The paper discusses the impact of organizational culture on the efficacy of an IT enterprise. It suggests that the organizational culture is a set of values and moral codes that are shared by all workers of the enterprise. The principles unite the employees of an organization and form teams of efficient workers that promote their company and assure its growth and sustainability. In order to reveal the set of values relevant to the selected IT business, the author performed an interview with its five employees. As a result, the interview exposed positive and negative aspects present in the organizational culture of the company. Despite the workers characterize their company positively; they are not aware of the fact that the company’s culture restrains innovations among its workers because of organizational flaws. In order to mitigate the exposed problem, it is advised for the managing personnel of the company to practice transformational leadership approaches that would allow changing the analyzed organizational culture. As a consequence, by promoting such values as transparency, perspective orientation, and individual adherence, the company would enhance its innovative aspect and morph into a more flexible, competitive, and sustainable player in the IT market.
The modern world is filled with different businesses as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, which employ different people. The individuals perform their daily duties due to motivation for various reasons. However, not all of them share the values of their hiring organizations. As a result, some organizations struggle with the problems associated with the regulation of individual and collective values that can be characterized as organizational culture. Unfortunately, not all companies give attention to the fact that organizational culture can critically affect the productivity and operational efficacy of an enterprise. At the same time, it is evident that companies with stronger organizational culture tend to outperform their competitors because the workers’ activity is synchronized in terms of motivation, values, and goals. This paper investigates the influence of the organizational culture on different issues of business on the basis of the primary analysis of its employees. It evaluates the aspects of their culture dimensions as well as the peculiarities of the company’s organizational culture and reveals the areas that require a change to benefit the selected organization. As a result, it proposes a list of improvements that allow mitigating the exposed problems and enhancing the organizational culture of a business. The paper is beneficial for all individuals that investigate the fields of business leadership and human resources management as it provides an efficient toolkit for improving the organizational culture aspects of any organization.
Defining an Organizational Culture
It is critical to explain the phenomenon of organizational culture in order to avoid misunderstanding and misconception of the discussed term in the context of a business enterprise. Scholars state that all members of any organization participate in its corporate culture by means of sharing the values and acquiring individual moral responsibility for matching the matrix of the firm’s culture (Dempsey, 2015). Consequently, organizational culture is a set of cultural and moral norms and values relevant within a social framework of a particular business environment disregarding the cultural identity of its representatives. The peculiarity of the social framework is that it merges with the systemic aspects of a business creating a unified system. As a result, not all managers of enterprises realize that such symbiosis requires different leadership approaches in order to enhance its operational aspects. For instance, Senge (2013) claims an inability to differentiate the importance of human relationship factors from purely systemic characteristics of a business may lead to irrelevant leadership approaches. The problem may be the cause or the result of another issue, which stems from the fact that not all members of an organization participate in its corporate culture (Dempsey, 2015). Therefore, it is critical to study the aspects of the organizational culture in order to assure the sustainable growth of a business and avoid possible restraining factors of a social nature. The enhancement of organizational culture creates a unique and strong nature. Thus, it offers the benefits of establishing the coordination of its employees, additional motivation, and satisfaction (Lukić, Džamić, Knežević, Alcaković & Bošković, 2014). The proposed research focuses on the assessment of the organizational culture of a digital hardware production company by means of interviewing its personnel.
Methodology of Organizational Culture Assessment
Selecting valid and relevant methodology is an important step for any research because it allows obtaining objective data for future analysis. The current research is based on the Dimensions of Culture Questionnaire created on the basis of Hofstede’s theory of cultural dimensions. The scholar suggests that the representatives of each country can be divided on the basis of five work-related cultural values including power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism-collectivism, masculinity-femininity, and Confucian work dynamics (Wu, 2006). The selected methodology included assessment interview using the Dimensions of Culture Questionnaire proposed to five individuals, who share a similar workspace in a selected organization. Among the selected stakeholders, two were a man and a woman aged 34 of African-American ethnicity, one man of 37 of Asian-American ethnicity, and a Caucasian man and a woman aged 29 and 34 correspondingly. The assessed personnel plays different roles in a selected organization ranging from customer call support to technical engineers and managers. The evaluated dimensions included power distance, uncertainty avoidance, institutional and in-group collectivism, gender perceptions, assertiveness, time orientation, performance orientation, and people-orientation (“Dimensions of Culture Questionnaire”, n. d.). Additionally, the theoretical foundation proposed by the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) report was used to contribute to the interpretation of the obtained results. The revealed characteristics included positive and negative issues, which affect the strategy selected for the improvement of the organizational culture of the analyzed company.
