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The organizational culture (OC) is crucial for the process of changes implementation. While some of its types are resistant to them, the others view transformations as the opportunity to grow and expand. The purpose of this paper is to clearly outline the links between organizational culture and its influence on the process of changes implementation, which is followed with the critical review of the contemporary and traditional theories of organizational culture.
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There are two approaches to the understanding of organizational culture: contemporary and traditional ones. The traditionalists consider that it refers to the metaphor for an organization as being something that is cultivated (O’Donnell & Boyle, 2008). Schein (2004) claims that the organizational culture refers to the basic assumptions that are imposed by a leader on a group that appeared and developed coping with its challenges and problems of external adaption and integration. The traditional theory explaining the key features of the organizational culture bases more on the external aspect of organizational culture. However, it ignores such issues as values, vision, behavioral rules and other. At the same time, the advantage of it is that it pays attention to the fact that the organizational culture is something that is cultivated and developed, and, therefore, can be adjusted to the process of changes implementation.
The supporters of contemporary theories of OC claim that the organizational culture involves the climate and practices that are introduced within the organizations to handle people and to promote the values and beliefs of the organization. Frequently, it includes the artifacts, patterns of behavior inherent in the employees of the organization, values and the fundamental assumptions or beliefs that are usually called mission or vision of the organization (LaGuardia, 2008). Thus, supplementing the traditional view of organizational culture, the modernists point out few elements of the organizational culture, the awareness of which may be advantageous during the process of changes implementation. Yet, these contemporary theories lack comprehensiveness and describe the organizational culture only partially.
The influence of organizational culture on the changes implementation can be best traced through the examination of types of organizational cultures. The first one is referred as hierarchical one where the information management and communication are employed to ensure the stability and control. It frequently involves many rules, normative standards and other restrictions. The changes implementation in such settings can be either smooth or totally impossible which mainly depends on the kind of alterations. On the one hand, the employees just need to adjust to the new rules if they stipulate the new methods of work with the preservation of the old order. On the other hand, if the changes concern the values or the overall culture within the organization than they can be hard to implement. For example, for the Chinese workers who are used to the authoritarian style in the workplace it would be hard to adjust to the American liberal workplace standards with flexible working schedules and autonomy in decision-making process.
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The opposite organizational culture is called development culture where flexibility and adaptability to the changes are viewed as tools for achieving growth, external support and resources acquisition. Therefore, the implementation of any transformations occurs rather gradually, yet steadily and is normally perceived by each member of the team. Changes are the routine for them and are viewed only as the opportunities, not threats. This organizational environment positively affects implementation of alterations of any kind as the employees do not resist it.
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