An organization culture can be defined as a set of shared beliefs, values, behaviors and symbols present in any given organization that essentially distinguish it from another organization. It can also be defined as the set of shared values and norms that are a characteristic of any organization. These elements contribute to the unique psychological and social environment of the organization.
There are several characteristic of an organization’s culture. The main ones are
- Risk Taking and Innovation
- Outcome orientation
- Attention to detail
- People Orientation
- Team orientation
Observable artifacts are hugely important to an organization because they are the essential tangible items that enable employee to be fully integrated and become part of the organization culture of any given company. These artifacts are the physical manifestations of the organization culture of the company. They not only show the employees but also customers, investors and shareholders what the organization or the company is all about. The major types of observable artifacts are language, stories, rituals, physical structures and ceremonies.
Organizations essentially use mentoring to enable employees to share the culture of the organization. Mentors share the knowledge of the organization that they posses or those they have acquired from many years of experience to their mentees. This knowledge actually depicts the various characteristics of the organization including its culture, structure and leadership. The mentee acquires this knowledge and from this, he or she is able to be incorporated into the current organization culture. The mentor in this case is a role model to the employee and his behavior exemplifies the culture of the organization and from him, the mentee can act in a similar manner in a way that it concordant to the organization’s culture.
The three essential competencies to develop a global mindset include intellectual capital, social capital and psychological capital. Intellectual capital encompasses various skills such as adaptability, flexibility, listening and collaboration. The social capital is mirrored by global mindset characteristics that include skills such as self-confidence, generosity, humility and cultural competence. Finally, psychological capital or competence is actually composed of a positive psychological profile that includes elements such as optimism, hope, resilience, openness, respect for other cultures and sensitivity.
Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory gives a description of the society’s culture effects on its member’s values and how such values are related to behavior. His theory proposes that there are four dimensions through which cultural values can be analyzed. These four dimensions are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism vs. collectivism and finally masculinity vs. feminity.
Power distance- this gives a reflection of the degree to which a certain culture believes the way organizational and institutional power should be distributed ( that is equally or unequally) and how the power holder’s decisions should be viewed ( accepted or challenged)
Uncertainty avoidance- This refers to the degree or level to which a given culture feels threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations and how this culture therefore tries to avoid these uncertainties formulating more structure.
Individualism vs. Collectivism- This refers to the extent to which the given culture is reliant on or has more allegiance to the group or the self. In individualism, the culture is more oriented towards the self while in collectivism; the culture is more oriented towards the group.
Masculinity vs. Feminity- This dimension indicates the extent or degree to which a culture values behaviors such as achievement, assertiveness, wealth acquisition, social support, caring for others and life quality. Masculine cultures place more emphasis on ambition and achievement and there are distinct roles for women and men in the culture. The feminine culture prefers equality for both males and females and les prescriptive gender roles.
Kinicki, A., & Kreitner, R. (2003). Organizational behavior: Key concepts, skills & best practices. Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Schein, E. H. (2000). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.