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The Identified Characteristics of a Local Organizational Culture
Each organizational culture has different desirable and non-desirable factors that either boost or restrain a particular business activity. The awareness of the dimensions is a critical fact in understanding the organization. For example, such concept as chaos may be not acceptable for an airway company that highly values safety, but recognized as a positive value for a software development business, which supports creativity (Peterson, 2010). The performed evaluation of the interviewees’ responses allowed gathering information about the aspects that may be interpreted as positively or negatively affecting the organizational culture of the selected organization. In general, the revealed facts allow stating that the assessed company has a predominantly positive organizational culture, yet not without some flaws.
The assessed personnel highlighted the fact that the overall working atmosphere in the company is positive. The statement was supported by different claims, which attribute to positive aspects of the organizational culture. Among them are clear objectives, orientation on the result, great opportunities and perspectives for self-development, concerns about ethics and ecology, shared respect among co-workers, and aspiration for innovations. Orientation on the result is promoted in the company by means of scheduled operations and objectives set on a monthly and quarterly basis. Similarly, the management of the company performs a quarterly analysis of the results of different departments, which gives the workers an opportunity for evaluating their individual and team performance. It benefits the organization because the employees see the efficiency or inefficiency of their work in real-life business situations comparing the performance of the departments and the company and its competitors overall. Scholars agree that the aspect is positive because it emphasizes the importance of getting the jobs done, creating a measurable output. Moreover, the atmosphere supports an organizations’ focus on innovations (Büschgens, Bausch & Balkin, 2013). Therefore, it is one of the most critical aspects of an IT industry, which is why the company gets a significant benefit from its presence. Literature analysis revealed evidence supporting the statement that technological manufacturing firms are different from others in terms of the presence of the moderating role of innovation culture (Castro, Delgado-Verde, Navas-López & Cruz-González, 2013). Thus, the organizational culture of the analyzed company stimulates the required learning and innovative response to challenges, competitive threats, or new opportunities (Uddin, Luva & Hossain, 2012). As a consequence, the enterprise has one of the core organizational competencies critical for a successful player of an IT hardware market.
Furthermore, the responses of the employees revealed that the company has a set of humanitarian values divided into internal and external ones. The internal aspects of the values are freedom for self-development and respect for co-workers. The environment encourages men’s and women’s aspirations equally, which adds to strategies associated with team-building. Their positive influence is the possibility for employees to grow as competent professionals disregarding their gender. As a consequence, the engineers of the company are aware of the latest technological advances and are supported with the necessary equipment. Also, its managers implement modern leadership approaches. At the same time, the employees of the enterprise recognize that despite their business produces inanimate systems, they have to work with people in order to succeed. Therefore, the company introduces the concepts of cooperation and collaboration in order to create teamwork that would boost its operational efficiency and market competitiveness. However, it faces the struggle with adequate implementation and team-building, which is discussed further as a negative aspect.
Another positive external humanitarian issue is a concern about ecology. The company works with different substances that may be dangerous for its workers or the environment. Thus, one may compare the form of activity with oil refinery businesses, which have to be ecologically sustainable in order to attract important stakeholders (Ihlen & Roper, 2011). Similarly, the employees feel as a part of the entity that values human health and environment sustainability, which constitutes a positive moral effect in the framework of the evaluated organizational culture.
