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Sunday, May 15, 2011

What are the basic determinants of organizational climate and Culture.

What are the basic determinants of organizational climate and Culture. Which of these determinants play significant role in determination of organization culture and climate in the organization known to you. Explain with concrete example about your perception. Briefly describe the basics of the organization you are referring to.

Organizational climate (sometimes known as Corporate Climate) is the process of quantifying the “culture” of an organization. It is a set of properties of the work environment, perceived directly or indirectly by the employees, that is assumed to be a major force in influencing employee behavior.
Climate and culture are both important aspects of the overall context, environment or situation. Organizational culture tends to be shared by all or most members of some social group; is something that older members usually try to pass on to younger members; shapes behavior and structures perceptions of the world. Cultures are often studied and understood at a national level, such as the American or French culture. Culture includes deeply held values, beliefs and assumptions, symbols, heroes, and rituals. Culture can be examined at an organizational level as well. The main distinction between organizational and national culture is that people can choose to join a place of work, but are usually born into a national culture.
Determinants of organisation culture
Organization culture can be a set of key values, assumptions, understandings and norms that is shared by members of an organization
Organization values are fundamental beliefs that an organization considers to be important, that are relatively stable over time, and they have an impact on employees behaviors and attitudes.
Organization Norms are shared standards that define what behaviors are acceptable and desirable with in organization
Shared assumptions are about how things are done in an organization. Understandings are coping with internal/ external problems uniformly.
Organizational climate, on the other hand, is often defined as the recurring patterns of behavior, attitudes and feelings that characterize life in the organization, while an organization culture tends to be deep and stable. Although culture and climate are related, climate often proves easier to assess and change. At an individual level of analysis the concept is called individual psychological climate. These individual perceptions are often aggregated or collected for analysis and understanding at the team or group level, or the divisional, functional, or overall organizational level
Organizational climate measures attempts to assess organizations in terms of dimensions
that are thought to capture or describe perceptions about the climate.
Determinants of organisation climate
1.Structure - feelings about constraints and freedom to act and the degree of formality or informality in the working atmosphere.
2.Responsibility - the feeling of being trusted to carry out important work.
3.Risk - the sense of riskiness and challenge in the job and in the organization; the relative emphasis on taking calculated risks or playing it safe.
4.Warmth - the existence of friendly and informal social groups.
5.Support - the perceived helpfulness of managers and co-workers; the emphasis (or lack of emphasis) on mutual support.
6.Standards - the perceived importance of implicit and explicit goals and performance
standards; the emphasis on doing a good job; the challenge represented in personal and team goals.
7.Conflict - the feeling that managers and other workers want to hear different opinions; the emphasis on getting problems out into the open rather than smoothing them over or ignoring them.
8.Identity - the feeling that you belong to a company; that you are a valuable member of a working team.
9.Autonomy - the perception of self-determination with respect to work procedures, goals and priorities;
10.Cohesion - the perception of togetherness or sharing within the organization setting, including the willingness of members to provide material risk;
11.Trust - the perception of freedom to communicate openly with members at higher organizational levels about sensitive or personal issues, with the expectation that the integrity of such communications will not be violated;
12.Resource - the perception of time demands with respect to task competition and performance standards; - the perception of the degree to which superiors tolerate members' behaviour,
including willingness to let members learn from their mistakes without fear of reprisal;
14.Recognition – the perception that members' contributions to the organization are acknowledged;
15.Fairness - the perception that organizational policies are non-arbitrary or capri*cious;
16.Innovation - the perception that change and creativity are encouraged, including risk-taking into new areas where the member has little or no prior experience.
The relationship of climate to employee well-being (e.g., satisfaction, job stress and strain) has been widely studied. Since climate measures subsume the major organizational characteristics workers experience, virtually any study of employee perceptions of their work setting can be thought of as a climate study. Studies link climate features (particularly leadership, communication openness, participative management and conflict resolution) with employee satisfaction and (inversely) stress levels (Schneider 1985). Stressful organizational climates are characterized by limited participation in decisions, use of punishment and negative feedback (rather than rewards and positive feedback), conflict avoidance or confrontation (rather than problem solving), and non supportive group and leader relations. Socially supportive climates benefit employee mental health, with lower rates of anxiety and depression in supportive settings (Repetti 1987). When collective climates exist (where members who interact with each other share common perceptions of the organization) research observes that shared perceptions of undesirable organizational features are linked with low morale and instances of psychogenic illness (Colligan, Pennebaker and Murphy 1982). When climate research adopts a specific focus, as in the study of climate for safety in an organization, evidence is provided that lack of openness in communication regarding safety issues, few rewards for reporting occupational hazards, and other negative climate features increase the incidence of work-related accidents and injury (Zohar 1980).

TATA Culture
~ David Straker ~

Here is a cultural model that is both simple and powerful in its ability to help you change organisations

One of the greatest frustrations for consultants and others is in getting organisations to change, and in particular at the top. If you get a chance to work with a senior team who can see that culture needs to be changed, then here is a model and a method that you can use to get to the core.
'TATA' means 'management Thinking and Acting that leads to employee Thinking and Acting. This is a very simple model of organizational culture that is easy to understand and can be used to help change the culture to something more powerful.
It is often a good idea to discuss what you are going to do with the senior manager as this person's support may be important if the rest of the team start to dig their heels in during steps 3 and 4.
1. Employee Action
The easiest place to start with the top team when discussing culture is what they see and
hear. Just ask them: What do you see and hear in this culture that you'd like to change?
Then stand back as they list all the things that have been frustrating them about their employees over past year or more. Typical moans include:
• People not sticking to commitments
• Lack of loyalty
• Not understanding strategic needs
• Lack of real concern for customers
• Resistance to new ideas
• Lack of creativity
...and so on. Write these down on a flipchart. If the list gets long, help them reduce it to the 'top five' (or even three).
2. Employee Thinking
Culture is not just about how people act -- it is also about attitudes, values, beliefs, mental models, emotions and so on. Next talk about this and how thinking leads to action and draw the basic cultural model:

