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Organizational communication (chapter 5)

  1. 1. Organizational Culture (Chapter 5) Dr. Lora Helvie-Mason, COMS 404
  2. 2. Before you read… 0 Explore a few writings about the organization you are following this semester. 0 What can you determine about the “culture” of that organization? 0 Why would scholars need more than just the classical and humanistic theories?
  3. 3. Limited views Scholars wanted more… How could you explain… 0 Classical and Humanistic theories were too limiting 0 Unspoken norms, values, and beliefs of organizational members seemed to guide their daily behavior 0 Earlier theories could NOT explain all forms of behavior 0 Disregarded differences among organizations
  4. 4. Culture! 0 Anthropologists study groups of people to understand their culture—this leads to a better understanding of people AND their behavior 0 Culture provides a lens through which members of a group interpret, interact with, and make sense of reality Think about it: You belong to a variety of cultures. These cultural groupings provide you with meanings for routine events. In your daily life, the values you are enculturated with help you make sense of what is going on around you.
  5. 5. Organizational Culture 0 Apply this understanding of culture to an organization (a non- profit, a religious group, a business, a school, etc.) 0 Researchers in Organizational Culture believe an ORGANIZATION has the same characteristics as the societies they studied – therefore organizations can be understood best through a cultural lens. Do you see the value in this? Instead of focusing on a misunderstanding, we can develop insight into organizational behavior and WHY things happen.
  6. 6. 0 Think about “tradition” – we can value and respect our traditional heritage 0 “Traditions” may have been the way an organization built its success in the past 0 But, we can become entrenched in our traditions 0 Change becomes difficult 0 Adaptation begins to be problematic 0 We struggle to fit the marketplace Misunderstandings Organizational culture can explain many parts of our daily interactions.
  7. 7. Subcultures 0 Within the primary culture, there may be many subcultures. An organization, like an individual, can be part of a variety of subcultures. 0 As members of different subcultures interact, they may encounter misunderstandings 0 These misunderstandings are based on: 0 different values, practices, and meanings for events and even language Think about it: List your subcultures—as an individual which subcultures do you belong to? Have these changed over the years?
  8. 8. The merger 0 As we explore misunderstandings, we have to consider the merger 0 Mergers have ALWAYS been part of organizations 0 Mergers are more common in our global community 0 When organizations merger, misunderstandings caused by the clash of cultures will happen 0 This clash is intensified if the organizations are based in different societal cultures
  9. 9. What is Organizational Culture? (1st trait) 0 We’ve learned some traits and terms, but what exactly is organizational culture? 01. Org. Culture involves something members SHARE 0Members share a way of understanding/interpreting phenomena 0Org. Culture provides members with frameworks for understanding and interpreting events 0 Members may vary in their level of enculturation and socialization
  10. 10. What is Organizational Culture? (2nd trait) 0 Organizational culture is intangible 0 While often confused with tangible objects or observable activities, it is important to note culture is intangible. 0 For example, a dress code of an organization is an ELEMENT of its culture, it REFLECTS the culture, but it is not THE culture. What tangible elements might be a part of organizational culture?
  11. 11. What is Organizational Culture? (3rd trait) 0 Organizational culture affects human behavior 0 The concept of organizational culture is not just another way we attempt to run an organization. The culture is a construction of human interaction and is affected by the behavior of all members of the organization. 0 The organizational culture provides frameworks for the way members of the organization interpret organizational events 0 If researchers are to understand HOW and WHY organizational members behave as they do, they must understand the organizational culture that guides and constrains them.
  12. 12. Conrad (1990) 0 Organizational cultures are COMMUNICATIVE creations 0 Stories 0 Memos 0 Meetings 0 Members communicate based on the values of the culture 0 Organizational cultures are HISTORICAL 0 Our organizations are rooted in the history of events and communicative actions 0 Tradition
  13. 13. Organizational Culture defined 0 “Organizational culture is a communicatively constructed, historically based system of assumptions, values, and interpretive frameworks that guide and constrain organizational members as they perform their organizational roles and confront the challenges of their environment.” 0Modaff & DeWine
  14. 14. Categories of Organizational Culture VALUES SYMBOLIC ELEMENTS INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS CONTEXT ELEMENTS ROLE ELEMENTS Driskill & Brenton (2005)
  15. 15. Values 0 The common beliefs and priorities of a group of people. Think about it: What values are held in the organization you selected to follow this semester?
  16. 16. Symbolic elements 0 Physical objects or icons that represent the organization 0 Logos, mascots, buildings, websites 0 Stories 0 Language/nonverbal behavior 0Certain vocabulary (the jargon of that organization, handshakes, signs) 0 Metaphors Consider Greek life on campus as an organization. These groups generally have their own hand signals, images, historical traditions, and even vocabulary that does not make snese to those outside of the organization.
  17. 17. Role elements 0 Heroes – individuals or groups who are respected by a large number of individuals within the organization because they embody group values. 0 Outlaws – individuals who seem to be paradoxes in the organization, who defy organizational practices or values yet remain as valued members of the organization because they exemplify countercultural values that the organization wishes to cultivate
  18. 18. Interactive Elements 0 Rituals 0 Informal cultural rules 0 Organizational style Think about it! How do you know what behavior is preferred, allowed, or against the rules?
  19. 19. Context Elements 0 The context elements show how organizational cultures are shaped by aspects that may be OUTSIDE the direct control of the current organizational members. 0 Examples might include history, location/place, or external events.
  20. 20. Cultural Perspectives Culture as variable Culture as root metaphor 0 Organizational culture is something the organization HAS 0 It is a by-product of organizational activities 0 Culture is changeable 0 Change happens at management level 0 Organizational culture is something the organization IS 0 It is the process of sense-making created and sustained through communication and interaction 0 Not easy to change, no quick fixes
  21. 21. Root metaphor - Below the surface MANY things happen (values, beliefs, attitudes, sense- making, assumptions) - The items above reside in the individuals of the organization - Artifacts/symbols are surface-level descriptions of the complex culture - Culture is created and re-created over time by MEMBERS, not MANAGERS - There are many subcultures and countercultures
  22. 22. Sub- &Counter-Cultures Think about it! Which subcultures and countercultures have you experienced? 0 Subcultures diverge only slightly from the organizational culture 0 Countercultures are in opposition of the accepted culture
  23. 23. Schein’s Model of Organizational Culture
  24. 24. Organizational Culture Go back and consider your selected organization for this semester. How does this idea of organizational culture differ from our previous theories? What role does culture play in that organization?

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