What Is The Nature And Substan Essay

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What Is The Nature And Substan Essay, Research Paper What is the nature and substance of organisational culture? To what extent can it be changed? Culture, “the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and generate social behaviour” (Spradley, 1979, p. 5), provides people with a way of seeing the world. It categorizes, encodes, and otherwise defines the world in which they live. Whenever people learn a culture, they are to some extent imprisoned without knowing it. Anthropologists talk of this as being “culture bound”–i.e., living inside a particular reality. References to culture have long abounded in professional literature. However, it is only fairly recently that the literature shows references to culture as a lens through which to interpret

and understand organizations, their customers, and the working relationships therein (Lee & Clack, 1966; Shaughnessy, 1988). The “cultural analysis” of organizations, therefore, is the use of organizational culture as a lens through which to examine what is going on in an organization. Management theory in the 1980s underwent a sea of change in its realization that an understanding of an organization’s culture(s) could be a major step on the road to changing or controlling the direction of that organization. There are both positive and negative sides to how an understanding of culture can be used within an organization. For instance, Edgar Schein (1992) considers the process of creating culture and management to be the essence of leadership, while Gideon Kunda (1992)

describes a culture which embodies both the implicit and explicit rules and behaviour of a particular group of people and the conscious efforts of management to “engineer” the culture to its own goals. There is a fundamental distinction between those who think of culture as a metaphor (Morgan, 1986) and those who see culture as an objective entity. (Gold 1982) Metaphors allow us to understand organisations in terms of other complex entities such as the machine and the organism. By observing the similarities, scholars attempt to explain the essence of human organisations. The dangers of such an approach is distinguishing when the metaphor is no longer valid. That is why most commentators have chosen to think of culture as an objective entity. This view have ranged from viewing

the organisation literally as a culture with all features of an organisations including its systems, policies procedures and processes as elements of its cultural life (Paconowsky & O Donnell-Trujillo 1982) to suggesting that culture is best thought of as a set of psychological predispositions, called basic assumptions , that members of an organisation possess that leads them to think and act in a certain way.(Schein 1985). The former view presents problems in using the concept to explain other aspects of organisational activity. Indeed if everything is culture, this view becomes indistinguishable from the view that culture is a metaphor. This leaves us with Schein s view of culture as an essentially cognitive phenomena that resides in the psychology of organisational

participants, with the acknowledgement that patterns of behaviour are equally important (Eldridge & Crombie 1974) The contents of an organisational culture has several levels. At the basic and superficial level, it takes the form of artefacts like stories, jokes metaphors and symbols. Examples of artefacts would be Material objects like mission statements, corporate logos , Physical layout of the office space etc. At a deeper level, culture takes the form of values beliefs and attitudes. Values determine what people ought to do while beliefs are what people think is or is not true. In practice, beliefs and values are often hard to distinguish, because beliefs frequently involve values. Moreover, there is considerable merit to viewing values as a particular sort of belief.