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Organizational Culture

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1. Discuss some differences between organizational culture and organizational climate. Give at least one example of some aspect of each in a place where you have worked or observed. Do the distinctions between these concepts make a different to you? Explain.

Since the notions of organizational culture and organizational climate are inseparable parts of any organization, it is always difficult to differentiate between them. Although those concepts are not the same, there is a certain degree of confusion between the terms. Organizational culture is the structure of the company that is based on the values and beliefs of personnel while organizational climate demonstrates all of the components of its internal environment, which are consciously perceived by each individual.

Organizational culture is also connected with the macro vision of the company’s life-style, and organizational climate is concerned with the micro image that each individual has formed in organizational culture. It is all about the respect and appreciation of culture by each staff representative of the company. Thus, organizational climate is very important for employers because it reflects the attitudes of individuals towards their job and working environment (Longo, 2012).

Considering individuals’ perceptions of their work environment, it is essential to mention a distinction between the terms “organizational climate” and “psychological climate”. The first is associated with the reference to the organizational level of perception while the second is mainly identified with the individual one.  Thus, organizational climate occurs, for example, when people working within the same department share the same feelings regarding their work environment.

In personal experience, the law firm gave the best example of both organizational culture and organizational climate. Not very favorable climate of the company was observed. The employees mentioned about the way the Human Resource Department of the firm influenced the organizational climate, and many of them just decided to quit their jobs. Thus, there is a need to consider the possibility of changing the organizational culture.

2. Discuss the practicality of changing an organization’s culture. Do you think it is possible? What are some of the issues and difficulties?

Organizational culture is usually formed over the years as a result of interaction between workers in the company. Thus, it is very hard to change it, although it is quite possible (Heathfield, 2013). Culture very often overlaps with the existing style of the company’s management, which can only be changed with the advent of new people, who have different views than the management. Because the existing “bosses” chose new employees, who look like themselves, the already established organizational culture can be only reinforced by new minds.

It is also important to note that organizational culture grows, and people are usually comfortable with the culture that they have. Therefore, in order to change it, there must occur something very significant that would get people’s attention. Such “event” can be a bankruptcy, loss of millions of dollars, loss of sales and customers, etc. At the same time, it can also occur when employees recognize and realize the need for transformation in the current organizational culture. Thus, such a change is possible, although it requires a lot of tools, commitment, and understanding.

Heathfield (2013) offers the following practical steps that are needed to be taken in order to change organizational culture such as understanding of the current culture, deciding on the direction, in which the organization wants to go, defining its strategy, deciding on the kind of future organizational culture in order to succeed, and the vision of changed culture. The scholar admits that the decision on changing the behavior of employees and management is one of the essential but the hardest steps to take (Heathfield, 2013).  Thus, it is often easier to create a culture in a new organization than to change the existing one, as people do not need to learn new manners and values and forget the old ones.

3. Using Hofstede’s conceptualizations of culture described, discuss an example of a “cultural conflict” you have observed or read about.

Hofstede (2013) has demonstrated that cultural differences between different nations are found on the level of values, which he considers as the deepest level. However, the scholar also mentions that cultural differences between organizations are identified at the practice’s level stating that practices are more tangible compared to values (Hofstede, 2013). According to the scholar, organizational culture is a “collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the members of one organization from others” (Hofstede, 2013).

The following organizational dimension models that are connected with organizational effectiveness are as follows: “means-oriented vs. goal-oriented”, “work discipline that is easy-going vs. strict one”, “open system vs. closed system”, “internally vs. the one that is externally driven”, ‘local vs. professional”, and “employee-oriented vs. work-oriented”. He also adds regarding the importance of “degree of leadership style’s acceptance” and “degree of identification with organization” (Hofstede, 2013).

The first dimension “the means-oriented vs. goal-oriented” is associated with “cultural conflict” in the international law firm, which was observed. This dimension has a connection with the organizational effectiveness the most closely. A means-oriented is the way, in which work should be done, and it is mostly associated with the question “how”. On the other hand, the opposite culture is related to those employees, who “are primarily out to achieve specific internal results or goals” in spite of the involvement of possible risks, and the question “what” is associated with this dimension (Hofstede, 2013).

The firm has its headquarters office in London and the branches in Moscow, Kyiv, and Kazakhstan. In the means-oriented culture, the employees are perceived as those, who avoid risks by a limited job effort, which would be very different in the second case. The employees invited four partners to lead the company, and each of them had a different approach: half of then supported the means-oriented culture while the other two partners promoted a goal-oriented one. Each office in each country had different cultural orientation, and, as a result, the Kyiv office was closed after five years of its existence.

Hence, there is a significant difference between organizational culture and organizational climate. The change of the first one is possible and required when there is a need and understanding of the company’s personnel to progress. At the same time, employees have to be aware of possible difficulties and corresponding steps in order to change organizational climate for the company’s success. Thus, such examples as the one mentioned above are unlikely to occur if all the rules are strictly followed.

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