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Organizational Culture
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How can we define culture?

  1. Concepts, which are used in defining culture, are often applicable to a whole community or society. They are widespread among anthropologists and sociologist.
  2. Some of these concepts are: the spiritual heritage, the stock of myths and stories, rituals and customs, laws and institutions. They shape many of the values and attitudes in vigour in a society as for instance values and attitudes pertaining to authority, earnings, artefacts and knowledge.

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What does Schein (1985) says about culture?

  1. Schein uses the concept "basic assumption" to refer to things that are taken for granted within a certain community or a culture. The concepts became gradually applicable to formal organizations.

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How can we understand Harrison and Handy typology where organizations fall into four types according to their culture?

  1. (a) Power culture: as in political organisations, family owned enterprises or the mafia
  2. (b) Role culture as in Civil Service and in large bureaucratic organizations where rules are predominant.
  3. (c) Task culture as in publishing and consultancy organizations where project work is predominant.
  4. (d) People or support culture as in voluntary and religious organizations where the human potential and well-being is paramount (Handy (1967), Harrison (1972), Schein (1985)

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In which way does culture on a societal level differs from that on an organizational level?

  1. Culture on a societal level is composed of values and meanings internalised from childhood on. They economise our behaviour and furnish us with symbols that ease communication whenever we are together with people from the same culture.
  2. Organizational culture, on the other hand, belongs to our working places and our earnings. Values and meanings here are created in formal setting. They are to some degree related to the overall societal culture. However, they are internal practices within a specific type of organization having specific goals.

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Assessing organizational culture - how to do it?

  1. There are many instruments for assessing organizational culture. It is, however, a good practice to discuss organizational culture with reference to concepts alive inside the organization in question.