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The Underlying Cultural Values of an Organization, Coursework Example

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Coursework

How much do you think it is possible for an outsider to discern about the underlying cultural values of an organization by analyzing symbols, ceremonies, dress, or other observable aspects of culture, compared to an insider with several years of work experience? Select a percentage (e.g., 10%, 70%) and discuss your reasoning.

I think that the ratio between an outsider having the ability to discern what an organization’s underlying cultural values are and an insider doing the same is about 45%-55%, respectively. I would say these are fairly close because, for one, people on the outside, looking in can only go by what they see and what the perceived meanings are for what they see, or what they think they see. However, the old saying, ‘A picture paints a thousand words,’ is often true. For example, if an outsider visits a company’s reception area and that person sees the employees wearing jeans and flip flops and there’s loud laughing and joking around, then the visitor will assume that the company has a laid back culture, the employees are happy and have fun on their jobs, and the company’s values include caring about the employees. On the other hand, an insider sees the same things because they are a part of it, but they also have a broader perspective about what it all means. Daft (2012) refers to this as social capital, which pertains to how well people interact with and treat each other as they are influenced by common perspectives, values and norms. Organizations with a high social capital level tend to have employees that work very well together based on mutual trust which allows them to coordinate and cooperate effectively in the workplace.

A noted organization theorist said, “Pressure for change originates in the environment. Pressure for stability originates within the organization.” Do you agree? Discuss.

I do agree with these statements. Daft (2012) points out some of the sources of the necessity for change are employee attitude shifts, employee reorganizations, new employees coming on board, changing managers, job dissatisfaction, etc. There are so many variables to why the need for change may arise in an organization and these mainly come from what is happening on the inside of an organization. Consequently, when there is a need for stability, it needs to come from the organization. This is because managers need to have the ability to respond to constant changing situations and environments within their organizations. It is management that implements policies and initiates communication among employees when changes arise.

If managers frequently use experience and intuition to make complex, non-programmed decisions, how do they apply evidence-based management, which seems to suggest that managers should rely on facts and data?

As it relates to managers making decisions based on intuition, Pfeffer and Sutton (2011) point out that this method is at risk for bias and use the example, in the absence of an evidence-based approach to interviewing candidates for a position, interviewers may cater to their human nature and choose someone who is similar to them, likable or physically attractive, in spite of whether or not that person is the best candidate for the job.  With evidence-based management, the use of facts eliminates specific error when making decisions or following through with processes. There is also a way of backing up decisions when evidence is available as confirmation. People’s gut feelings can be disputed but hard evidence cannot.

In a rapidly changing organization, are decisions more likely to be made using the rational or political model of organization? Discuss.

According to Daft (2012) the political model is used when there is a high level of conflict within the organization and the rational model is used when conflict is low. Many times when there are rapid changes within an organization there will be conflicts in different areas such as conflicting attitudes, different understandings of what’s taking place and disagreements. The political model is best used in these situations. Senior executives agree on issues and then they communicate them to the rest of the organization. There always needs to be a balance of power, even though using the rational model is implemented whenever possible to lessen the perception of a dictatorship-type management culture.

References

Daft, R.L. (2012). Organization Theory and Design. South-Western College Pub; 11 ed.

Pfeffer, J. & Sutton, R. (2011). Trust the Evidence, Not Your Instincts. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/jobs/04pre.html?_r=0

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