The Cultures

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					     The Cultures
The word 'cultures' conveys
  the feeling of a pervasive
 way of life, or set of norms.
             The Cultures
There is a growing literature on the culture of
          organisations, for it has come to be
                                   realised that
  the customs and traditions of a place are a
       powerful way of influencing behaviour
          The Cultures
    In organizations there are deep-set
  beliefs about the way work should be
organised, the way authority should be
   exercised, people rewarded, people
    We could ask ...
   What are the degrees of formalization required?
   How much planning and how far ahead?
   What combination of obedience and initiative is
    looked for in subordinates?
   Do work hours matter, or dress, or personal
   What about expense accounts, and secretaries, stock
    options and incentives?
   Do committees control, or individuals?
   Are there rules and procedures or only results?
     The Cultures
   Experience suggests that a strong
 culture makes a strong organisation,
but does it matter what sort of culture
                          is involved?
                  The Cultures
                                Yes, it does.
          Not all cultures suit all purposes or people.
   Cultures are founded and built over the years by
            the dominant groups in an organisation.

What suits them and the organisation at one stage is
        not necessarily appropriate for ever - strong
                         though that culture may be.
     Two cultures
  Schein describes two very
     different organizations
'Coming to a New Awareness of Organizational
    Culture' Sloan Management Review, 1984.
Organization A operates on
the assumption that
   ideas come ultimately from individuals
   people are responsible, motivated and
    capable of governing themselves
   nevertheless, in practice, truth can only be
    arrived at by fighting things out in groups
   such fighting is possible because members
    of the organization see themselves as a
    family who will take care of each other. It
    is therefore safe to fight and be
    Organization B operates on
    the assumption that
   truth comes ultimately from older, wider
    experienced and higher - status members
   people are capable of loyalty and discipline
    in carrying out directions
   relationships are basically lineal and
   each person has a niche in the organization
    that cannot be invaded
   the organization is responsible for taking
    care of its members.
       In Organization A
there are open office landscapes, few
   closed doors, people milling about,
 intense conversations and argument
       and a general air of informality.
    In Organization B
                 There is a hush in the air.

 Everyone is in an office with closed doors,
nothing is done except by appointment and
                       prearranged agenda.

When people of different ranks are present
there is real deference and obedience. An
     air of formality permeates everything.
    The Cultures
Neither is wrong - they are just
         The Cultures
It must be emphasized that each can be a
              good and effective culture.

    But people are often culturally blinked
thinking that ways that worked well in one
         place are bound to be successful

              This is not the case.
Harrison’s cultures
     power,
     role,
     task, and
     person.
The Power culture
       The power culture
    Its structure is best pictured as a web.
If this culture had a patron god it would be
    Zeus, the all-powerful head of the Gods
      of Ancient Greece who ruled by whim
   and impulse, by thunderbolt and shower
               of gold from Mount Olympus.
         The power culture
   Depends on a central power source.
   Depends on trust and empathy for its effectiveness
    and on telepathy and personal conversation for
   Ability to move quickly and can react well to threat or
   Judging by results and tolerant of means.
   Web can break if it seeks to link too many activities;
    the only way the web can grow and remain a web is
    by spawning other organisations, other spiders.
             The power culture
There are few rules and procedures, little bureaucracy.

 Control is exercised by the centre largely through the
    selection of key individuals, by occasional forays
          from the centre or summonses to the centre.

  It is political organisation in that decisions are taken
 very largely on the outcome of a balance of influence
  rather than on procedural or purely logical grounds.
     The power culture
A Power culture is frequently found in small
 entrepreneurial organisations, traditionally
           in the robber-baron companies of
  nineteenth-century America, occasionally
       in today's trade unions, and in some
  property, trading and finance companies.
The Role culture
           The role culture
      The role culture is often stereotyped as bureaucracy.

 The structure to a role culture can be pictures as a Greek

 Its patron god is Apollo, the god of reason; for this culture
                            works by logic and by rationality.

       These pillars are strong in their own right; the finance
    department, the purchasing department, the production
facility may be internationally renowned for their efficiency.
    The role culture
      The work of the pillars, and the
      interaction between the pillars, is
                 controlled by
   Procedures for roles, e.g. job description,
    authority definitions;
   Procedures for communications, e.g. required
    sets of copies of memoranda;
   Rules for settlement of disputes, e.g. appeal to
    the lowest crossover points.
              The role culture
    They are coordinated at the top by a narrow ban of
                   senior management, the pediment.

    The role, or job description, is often more important
                            than the individual who fills it.
Individuals are selected for satisfactory performance of
       a role, and the role is usually so described that a
                          range of individuals could fill it.

   Position power is the major power source, personal
    power is frowned upon and expert power tolerated
                               only in its proper place.
           The role culture
The organisation will succeed as long as it can operate
                               in a stable environment.

    When next year is like this year, so that this year's
 tested rules will work next year, then the outcome will
                                                be good.

Where the organisation can control its environment, by
 monopoly or oligopoly, where the market is stable or
  predictable or controllable, or where the product-life
         is a long one, then rules and procedures and
                  programmed work will be successful.
The Task culture
         The task culture
The task culture is job or project orientated. Its
          accompanying structure can be best
                           represented as a net.

Some of the strands of the net are thicker and
                    stronger than the others.

   Much of the power and influence lies at the
        The task culture
  Influence is based more on expert power than on
position or personal power, although these sources
                                  have their effect.

   Influence is more widely dispersed than in other
 cultures, and each individual tends to think he has
                                           more of it.

 It is a team culture, where the outcome, the result,
       the product of the team's work tends to be the
    common enemy obliterating individual objectives
               and most status and style differences.
The task culture
   The 'matrix organisation' is one structural form.
   Seeks to bring together the appropriate
    resources, the right people and to let them get
    on with it.
   Where the market is competitive, where the
    product life is short, where speed or reaction is
   The product groups of marketing departments,
    management consultancies, the merger,
    takeover and new venture sections of merchant
    banks, the account groups of advertising
  The task culture
  The task culture is the one preferred, as a
        personal choice to work in, by most
 managers, certainly at the middle and junior

It is the culture which most of the behavioural
   theories of organisations point towards with
         its emphasis on groups, expert power,
    rewards for results, merging individual and
                              group objectives.
     The task culture
 It is the culture most in tune with current
      ideologies of change and adaptation,
         individual freedom and low status

It is not, however, always the appropriate
             culture for the climate and the
The Person culture
        The person culture
          The fourth culture is an unusual one.
            It will not be found pervading many
   organisations, yet many individuals will cling
                            to some of its values.

 In this culture the individual is the central point.
If there is a structure or an organisation it exists
    only to serve and assist the individuals within
       The person culture
 Its structure is as minimal as possible, a cluster is the
       best word for it, or perhaps a galaxy of individual
Clearly, not many organisations can exist with this sort
of culture, since organisations tend to have objectives
 over and above the collective objectives of those who
                                        comprise them.
The psychological contract states that the organisation
   is subordinate to the individual and depends on the
                             individual for its existence.
The person culture
   Barristers' chambers, architects' partnerships, hippie
    communes, social groups, families, some small
    consultancy firms, often have 'person' orientation.

   Control mechanisms, or even management hierarchies,
    are impossible in these cultures except by mutual consent.

   Computer people in business organisation, consultants in
    hospitals, architects in city government - often feel little
    allegiance to the organisation but regard it rather as a
    place to do their thing with some accruing benefit to the
    main employer.
      The person culture
Individuals with this orientation
       are not easy to manage.
There is little influence that can
   be brought to bear on them.

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