Understanding organisational culture

Topics: Management, Organization, Organizational culture Pages: 5 (1336 words) Published: October 26, 2013
Assignment 1 – Understanding your Organisation
Due Date: 21 October 2009

WHD Organisational Chart - Figure 1

According to Mclean and Marshall (1993) organisational culture is defined as the collection of traditions, values, policies, beliefs and attitudes that contribute a pervasive context for everything we do and think in an organisation. (ie) this means that these factors actually determine how we think as well as act and react not only to people from within the same organisation but also to anybody on the outside who has some sort of interaction with the organisation. As can be seen with the part-structure in Figure 1, this organisation (WHD) has various levels of management. There is quite a bit of interaction between departments resulting in them being interdependent. This interdependence gives rise to how the branch performs in achieving its overall objectives. Cartwright (Mullins L J: Management and Organisational Behaviour: 7th edition, 2005, page 891) sees culture as ‘’a system of management authority.’’ He states that when accepted by employees, cultural values increase the power and authority of management in 3 ways. Employees: Identify themselves with their organisation and accept its rules when ‘it is the right thing to do’ Internalise the organisations’ values when they believe they are right; and Are motivated to achieve the organisations objectives

As an organisation, the type of culture that exists within WHD is very much a Power Culture (Handy/Harrison, 1993). This is so because the CEO has pretty much full control over the organisation. What is evident though is the free thinking nature of the organisation. As there may be different managerial levels that are tasked with the job of ensuring organisational targets are met, visions are being strived for and missions are upheld, there is also a sense of trust throughout the organisation that the job will be done and that goals and targets will be achieved. This trust enables a family feel to exist and because of this trust, there seems to be few policies and procedures in place. Decisions are, however, made by the single dominant personality, namely the CEO, with his chain of command implementing these decisions. This type of culture is depicted by Handy and Harrison’s (1993) model of Characterising Culture in which they characterise 4 different types of organisational culture, namely Power Culture, Role Culture, Task Culture and Person Culture. However, Pettinger states ‘’the main problem the power culture must face is that of size because as it grows and diversifies, it becomes difficult for the person at the centre to sustain continued high levels of influence.’’ (Pettinger R: Introduction to Management, 4th edition 2007, page 353) Diagram depicting Power Culture... (Handy/Harrison 1993)

Characteristics of Power Culture:
There is Centralised Control
It has a Single Dominant Personality
It has a large Family Feel
There are Limited Policies and Procedures
In saying this, however, the specific branch of WHD I worked in was very focussed on the role of the individual. According to Handy/Harrison’s (1993) model of Characterising Culture, this pertains to Role Culture. Handy/Harrison (1993) describes the characteristics of Role Culture as Classic Bureaucracy, Formalised Communication, Management being more important than Leadership and the Role depending on the Expertise of the Holder. When one looks at the branch, there are very formal channels of communication (ie) all communication goes through line management and permission to do something is solely at the discretion of the line manager. All work was carried out by special departments dividing work into specific categories in a very bureaucratic manner. Rules and regulations were applied rigidly in the branch thus making it culturally rigid. The focus at branch level was on management and not leadership and getting things done was seen...

References: Mclean and Marshall 1993 – Class Handout
Handy/Harrison 1993 – Class Handout
Henry et al 1993 – Class Handout
Keith Mattacks – Class Handout
Mullins L J: Management and Organisational Behaviour, 7th edition 2005, Pearson Education Limited
Pettinger R: Introduction to Management, 4th edition 2007, Palgrave Macmillan
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