Corporate Culture Survival Guide Chapter 1 &  Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :


The work of Edward H. Schein (1999) entitled "Corporate Culture Survival Guide" begins by examining the question of why it is important to understand culture. It is important according to Schein (1999) to understand that the organization exists "within broader cultural units that matter in today's global world because mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and special projects are often multicultural entitles who must have the ability to work across cultures." (p.3) Culture is residual in the individual and is reported by Schein to be the "hidden force hat drives mot of our behavior both inside and outside organizations." (Schein, 1999, p. 3)

Schein (1999) makes it clear that the organizational culture is no small thing but instead is vital and a living aspect of the organization that determines the organization's projection whether that be toward failure or success. People belong to their country, as well as belonging to occupations, organizations, communities, families and a social group with each of these various cultures affecting the individual. Each new social situation results in the individual functioning as "leaders' because the individual "not only reinforce[s] and act[s] as part of the present culture, but often begin to create new cultural elements." (Schein, 1999, p. 3)

According to Schein confusion concerning what is meant by culture and leadership is the result of a "failure to consider this interaction between them and our failure to define what stage of an organization's life we are talking about." (1999, p. 3-4) The reason that management of the alignment of various subcultures is important in the present includes that:

(1) mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures in the subculture are actually entire organizational cultures that need to be blended or aligned;

(2) Globalization, which produces many diverse multicultural organizational units based on nationality, language and ethnicity;

(3) Technological complexity which produces many more 'mature' occupational subcultures that have to be taken into account in designing the flow of work;

(4) Information technology which has resulted in many more structural options of when, where and by who work is to be done. (Schein, 1999, p. 6)

Schein (1999) notes that the CEO and top executive group's concern about how to manage the corporate culture is not enough because "leaders at every level of the organization must recognize that they have a role in creating, managing, and evolving the subcultures in their parts of the organization'. (p.7)

Schein (1999) provides an example of how leadership and cultural interaction matters stating that when Atari was one of the top designers of computer game and a new CEO in marketing was hired that CEO's cultural background informed him that providing individual incentive and career system was important but when he discovered "loosely organized" groups of engineers and programmers with work that appeared very disorganized he did not know who should be rewarded and for what. This CEO began to clean up what he considered to be a mess and the result was demoralization among employees with many of the best engineers leaving the company. What this CEO had failed to realize is that "in its evolution the company learned that the essence of the creative process in designing good games was unstructured climate that enabled designer to trigger each other's creativity." (Schein, 1999, p. 8) This CEO also failed to realize that when a successful game was produced it was the result of a "group" rather than individual effort. The individual engineers are reported to have "shared an assumption that only through extensive informal interaction could an idea come to fruition." (Schein, 1999, p. 8) The importance of this example is the fact that the organizational culture formulates the nerve center of the organization and is central and vital to the success of the organization.

Schein reports that the culture is the primary source of the identity of the organization and when the culture is challenged it is the same thing as challenging the organizational founders. In other words, when the individual or group of individuals within the organization attempt to challenge the well-ingrained culture of the organization, the challenge that presents is not just against outdated and no longer useful cultural elements in the organization but instead the challenge is against the very foundations of the organization. The cultural elements are reported by Schein to become "sacred cows and difficult to change." (p.17)

There are mid-life organization cultural issues and remembering that Schein states that it is of great importance to understand…

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