Organizational Psychology

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:Academy Culture, Baseball Team Culture, Fortress Culture

<< NATURE OF ORGANIZATIONS:Flat Organization, Neoclassical Organization Theory
CHANGING ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:Move decisively, defuse resistance >>
Organizational Psychology­ (PSY510)
As national culture affects human psychology, so does organizational culture i.e. it is the belief, systems,
values, and the behaviors of people in organizations.
The term organizational culture refers to the basic assumptions and beliefs shared by members of an
organization. These beliefs operate unconsciously and "taken for granted".
The key elements of organizational culture are:
·  Observed behavioral regularities when people interact, such as the language used and the ritual surrounding
deference and demeanor.
·  The norms that evolve in working groups, such as the norm of a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.
·  The dominant values espoused by an organization, such a product quality or low prices.
·  The philosophy that guides an organization's policy toward employees and customers.
·  The rules of the game for getting along in the organization--"the ropes" that a newcomer must learn to
become an accepted member.
·  The feeling or climate that is conveyed in an organization by the physical layout and the way in which
member of the organization interact with one another, customers, and outsiders.
Firms that make cultural adjustments to keep up with environmental changes are likely to outperform those
whose culture is rigid and unresponsive to external jolts. IBM's bureaucratic culture--with its emphasis on
hierarchy, centralization of decisions, permanent employment, and strict promotion played a large role in its
difficulties earlier in the 1990s. In contrast, Hewlett-Packard, named one of the best-managed new
companies more than a decade ago, retained its strong position through the 2000s. Many attribute Hewlett
Packard's continued success to the fact that the corporation divided into smaller sections in the mid-1980s,
making it more nimble and able to bring new products to market quickly.
Basically, organizational culture is the personality of the organization. Culture is comprised of the
assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization members and their behaviors.
Members of an organization soon come to sense the particular culture of an organization. Culture is one of
those terms that's difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when they sense it. For example, the
culture of a large, for-profit corporation is quite different than that of a hospital which is quite different that
that of a university. You can tell the culture of an organization by looking at the arrangement of furniture,
what they brag about, what members wear, etc. -- similar to what you can use to get a feeling about
someone's personality.
Corporate culture can be looked at as a system. Inputs include feedback from, e.g., society, professions,
laws, stories, heroes, values on competition or service, etc. The process is based on our assumptions, values
and norms, e.g., our values on money, time, facilities, space and people. Outputs or effects of our culture
are, e.g., organizational behaviors, technologies, strategies, image, products, services, appearance, etc.
The concept of culture is particularly important when attempting to manage organization-wide change.
Practitioners are coming to realize that, despite the best-laid plans, organizational change must include not
only changing structures and processes, but also changing the corporate culture as well.
There's been a great deal of literature generated over the past decade about the concept of organizational
culture -- particularly in regard to learning how to change organizational culture. Organizational change
efforts are rumoured to fail the vast majority of the time. Usually, this failure is credited to lack of
understanding about the strong role of culture and the role it plays in organizations. That's one of the
reasons that many strategic planners now place as much emphasis on identifying strategic values as they do
mission and vision.
Types of Culture
There are different types of culture just like there are different types of personality. Researcher Jeffrey
Sonnenfeld identified the following four types of cultures.
Academy Culture
Employees are highly skilled and tend to stay in the organization, while working their way up the ranks. The
organization provides a stable environment in which employees can develop and exercise their skills.
Examples are universities, hospitals, large corporations, etc.
Organizational Psychology­ (PSY510)
Baseball Team Culture
Employees are "free agents" who have highly prized skills. They are in high demand and can rather easily
get jobs elsewhere. This type of culture exists in fast-paced, high-risk organizations, such as investment
banking, advertising, etc.
Club Culture
The most important requirement for employees in this culture is to fit into the group. Usually employees
start at the bottom and stay with the organization. The organization promotes from within and highly
values seniority. Examples are the military, some law firms, etc.
Fortress Culture
Employees don't know if they'll be laid off or not. These organizations often undergo massive
reorganization. There are many opportunities for those with timely, specialized skills. Examples are savings
and loans, large car companies, etc.
