Google Project Aristotle: How to build more effective teams
Teams turns strategy into reality. In this article we focus on the inner workings of a team and what it takes to thrive as a business with healthy, happy and highly effective teams.
Others refer to organizational culture as the very essence of an organization. It is the core beliefs and premises that shape the company, the behavior of its members and how it interacts with the external environment. Hidden assumptions or psychological predispositions that the organization’s members have in common further shape the corporate culture.
The culture of a group can be defined as a pattern of shared basic assumptions learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration."
As a source of the company’s identity, the initial organizational culture is highly dependent on the founders’ beliefs, values and assumptions of how the company should be organized and operate. These initial ground values and beliefs become modified by the organization’s subsequent leaders through different behavioral patterns. Correspondingly, organizational culture is formed by what the management emphasizes, measures and controls. The way the leaders deal with critical circumstances and their individual managerial styles and behavioral patterns further influence the culture within the organization. Besides, human resource management plays an important role. Depending on the stressed criteria concerning selection, recruitment, reward, and promotion policies employees are selected and evaluated according to the cultural base. Thus, the culture itself is usually expressed by the management through the organizational procedures, practices, policies and systems.
Organizational culture can be seen as a construct that makes an organization unique. A manifestation of organizational culture can be found in the concept of organizational climate. Organizational culture is often described in the context of evolutions of social systems whereas climate can be seen as the impact of these systems on individuals and groups. Organizational climate is usually described as the perception of organizational practices experienced in a more conscious way whereas culture has a deeper impact on employees’ psychology.
Company climate is perhaps best described by R. Taguiri and G. H. Litwin.
"The relatively enduring organizational environment that (a) is experienced by the occupants, (b) influences their behavior, and (c) can be described in terms of the values of a particular set of characteristics or attributes of the environment."
Hofstede emphasizes the importance of heroes and symbols that build a frame around the rites and values of an organization. Employees tend to refer to these heroes subconsciously and make use of symbols to express the surface of more hidden values and assumptions. This process of symbolization might be seen as highly related to the organizational climate as it can be seen more at the surface. However, this model must not be understood as stable but rather as very dynamic in nature as the organizational practices pervade all layers of the model and degree of interference is high.
Some predict that people are attracted by organizations whose values and beliefs are rather congruent to their own. The same holds true for the selection and recruiting process of the organizations. Thus, there is a pre-selection that by some means serves homogeneity. Moreover, those employees who do not share the organizational cultures personally are more likely to leave the company sooner or later.
On the other hand, an organization can consist of several subcultures that might demonstrate a culture of fragmentation or differentiation. Fragmentation in this context implies conflicting differences whereas differentiation points toward valuable differences. Edgar Henry Schein, therefore, divides culture into four levels: macroculture, organizational culture, subculture, and microculture.
Macro culture subsumes the different national, religious or ethnical cultures, whereas subculture often consistently used as microculture refer to certain or across several occupational groups within organizations. In this context, all types of culture are touched however not to an equal degree. This is because the individual employee perceives those cultural level that is the closest to him as the most dominant.
For more insight into how these observations can impact your company culture, read our free whitepaper "How to Evolve Your Company Culture."
Learn how to implement a successful culture change and reinforce it with feedback.