Org Culture Leadership Leadership, Learning Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

" (Simon, 188) the fundamental perspective here is that leadership and the ability to apply actions based on culturally driven decisions are central to helping members of the organization learn in a concrete manner how best to accord with the reigning culture.

In order for this to occur though, there must be a certain initial scrutiny and selectiveness where leadership and personnel are concerned, endorsing an organization-wide emphasis on the quality of personnel. This implicitly brings us to consideration of the application phase in terms of learning organizational culture, which is inevitably associated to all actionable aspects of an organization's structure and operations. The correlation between recruitment, personnel makeup and leadership personalities is perhaps threaded by the common string of day-to-day responsibility within an organizational culture. And quite certainly, we see the stamp of organizational culture on so many of the most important applicable indicators. Schein, to this end, points out that "researchers have supported some of these views by reporting findings that cultural 'strength' or certain kinds of cultures correlate with economic performance." (Schein, 7) This means that at the stage of application, leadership and personnel must become increasingly focused on the way that established norms connect to genuine performance realities.

Analyzing Organizational Culture:

Learning organizational culture is a process which must be enforced not just through understanding and habit but also through a critical reflection of the individual strands comprising said culture. Schein (1992) explains that there are visible and invisible levels of organizational culture which are due for analysis. The visible levels are the observable behavior, symbols, architecture, and dress code that differentiate organizations' members. The invisible levels are the underlying values, assumptions, beliefs, and feelings of the organization's members. As the Schein text denotes, "if the group's survival is threatened because elements of its culture have become maladapted, it is ultimately the function of leadership to recognize and do something about the situation" (Schein, 1992, p.5), therefore Schein (2004) emphasizes that it is leaders should pay attention to the two levels of culture, especially the latter. According to the author, the invisible levels of culture are the driving force behind the visible levels. They represent the deepest level of culture and are taken for granted by every organization's member. Proper organizational analysis will therefore reveal the underlying forces contributing to the organization's more apparent identifying features.

Evaluating Organizational Culture:

To better evaluate their organizations and rebalance them support new practices and values, leaders must understand that organizations could have more than one culture. Schein (1992) also notes that even in the case where an organization has only one culture, it is always a possibility that different subcultures emerge within different groups of the organization. Those subcultures may not necessarily represent the organizational culture. Being wary of the different types of culture will also help leaders of organizations understand how their strategies could have different impacts within their organizations. To this end, Schein observes the following:

"Cultures and leadership are two sides of the same coin in that leaders first create cultures when they create groups and organizations. Once cultures exist, they determine the criteria for leadership and thus determine who will or will not be a leader. But if cultures become dysfunctional, it is the unique function of leadership to perceive the functional and dysfunctional elements of the existing culture and to manage cultural evolution and change in such a way that the group can survive in a changing environment" (Schein, 1992, p. 15).

When cultures and subcultures are not compatible with the organization's strategies, they can create several problems for leaders that can be difficult to manage (Brown, 1998). Therefore, leaders must be in a position to fully and accurately evaluate the culture of their organization at its different levels including the assumptions, beliefs, and practices. (Bowditch & Buono, 1994). Indeed, in order to effect positive maintenance or change, leaders must identify the type of culture already present and the type which they might aspire to create. As they make such evaluations, leaders must also be wary of the complexity of the relationship between culture and performance, and that it will take more than simply altering the behavior of the organization to achieve results. Indeed, attempting to shift cultural norms or to create a new cultural umbrella -- with creation being a 7th stage
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of learning added to more current diagrams of Bloom's Taxonomy -- means that each of the stages discussed here above must be incorporated into the leadership strategy.

The Dimensions of Organizational Culture:

Psychological Dimensions:

More than efficiency, which denotes a manager distinguished by sensible use of time, concise delegation and technical proficiency, effectiveness denotes a leader who yields these properties from a staff. In relation, organizational leadership must therefore be devoted in a large part to the administration of morale and motivation. Indeed, the ability to effect these psychological responses in personnel is a quality which can often mean the difference between effective administration or authoritative impotence. While it is the responsibility of administrative personnel to issue directives, instructions and clarifications on goal-orientation, it is only a leader who can find ways to motivate the members of his organization. To some theorists, this is a process which is defined according to the psychological dimension of leadership, which has a driving impact on the cultural tenor for an organization and its members.

For instance, Arnold, Cooper, and Robertson (1995) consider stress to be an individual's physiological response to the forces created by his environment. Piderit (2000) indicates that organization's members' attitudes towards a culture and its leadership can be seen in their cognitions, reactions, and emotional tendency towards the process. This means that active and willing participation in the perpetuation of a company's norms will require a positive psychological response to the propose culture. Simon determines that in order to forge a positive cultural atmosphere, it is absolutely necessary to create an environment which is positive and accommodating to the needs of personnel. Simon contends that "the construction of an efficient administrative organization is a problem in social psychology. It is a task of setting up an operative staff and superimposing on that staff a supervisory staff capable of influencing the operative group toward a pattern of coordinated and effective behavior." (Simon, 2) in other words, available research posits the idea that the tenor provided by leadership will have a determinant psychological impact on the behaviors and practices which become culturally normative within an organizational context.

To the same point, Schein's addresses with the importance of decision-making in the process of defining and maintaining a psychologically positive organizational culture. Inded, he acknowledges that this is part and parcel to the process by which leadership garners, courts, and maintains an effective interest on the part of personnel in upholding key decisions. As Schein argues based on his experience in one of his ethnographic immersion projects, "to reach a decision . . . one had to convince others of the validity of one's idea and be able to defend it against every conceivable argument. This caused high levels of confrontation and fighting that I observed in these groups, but once an idea had stood up to this level of debate and survived, it could then be moved forward and implemented because everyone was now convinced it was the right thing to do." (Schein, 43)

This denotes a fundamental psychological benefit to creating an organizational culture in which conflict is managed, open discourse is fostered and members of the staff are allowed to feel that they have taken a direct part in the decision-making process. The psychological impact of this type of working atmosphere may be tantamount to the fluid exchange of ideas, the tendency of personnel to take initiative in their work and the creation of an environment ripe for innovation

Social Dimensions:

The internal culture of any industry, agency or organization is to a significant degree molded by the communication, interpersonal interaction and reflection of shared interests. These features comprise a social context through which leadership and personnel will engage a certain reciprocity. This is to say that in order for a leader to purport an expected set of cultural norms, it will be necessary for a social context to exist which facilitates any such expectations.

As the text states in its primary argument, "culture is an abstraction, yet the forces that are created in social and organizational situations that derive from culture are powerful. If we don't understand the operation of these forces, we become victim to them." (Schein, 3) Here, Schein is arguing that the effective organizational administration will be responsible for establishing and maintaining a positive organizational culture, within which personnel as levels below administration are themselves capable of making correct or competent decisions. This is to indicate that there are unmistakable social imperatives in play which drive members to seek coalescence with the approach…

Sources Used in Documents:


Arnold, J., Cooper, C. & Robertson, I.T. (1995). Work psychology: Understanding human behavior in the workplace, Pitman Publishing, London.

Beer, M. & Walton, E. (1990). Developing the competitive organization: interventions and strategies. American Psychologists, 45(22), 154-161.

Bennis, W., & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. Harper and Row, New York.

Bowditch, J.L. & Buono, a.F. (1994). A primer on organizational behavior. John Wiley and Sons Inc. New York.

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