Strong/Weak Cultures
Simply put, when the staff responds to stimuli because of their alignment to organizational values, it is said
to be a strong culture.
On the other hand, where there is little alignment with organizational values and control must be exercised
through extensive procedures and bureaucracy, the culture is said to be weak.
Where culture is strong--people do things because they believe it is the right thing to do--there is a risk of
another phenomenon, Groupthink. Groupthink was described by Irving L. Janis. He defined it as "...a
quick and easy way to refer to a mode of thinking that people engage when they are deeply involved in a
cohesive in-group, when members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise
alternatives of action." This is a state where people, even if they have different ideas, do not challenge
organizational thinking, and therefore there is a reduced capacity for innovative thoughts. This could occur,
for example, where there is heavy reliance on a central charismatic figure in the organization, or where there
is an evangelical belief in the organization's values, or also in groups where a friendly climate is at the base
of their identity (avoidance of conflict). In fact groupthink is very common, it happens all the time, in
almost every group. Members that are defiant are often turned down or seen as a negative influence by the
rest of the group, because they bring conflict (conflicting ideas) and disturb the central culture. In cultural
studies, culture is seen as ethnocentric (Barone, J.T, Switzer, J.Y), or culturo-centric, meaning that we tend
to think that our culture/subculture is the best. The stronger the culture, the greater the risks of groupthink.
By contrast, bureaucratic organizations may miss opportunities for innovation, through reliance on
established procedures. Innovative organizations need individuals who are prepared to challenge the status
quo--be it groupthink or bureaucracy, and also need procedures to implement new ideas effectively.
Creating Culture
Organizational culture can be created by means of concerted efforts on part of the founders of the
organization. Although the organizational culture can be developed in a number of ways, the common steps
involved in creating an organizational culture are as follows:
·  A person has an idea for a new enterprise. The person is usually the founder of the organization. He
develops certain rules, norms and regulation informally and comes up with the basic theme of the
·  In the second step, the conceiver collects key people whom he deems suitable to implement his or her
ideas by converting them into organizational rules, norms and procedures.
·  The key people and the conceiver work together to get things of the ground and develop them into laid
down rules and regulations.
·  Finally the organization takes its shape and other members are incorporated into the organization.
·  A culture emerges based on the conceptions of the founder. The culture is then molded by the activities
within the organization.
Maintaining Culture
Once the organizational culture is established, the organization adopts some measure to ensure that the
culture is maintained and its core values accepted and adopted by the employees. This is done through the
following steps of socialization:
·  Selection/rejection
Organizational Psychology­ (PSY510)
This is the first step which ensures the persistence of the culture. At the entry level, i.e. hiring and
recruitment, employees are selected based on their ability to adhere to the culture.
Placement in a job
After the selection of the fit person for the organization, the new recruit is made to perform certain
tasks in the organization that may acquaint him with the culture. In other words, it is a process of giving
hands on experience to the new employee.
Job Mastery
One the selection and employment procedures are over, the employee is subject to training and gains
experience at the job. Ultimately he or she becomes an expert in not just the job but also becomes the
carrier of the organizational culture.
Measuring and rewarding performance
The performance of the employee is measured using suitable techniques and he or she is rewarded as
deemed right.
Adherence to important values
This refers to the employee's commitment to sacrifice his or her own interests for the organization. He
or she would then show full commitment towards the organization and its values.
Reinforcing stories and folklore
In this step, organizational stories and folklore is related in a manner that it presents the culture to the
employees as the basic and the core distinction and competitive advantage for the organization.
Recognition and promotion
Finally deserving individuals are recognized and promoted within the organization.
Mejia, Gomez. Balkin, David & Cardy, Rober. (2006). Managing Human Resources (Fourth Edition). India:
Dorling Kidersley Pvt. Ltd., licensee of Pearson Education in South Asia.
Seven Ways to Enhance Organizational Culture, by Kevin Eikenberry. Retrieved from:
Creating Strong Organizational Culture. Retrieved from:
The role of the founder in creating organizational culture. Organizational Dynamics, 12(1), 13-28.
