To what extent can organisational culture be used by managers as a tool to enhance performance?
This question is based around theme 4, in particular the lecture on organisational culture. The question invites you to examine both the management view of culture, as something that organisation has that managers can control in order to increase performance and the more sociological view that see culture that something the organisation is which is a part of the nature of the organisation (this idea is from the work of Linda Smircich).
Seeing something that managers can control presents culture as a resource for managers, through medium such as mission statements, physical artefacts (buildings etc), founderas stories, etc. Many (such as Peters and Waterman 1982) consider that a a?strong culturea based on a?shared valuesa to be central to good performance and vital in order to bring change to the organisation.
The perspective which sees culture as something the organisational is argues that it is beyond the control of any one individual or group (managers or workers) but rather negotiated. This perspective looks more as culture as a sense making process where meaning is created through shared experiences.
The answer should make reference to key theories of culture (i.e. Handy, Schein or Deal and Kennedy). A strong answer will apply these theories to a real life organisation to demonstrate cultural theory in context.
The underlying assumptions of these perspectives should be explored as well as their strengths and weaknesses. The a?dark sidea of organisational culture (see Willmott 1993) in particular questions if a a?strong culturea is a more insidious form of control. If employees believe in and identify with the organisation then is there any room for resistance?