Developing and Maintaining Organisational Culture


Dr. Saurabh Gupta

What makes organizational culture enduring is the socialization process of an organization? This process, which familiarizes a 'fresher' with the various characteristics of culture and forces him to adjust to it, continues throughout one's entire career in the organization.

Socialization process has 3 stages: pre-arrival, encounter and metamorphosis. Selection of only 'right type' of person who "fit" the eligibility requirement (which are laid down in the light of prevailing organization culture) is an attempt to maintain and perpetuate the existing organization culture even before the outsider has joined the organization. If a "wrong" person (whose individual characteristics do not match with the prevailing organization culture) gains an entry into the organization his encounter with the new forces begins. These forces try to change him according to organization culture. The person may decide either to surrender himself to these forces and get completely changed or to leave the organization if he finds the impact of these forces and changing the organization culture. This, of course, is not easy.

The various forces which a person has to encounter on his entry in to the organization and which subsequently bring about his metamorphosis are long standing unwritten rules, rituals, taboos, jargons and the prevailing work culture. Every organization has some long-standing unwritten rules of conduct, which its members meticulously follow. Rituals refer to ceremonies

Which organization performs on specific occasions? Taboos refer to the prohibitions imposed on certain forms of speech or acts, e.g., not calling superiors by their first names, not discussing each other's personal lives in public, not coming to the place of work in a drunken state and so on. Jargon refers to the special language, which only the members of the fraternity understand. This is sometimes referred to as 'code language', and may include nicknames for persons, events and processes etc.

Based on researches, Collins and Poras have provided following guidelines for developing suitable organisational culture.

1. Preserve core ideologies while allowing for change;

2. Stimulate progress through challenging objective, purposeful evolution, and continuous self-improvement;

3. Encourage experimentation and accept mistakes;

4. Accept paradox while rejecting 'either or thinking';

5. Create alignment by translating core values in to goals, strategies, and practices; and

6. Grow new managers internally by promotion from within.

Dr. Saurabh Gupta

Source: E-mail June 22, 2007


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