Despite the fact that the analyzed company has predominantly positive organizational culture, it also has features that can be classified as negative. Among them are regulative aspects inappropriate for IT industry, ethical concerns, political structure, and conservative cultural presumptions of some of its managers. Thus, weakness in regulation can relate to avoidance of some managers to take responsibility for their decisions. Such behavior is a cultural trait of the representatives of a Chinese culture, which are concerned about the opinions of the community and are afraid of losing their “face” or reputation (Fan, 2007). Thus, an Asian-American employee, who has the position of a manager, is reluctant to fire an employee that is characterized as problematic. For instance, one of them had several arguments with colleagues that negatively affected the managerial attempt of creating teamwork. The manager was faced with a decision-making problem because the aforementioned worker was a professional in the field. Similar issues are present when the manager rejects the perspective of firing unskilled employees. As a result, he receives a critique from colleagues because they want him to hire more skilled and motivated workers instead of hoping that the problematic ones would learn and progress on their positions.
Furthermore, another negative aspect of the analyzed organizational culture is an ethical concern because some of the workers were noticed to copy the features of the competitors’ production line. The instructions of the company’s authorities to maintain the intellectual rights policy were ignored by some of the workers, which aggravated the problem. Therefore, the analyzed organizational culture has a weak set of ethical values, which lead to conflicts between employees at different levels. Similarly, the ethical issue is intensified by the presence of political relationships that lead to the fact that some of the workers feel that they are more empowered than their colleagues at other positions. Scholars suggest that it prevents people from building an adequate team’s relationships (Peterson, 2010). For instance, despite the fact that employees support human values such as freedom of professional growth, the growth is limited by the initial position of the worker. As a result, the employees can only hope to become top-level engineers or hardware testers instead of having a perspective of taking managerial and top managerial positions in the case of the company’s growth.
Lastly, some of the enterprise’s operating and department managers are guided by outdated regulative traditions, which decrease the flexibility of a company. The reason is that some of the managers share the traditional features of the Chinese organizational culture such as the Confucian value system, which suggests that the owners of top positions govern and their lower counterparts obey (Chen, Eberly, Chiang, Farh & Cheng, 2011). As a result, there is an internal regulatory and systemic contradiction when the organizational culture supports innovations but has no resources for their adequate implementation in order to assure the company’s up-to-date transformation. The aspect is one of the most critical because the IT industry has a rapid speed of development, which is why companies that adapt to market changes quickly achieve profound sustainability and competitiveness.
The Areas that Require Change
Interpersonal Relationship and Institutional Collectivism
The first aspect of the analyzed organizational culture that requires change is the peculiarities of interpersonal relationship and the system collective institutional values. The reason for the statement is that the analyzed culture has political features, whereas experts state that healthy cultures are not political (Peterson, 2010). Thus, the created hierarchy damages people because some of higher ranked workers tend to neglect their lower-ranked counterparts. The major aim of the actualization of the value is the creation of a system that would meet the expectation of the analyzed enterprise as a collective system. However, the drawback of the approach is the individuals that are dissatisfied with the performance or behavior of their colleagues but are unable to transmit any changes because they lack institutional power.
Ethics, Humane Orientation and Transparency
The performed analysis demonstrated that the company has no stable code of ethical values. The reason for the statement is that some of the employees were concealing the incidents of violation of intellectual property laws. Consequently, the organizational framework of the business supports the aspirations of its workers but neglects the presence of external stakeholders such as competitors and partners. Moreover, the evidence that the employees conceal some facts from their authorities indicates that the company lacks transparency. It is another ethical problem that requires mitigation. The issue of transparency is critical for any business because it allows the workers to be honest with internal and external stakeholders. Moreover, transparency accompanies relationships between the employees and leads to organizational ability, benevolence, and integrity (Schnackenberg & Tomlinson, 2014). Therefore, the company faces the struggle with forming integrative and functional teams of workers. The major cause for it is that the obligation of being a team is imposed from the outside by the authorities. Instead, the management should motivate the employees towards engaging in trustworthy and transparent relationships.
