Just about Culture

Culture is a) a pattern of basic assumptions, b) invented, discovered, or developed by a given group, c) as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, d) that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, e) is to be taught to new members as f) the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to these problems.

As a concept borrowed by organizational theorists from anthropology, culture can also be viewed as shared meanings or understandings that are largely tacit and unique to group members. It draws attention to facets of organizational life previously unattended to, and through shared interpretations it focuses action.

Managers use culture in a variety of ways. It can, for example, set the stage for the implementation of an organization’s business strategy. Culture can also prescribe acceptable ways for managers to interact with external constituencies such as shareholders, the government, or customers. Staffing decisions and performance criteria can flow from the organization’s culture. It can also guide the nature of acceptable interpersonal relationships within the company and the selection of an appropriate management style. It also has significance for organizational effectiveness: The culture’s strength and consistency, emphasis on employee involvement in decision making, facilitation of corporate adaptability to organizational change, and clarity of mission are key predictors of organizational effectiveness. Currently managers in many companies view the organizational culture as supporting team-based efforts.

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