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Central Features of Organizational Culture

15 January, 2016 - 09:23
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  1. It focuses on the values and beliefs of members of organizations. “Shared values, shared beliefs, shared meaning, shared understanding, and shared sensemaking are all di_erent ways of describing culture . . . These patterns of understanding also provide a basis for making one's own behaviour sensible and meaningful” (Morgan, 1997, p. 138).
  2. The cultural model focuses on the notion of a single or dominant culture in organizations but this does not necessarily mean that individual values are always in harmony with one another. “There may be different and competing value systems that create a mosaic of organizational realities rather than a uniform corporate culture” (Morgan, 1997, p. 137). Large, multipurpose organizations, in particular, are likely to have more than one culture (Schein, 1997, p. 14).
  3. Organizational culture emphasizes the development of shared norms and meanings. The assumption is that interaction between members of the organization, or its subgroups, eventually leads to behavioural norms that gradually become cultural features of the school or college.
  4. These group norms sometimes allow the development of a monoculture in a school with meanings shared throughout the staff – “the way we do things around here.” We have already noted, however, that there may be several subcultures based on the professional and personal interests of different groups. These typically have internal coherence but experience difficulty in relationships with other groups whose behavioural norms are different.
  5. Culture is typically expressed through rituals and ceremonies, which are used to support and celebrate beliefs and norms. Schools are rich in such symbols as assemblies, prize-givings and corporate worship”Symbols are central to the process of constructing meanin.” (Hoyle, 1986, p. 152).
  6. Organizational culture assumes the existence of heroes and heroines who embody the values and beliefs of the organization. These honoured members typify the behaviours associated with the culture of the institution. Campbell-Evans (1993, p. 106) stresses that heroes or heroines are those whose achievements match the culture: “Choice and recognition of heroes . . . occurs within the cultural boundaries identified through the value filter . . . The accomplishments of those individuals who come to be regarded as heroes are compatible with the cultural emphases” (Bush, 2003, p. 160-162).