Assessing Organizational Culture

Topics: Organization, Organizational studies, Communication Pages: 5 (1717 words) Published: December 3, 2013
Assessing Organizational Culture

When thinking of culture, my mind tends to wander toward far off places only seen on television or on the internet. Culture represents an exotic and sometimes untouchable part of the world that each individual claims depending on their background, ethnicity, race, or family history. When applying culture to the workplace, however, the idea of culture applies, not only to individual persons, but to the way in which we react to one another, perceive one another, and communicate with one another. “The culture of an organization is embedded in and expressed by patterns and habits of communication.” (Cheney, Christensen, Zorn, Jr., Ganesh 2011) This paper will explain what it means to have culture within organizations as well as the presence of climate and socialization. Organizations adopt habits that work well with its requirements as an organization as well as those who have built the culture of the organization. For example, if the long-standing CEO has created a casual and relaxed atmosphere, others within the organization will adopt the same habits in order to fit the model the CEO is building. We deal with the meanings of things within our cultural system. Staying within a culture creates a certain amount of stability and predictability. Culture in the workplace can be explained easily by the differences in our co-workers and how to adapt to these differences. “Differences may originate in family background religion, age, education, occupation, wealth, status, lifestyle, interests, etc.” (Cheney, Christensen, Zorn, Jr., Ganesh 2011) I will focus on the culture of age for a moment. Recently, I started a new position with a new organization. This position offered everything I was looking for; better pay, excellent benefits, proper use of my skills, and opportunity for advancement. Shortly after orientation, I began meeting those I would be working with. I noticed very quickly that all of my co-workers are from an older generation and I am the minority. In some cases it is fun to have conversations with them regarding our age differences and for them to jokingly say, “What year were you born? I graduated high school that year, my word you are young!”, but this can also mean they do not take me as seriously as a professional.

Although difficult, the culture of an organization can be changed or reshaped with time and effort. “The introduction of new technologies or a new office layout for example, can reshape organizational values and, over time, be incorporated into new habits and assumptions.” (Cheney, Christensen, Zorn, Jr., Ganesh) The organization I work for is moving office buildings the second week of December this year. We will have all new equipment, desks, meeting areas, and the technology will be top-of-the –line. The location itself is in a completely different area of Oklahoma City, so the surroundings alone will be different. We will be located within a very hectic and populated part of the city which will be different from our isolated current location. Think about how our culture will change just with having one small addition such as a kitchen or gym. Both of these areas are additional places to take a moment to relax, converse with one another, and begin our days as a unified team instead of the current surroundings that includes one bathroom and each person retreating to their cubicles and coffee at the beginning of the day. The most important and most visible culture within an organization, however, is the culture of leadership. Theorists have discussed different styles of leadership for many years, but the easiest theories to understand and describe is Theory X and Theory Y. Organizations with the same type of work, the same budget, similar locations, and similar goals, can be complete opposites depending on the direction leadership has taken. Theory X organizations include the atmosphere where “work is inherently distasteful to most...

References: Adler, R. B., & Elmhorst, J. M. (2010). Communication, Culture, and Work. Communicating at work: principles and practices for business and the professions (10th ed., pp. 59-60). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Cheney, G., (2011). Culture, Subcultures, and Organizational Socialization. Organizational communication in an age of globalization: issues, reflections, practices (2nd ed., pp. 75-76, 94-97). Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press.
Christensen, L. T. (2011). Culture, Subcultures, and Organizational Socialization. Organizational communication in an age of globalization: issues, reflections, practices (2nd ed., pp. 75-76, 94-97). Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press.
Zorn, Jr., T. E. (2011). Culture, Subcultures, and Organizational Socialization. Organizational communication in an age of globalization: issues, reflections, practices (2nd ed., pp. 75-76, 94-97). Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press.
Ganesh, S. (2011). Culture, Subcultures, and Organizational Socialization. Organizational communication in an age of globalization: issues, reflections, practices (2nd ed., pp. 75-76, 94-97). Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press.
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