With this you can discuss how employees think drives what they do. Again, this is simple logic that is easy to understand and accept. Depending on how rational or open the team is, you can also 'and feeling' after 'thinking'.
List the top five actions under 'employee action' and now ask the management team to
list how they believe employees are thinking in ways that leads to the identified action.
This is a little harder task but most managers will have few problems coming up with assumptions about what the employees may be thinking. Remind them as necessary that
their employees are human and that employee thinking will make sense, at least to them.
Typical thinking could include:
• What's in it for me
• Do what I'm told
• No point rocking the boat
• Do least work for maximum pay
• Keep your head down

3. Management Action
Now it starts to get more interesting and stage 3 ideas may require some discussion before you start listing. The primary principle is that a significant driver of what employees think is what managers say and do. Of course there are other forces on employees but what managers say and do has a huge effect -- sometimes more than managers may think (and if employee thinking is not affected by what managers say and do then there would be an even bigger problem).
This can be shown as below. Putting 'Management Action' above 'Employee Thinking', rather than to the left, is a subtle hint of superiority that may help managers find it easier to accept the ideas.

Now you can ask 'What are you saying and doing that is leading to what employees think?' This can be a very difficult moment for managers who do not want to accept responsibility for what employees think and do and you may need to keep the dialogue going for a while before you write anything down. You may need to press them on this, asking such as 'Are those actions really leading employees to think like that?' until you get to realistic information.
Discussions can include such as whether managers actually follow 'company values' as published, and what employees think about this. As appropriate, you can change or extend the 'Employee Thinking' box.
Ask permission, then write down the words and actions they tell you about, above the 'Management Action' box. If a longer list appears, then help them priorities for the top three to five actions that have the greatest effect on employee thinking.
If this segment worked, there should be a significant number of 'aha's in recognizing what managers say and do affects culture and hence how it must change.
4. Management Thinking
If step 3 was difficult, then step 4 may well be even more difficult again, although it may also be easier if the penny has dropped and the principle accepted by now.
Just as employee thinking drives employee action, so also does management thinking drive management action. So the question now is 'What are your thoughts that are leading to what you say and do?' Draw in the last box as below. There should be no debate about whether this is valid as the 'Thinking - Action' principle has already been established.

Again, this may require some dialogue before you start to write things down (when you do, put them above 'Management Thinking'). The critical message is that how they think and feel is at the root of a causal chain that leads directly to what employees say and do, and hence to change the culture of the organisation they must change what and how they think - which can be a very scary subject and hence need plenty of space and support to happen.
Discussions can include questions about what they think about employees, what their values really are, and so on. In this session do not try to get it all out but just enough for them to realize how what they think is very important.
Further possibilities
This is a simple but powerful model which you can use in a number of additional ways.
Deeper stuff about thinking
From this session additional sessions can be held to explore what and how the management team thinks. If the first session has provided the wake-up call and an understanding of the importance of how they think then these sessions can be used to dig into personal and interpersonal drivers and dynamics.
Management and Employee cultures
Taking the simple 'thinking and acting' culture model, management culture and employee culture may be explored separately and reasons for differences discussed.

Influence and spirals
Management Action that changes Employee Thinking is pretty much what leadership
is. A powerful discussion about leadership can therefore be had by considering this link.
An additional link may be added between Employee Action and Management Thinking. How we think is driven by what others say and do and the way managers think is often strongly affected by how employees act. This link completes a causal circle, which means there can be spirals of thinking and acting that can both improve and degrade the power of the organisation.

An interesting part of this discussion may be about how strong the Management Action - Employee Thinking link is, as compared with the Employee Action - Management Thinkinglink. Ideally, both exist but the biggest influence is the manager to employee direction. Sometimes management thinking is more strongly influenced by a wilful workforce and effectively the 'tail wags the dog'.
The balance of appropriate strengths between these two links depends on the industry, for example in intellectual and creative businesses a strong upward link might be a good idea. The question is to find the best balance for the business the company is in.

Theory of mind
Another area for possible exploration is in how we think others are thinking. We all use a great deal of 'theory of mind' in guessing what others are thinking and we often get it very wrong.

The question may thus be discussed about how managers think employees think and what employees think that managers think. This is a ripe topic for realizing that how you think others think is often a long way from how they are really thinking.
A session on theory of mind is best done as a facilitated dialogue between managersand employees. It is critical for this to succeed that an atmosphere of trust and openness is created.
Multiple levels
The model as presented divides simply along the 'manager-employee' line, which is often a significant cultural divide. Depending on the organisation, more than one level of analysis may be completed.
The framework can also be used to examine any connected cultural systems, for example between marketing and R&D or between the local company and headquarters.
As-is and To-be
The first session (or sessions) is about how things are at the moment and should probably be kept that way. If you have energized the team then a future session to think about how things could be different may be held.
Go through the same steps but now think about how they would like things to be. Thus
1. What do we want employees to say and do?
2. So what must they think and feel that will drive this action?
3. So what must managers say and do to lead employees to these thoughts?
4. And how must managers think and feel in order that they will act in the appropriate way?

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