore, it is argued that the company should not try to impose a British model of organizational culture at its offices in India and China. Not only because of differences between western and eastern cultures, but also because of generational differences within the Indian and Chinese workforce, developing a functional organizational culture requires identifying common cultural values and beliefs that can be combined with western and global ideals. These would help the employees at the international offices to work in conformity with their cultural values while satisfying their economic ambitions in the globalized world.

IMPLICATIONS of an INTERNATIONAL CULTURE Management INITIATIVE

Aims of the Report

This report has been prepared to present an analysis of the culture management process that may be developed by the company in view of the plans for expanding operations to China and India. This report begins by presenting the definitions of culture, norms, values and related concepts to aid in the comprehension of the report. An analysis of the various studies conducted on the national and organizational cultures of the United Kingdom, India and China is presented. The organizational cultures of the three countries are analyzed in the light of relevant organizational culture theories and models to clarify the conceptual areas for implementation of a successful culture management program. A further aim of the report is to provide a description of the major issues involved in the culture management process. The report also aims to apprise the reader of the benefits and risks of a culture management process. The report also aims at providing relevant guidelines for developing and implementing culture management process in the event that the company decides to pursue expansion in the targeted countries.

Introduction

Culture can be defined as the established ways of satisfying needs and attaining goals that are accepted as valid by the community and taught to new members as the acceptable way of satisfying needs. In other words, culture is a set of socially mandated rules for living (Samovar, Porter, & McDaniel, 2012). Culture originates from the moral beliefs of right and wrong held in common by the community members. Culture is shaped as the members act on the basis of decisions made in the light of their moral beliefs to cope with their environment. Once culture is established, it is relatively difficult to change unless a sustained effort is made. Culture also includes norms which are the established ways of doing a certain task. As the norms are taught to subsequent generations, the reasoning underlying them is lost and they serve a function of coherence with other related norms and in maintaining social order. In organizations, such norms may include as the appropriate time to enter a manager's office, the right way of addressing superiors and the format for writing a letter. Beliefs are assumptions that are held by the community members. They are the foundation upon which knowledge is built (Gasset & Garcia-Gomez, 2002). Beliefs reflect the expectations people have in relation to certain actions. For instance, in an organization, employees may hold the belief that putting in extra effort will result in higher pay raises or praise from managers. Values are beliefs relating to the relative importance of things. Depending on their shared history and environment, employees at an organization may value individual effort, higher status and material possessions more than group effort, equal status and simple possessions.

Culture is managed though a consistent and coordinated effort. Any effort at managing and controlling culture should involve all the organization members affected by the change because culture goes at the very deepest layers of personal identity. Culture also shapes the way in which management exercises control over the organization (Pfister, 2009). Values and beliefs are personal in nature and any change in values should be sought through discussion and involvement. Culture is learnt over a period of time. Hence, there is bound to be resistance to culture management efforts. These concerns should be acknowledged as valid and the underlying needs should be satisfied.

A number of theories relating to organizational culture describe the composition of organizational culture and explain how a number of forces shape it. These theories and models can be used to develop appropriate strategies to manage and control the culture of an organization. These include the models developed by Schein along with the typologies developed by Hofstede, Trompenaars and Handy. These are discussed in detail in subsequent parts of this report.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Culture, Organizational Culture, and Theories of Organizational Culture

According to Pfister (2009), culture can be defined as the "shared understanding" about the ways of getting work done in a particular context. Culture determines the prescribed ways through which people in that particular context interact with one another to satisfy their various needs. Culture is also "embedded" in that it eventually becomes an assumed part of the culture and people follow the cultural norms after having internalized them so that they become part of their belief and value system.

As reported by Inceoglu (2002), Siehl & Martin (1984) have defined organizational culture as "the glue that holds together an organization through a shared pattern of meaning." In other words, organizational culture helps to create a shared understanding among all the employees within an organizational context about the appropriate ways of satisfying their work-related and personal needs within the organization. As with other cultural norms, these norms have to be learned and internalized. This may be difficult because the learning takes place when the individual has attained mental and emotional maturity and the self is independent. Therefore, greater effort is required at overcoming resistance and in learning new behaviors. This particular difficulty has prompted several scholars to develop theories and models of organizational culture so that organizational culture may be analyzed accurately which would enable employees to acculturate themselves easily.

The theories of organizational culture discussed in this dissertation include those proposed by Hofstede, Schein, Handy and Trompenaars. Geert Hofstede was a Dutch psychologist who was interested in the cultural differences between organizations. He identified these as abstract and not readily apparent. His theory was based on a study involving 40 countries and was published in 1980. He used his theory to describe cultures on the basis of the following dimensions: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism-collectivism and masculinity-feminity. Later on, a fifth dimension of long-term vs. short-term orientation was added (Piepenburg, 2011).

Charles Handy also presented a classification of organizational cultures on the basis of power distribution and interpersonal interaction. Like Hofstede's theory, this theory was also based on categorization of organizational cultures (Hermans & Hermans-Konopka, 2010). However, Handy's 1985 four-category model based on task culture, role culture, power culture and person culture did not attempt to categorize organizational cultures on the basis of national cultures.

Edgar Schein went beyond Hofstede's and Handy's description of cultural differences and proposed a three-layer model to describe how organizational cultures are shaped over time. This model was proposed in 1985 and described how basic underlying assumptions shaped beliefs capable of being articulated and later manifested in the form of artefacts open to sensory perception (Miner, 2007).

The most recent theory discussed in this dissertation is Fons Trompenaars' classification of organizational culture presented during the 1990s. Organizational cultures are classified on the basis of hierarchy, equity, task orientation and people orientation. Unlike earlier categorization theories, this model encouraged analysis of cultural dimensions along a continuum as opposed to discrete categorization (Hodgetts, Luthans, & Doh, 2006).

National, Business and Organizational Culture in the UK

The organizational culture in the United Kingdom is affected by the national and business culture which is shaped by political, historical, social and economic factors. The United Kingdom has traditionally been a constitutional monarchy with democratic values. It is one of the oldest democracies and as a result of imperialism it has transported its democratic ideals to other parts of the world such as Asia and Africa. However, as it is evident from the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Managing Organizational Culture.  (2012, August 29).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/managing-organizational-culture/6701462

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"Managing Organizational Culture."  Essaytown.com.  August 29, 2012.  Accessed June 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/managing-organizational-culture/6701462.