Future Orientation and Morphing
Another factor that is important to consider in the analyzed organizational culture is the conflict between its future orientation and traditional conservative methods of structure and government that decrease its flexibility and morphing. On the one hand, the accent on innovations allows workers to operate with the latest technology. On the other hand, the drawback of organizational culture is that it does not support innovative strategies proposed by average and low-positioned workers. Despite the fact that the company sees innovation as the key to sustainability, its future orientation is focused more on accepting the status quo and solving the current problems. Therefore, as experts see it, the company struggles in a pair of the two opposing values that are flexibility versus control and internal versus external orientation (Büschgens, Bausch & Balkin, 2013). Therefore, despite the majority of the interviewed workers tend to characterize their organizational culture as positive, they fail to realize that some of its values are irrelevant to IT businesses and require change.
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The aim of the proposed improvements is to gradually modify the organizational culture of the assessed enterprise to match the requirements of the IT business. It is evident that the presented problem has a complex nature and two major causes. The first one is that the company with orientation on American and European IT markets and a diverse workforce shares the traditional Chinese organizational culture. The evidence is the presence of support of the Confucian value system that imposes strict control and adherence to authorities. As a result, the workers that represent the American society react to the initiative reducing the transparency of their work and passively opposing the organizational instructions of the authorities. In order to mitigate the problem, the managers, and the executive personnel have to transform their governing policy from imposing and regulating to motivating and inspiring. The implementation requires the authorities to introduce a set of values that encourage transparency and the understanding of the fact that each claim of the employees is important disregarding their positions. In its turn, the measure would boost the innovative potential of the company because the employees would be encouraged to share their ideas instead of taking useless efforts of sharing.
Furthermore, it is important for the company to shift the accent of its policy from internal to external orientation. The result of the interview revealed that the management of the enterprise gives specific attention to internal problems focusing on short-time perspectives. Instead, sustainable and innovative companies implement long-term projects and emphasize the importance of external aspects of the business (Boons, Montalvo, Quist & Wagner, 2013). One suggests that the shift in the analyzed organizational values should be delivered by means of transformational leadership. The reason for selecting the model of change is the approval of its efficacy in the corporate cultures of China that have a traditional accent on the issues of control, hierarchy, and group management (Shao, Feng & Liu, 2012). Moreover, the recent researches of transformational leadership approved its efficacy when applied in a setting of manufacturing companies, which is the exact domain of the analyzed business (Noruzy, Dalfard, Azhdari, Nazari-Shirkouhi & Rezazadeh, 2012),. Therefore, the suggested improvements for the analyzed organizational culture would allow changing it in a way that would make it more human-oriented, transparent, and innovative. As a result, the company would enhance its competitiveness and sustainability in the American and European markets.
Summarizing the presented facts, the paper concludes that organizational culture is among the most critical aspects of any enterprise because it allows creating an efficiently operated company on the basis of values recognized by its employees. At the same time, it is evident that each company may have its own organizational culture due to the difference in the requirements of various businesses. The organizational culture of the analyzed company should match the demands of the enterprises that are present in the IT market. Typically, the most successful IT players aspire for innovations and grant their sustainability on the basis of tight contact with their stakeholders. The performed evaluation of the organizational culture revealed that the analyzed business has a set of positive aspects of the organizational culture such as orientation on the result and opportunities for self-development. However, the analysis exposed the presence of the negative factors that restrain the success of the organization both in systemic and human relation aspects. They include overuse of control and authority power at the workplace, ethical concerns, lack of transparency, and conservative methods of personnel management. As a result, such areas as the interpersonal relationship, institutional aspects, ethics, humane, and future orientation should be changed in order to improve the workplace motivation for innovations. The performed analysis suggests that in order to achieve the goals, the managers of the enterprise should practice the strategies of transformational leadership for weakening the regulatory policies of the company. The approach would allow making the workplace more motivating and inspiring for the employees as well as assure the presence of transparency required for the approved changes. Similarly, it would shift the policy of the company for setting long-term goals and promoting innovative solutions. As a result, it is expected that the changes in the organizational culture would make the company more innovative, sustainable, and competitive, which are the features of a successful player in the IT industry.