Culture is present in every organization, and is necessary to succeed in this world. One cannot successfully implement culture into an organization without the proper structure. The leadership of an organization is ultimately responsible for creating the structure. The future of the organization is critical to the structure; if the organization does not have set goals for the future, there is nothing to accomplish or overcome. Rules, policies and procedures also need to be established to set boundaries in an organization. Rules, policies and procedures are set to hold employees accountable and help shape the organizations culture. A positive culture in an organization affects employees in a positive way. A positive organizational culture can result in high morale, less turnover, retention of high talent, employee openness, and higher returns on investments. Human Resources (HR) is an important keystone to an organization. This group is responsible for hiring employees and has a direct impact on the culture of the organization. By exploring organizations like Google, Zappos, Rackspace, one can observe that culture can be similar throughout various organizations. These companies are unconventional and contradict traditional organizations. The employees exercise liberties that some view as unproductive, yet their culture is thriving. Apple, on the other hand, has a more strict culture and has similar results.
The Structure of Culture
Leadership develops an organization’s structure, which in turn defines culture. As the heart of an organization, a leader is responsible for envisioning the future of an organization along with its foundation, determining and developing its core values, and combating everyday challenges posed to any organization.
Leadership must envision an organization’s future; define a clear strategic vision, and select a mission. One key role in building culture is envisioning a future for the organization, which entails establishing medium to long-term goals (Thornbury, 2003). These goals are pivotal aspects of ensuring an organization has direction and understands what it needs in order to execute meeting expectations. Next, leaders must develop a strategic vision for the organization; the strategic vision and medium to long-term goals must align with the long-term direction of the company. The strategic vision must state where the organization is going, determine how it can evolve in the future, and clarify its long-term direction and strategic intent (Snell and Bohlander, 2010). To envision the organization’s future effectively, leaders must develop and maintain a distinct company atmosphere. The organization’s mission, a fundamental building block, is critical, because it provides leadership with a reason for the company’s existence and an outline of its goals. This should state an organization’s basic purpose and scope of operations (Snell and Bohlander 2010). Only once leaders accomplish these tasks can an organization develop its culture.
According to Edgar Schein’s culture model, an organization’s leaders must instill the appropriate organizational framework and align core and espoused values, behaviors, and artifacts to implement successful culture (See Figure 1).
In his framework, Schein defines core values as, “the strong and enduring beliefs and principles that the company uses as a foundation for its decisions” (Schein, 1993). Core values are crucial to building culture within an organization and all members of an organization must accept these values. In order for core values to flow through an organization, senior level management must not only accept these values but also base their every decision involving the organization upon these very values. As Jan Thornbury stated, core values are, “second nature – acted upon without even being thought about”. When setting core values within an organization, I believe...
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