Organizational Culture and Its Importance

2612 words 11 pages
There is no single definition for organizational culture. The topic has been studied from a variety of perspectives ranging from disciplines such as anthropology and sociology, to the applied disciplines of organizational behaviour, management science, and organizational communication. Some of the definitions are listed below:
A set of common understandings around which action is organized; finding expression in language whose nuances are peculiar to the group (Becker and Geer 1960).
A set of understandings or meanings shared by a group of people that are largely tacit among members and are clearly relevant and distinctive to the particular group which are also passed on to new members (Louis 1980).
A system of knowledge, of standards for
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Subgroups in organizations can and do create subcultures that comprise specific networks of meaning; yet, at the same time, they remain associated with the ideologies and values of the organization's leadership. For example, at a macro level the culture that is attributed to the Department of Defense comprises the distinct cultures of the different military services and the corps of civil servants assigned to each service agency. A closer examination of each service culture reveals still greater cultural differentiation among occupational specialties, specific units within the service, and between line and staff personnel. Yet all of these subcultures adhere to the core ideologies, values and norms of the DOD.
Numerous studies of organizational culture have highlighted that the formation and maintenance of culture requires interpersonal interaction within subgroups. For example, research led by Meryl Louis demonstrated the benefits of subgroup interaction to newcomers "learning the ropes" of the jobs. Survey respondents in their first job experience reported that the three most important socialization aids were:
• Interaction with peers
• Interaction with their supervisor
• Interaction with senior co-workers.
Interaction with peers on the job was viewed as most important in helping newcomers


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