Schein, E. H. (1990). Retrieved from: http://www.iew3.technion.ac.il/Home/Users/anatr/symbol.html
Leading Questions: How to create an organizational culture. Asheville Citizen-Times, Retrieved from:
'Corporate / Organizational Culture' Effect Culture Change and Create a Positive Organizational
Culture With Ideas From Our TGIM Newsletter Effect Culture:
Organizational Culture and the Necessity of its Influence. Europian and Japaness organizational culture.
%20%20Organizational%20Culture.pdf -
Creating culture in your organization.
Table of Contents:
  2. METHODOLOGIES OF DATA COLLECTION:Observational method, Stability of Measures
  3. GLOBALIZATION:Aspects of Globalization, Industrial Globalization
  4. DEFINING THE CULTURE:Key Components of Culture, Individualism
  5. WHAT IS DIVERSITY?:Recruitment and Retention, Organizational approaches
  6. ETHICS:Sexual Harassment, Pay and Promotion Discrimination, Employee Privacy
  7. NATURE OF ORGANIZATIONS:Flat Organization, Neoclassical Organization Theory
  8. ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:Academy Culture, Baseball Team Culture, Fortress Culture
  9. CHANGING ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:Move decisively, defuse resistance
  10. REWARD SYSTEMS: PAY, Methods of Pay, Individual incentive plan, New Pay Techniques
  12. PERCEPTION:How They Work Together, Gestalt Laws of Grouping, Closure
  13. PERCEPTUAL DEFENCE:Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Stereotyping
  14. ATTRIBUTION:Locus of Control, Fundamental Attribution Error
  15. IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT:Impression Construction, Self-focused IM
  16. PERSONALITY:Classifying Personality Theories, Humanistic/Existential
  17. PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT:Standardized, Basic Categories of Measures
  18. ATTITUDE:Emotional, Informational, Behavioural,Positive and Negative Affectivity
  19. JOB SATISFACTION:The work, Pay, Measurement of Job Satisfaction
  20. MOTIVATION:Extrinsic motive, Theories of work motivation, Safety needs
  21. THEORIES OF MOTIVATION:Instrumentality, Stacy Adams’S Equity theory
  22. MOTIVATION ACROSS CULTURES:Meaning of Work, Role of Religion
  23. POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY:Criticisms of ‘Traditional’ Psychology, Optimism
  24. HOPE:Personality, Our goals, Satisfaction with important domains, Negative affect
  25. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE:EI IS Related To Emotions and Intelligence
  26. SELF EFFICACY:Motivation, Perseverance, Thoughts, Sources of Self-Efficacy
  27. COMMUNICATION:Historical Background, Informal-Formal, Interpersonal Communication
  28. COMMUNICATION (Part II):Downward Communication, Stereotyping Problems
  29. DECISION MAKING:History, Personal Rationality, Social Model, Conceptual
  31. JOB STRESS:Distress and Eustress, Burnout, General Adaptation Syndrome
  32. INDIVIDUAL STRESSORS:Role Ambiguity/ Role Conflict, Personal Control
  33. EFFECTS OF STRESS:Physical Effects, Behavioural Effects, Individual Strategies
  34. POWER AND POLITICS:Coercive Power, Legitimate Power, Referent Power
  35. POLITICS:Sources of Politics in Organizations, Final Word about Power
  36. GROUPS AND TEAMS:Why Groups Are Formed, Forming, Storming
  37. DYSFUNCTIONS OF GROUPS:Norm Violation, Group Think, Risky Shift
  38. JOB DESIGN:Job Rotation, Job Enlargement, Job Enrichment, Skill Variety
  39. JOB DESIGN:Engagement, Disengagement, Social Information Processing, Motivation
  40. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Verbal Learning, Behaviouristic Theories, Acquisition
  41. OBMOD:Applications of OBMOD, Correcting Group Dysfunctions
  42. LEADERSHIP PROCESS:Managers versus Leaders, Defining Leadership
  44. GREAT LEADERS: STYLES, ACTIVITIES AND SKILLS:Globalization and Leadership