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Culture Analysis

Essay by   •  March 30, 2011  •  1,659 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,111 Views

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Culture Analysis Paper

Companies and organizations have the ability to thrive or plummet when the time comes to implement a new project. Project management has become one of the cornerstones to successfully expanding customer base and even maintaining a good relationship with existing customers. Now more than ever project management is almost an essential part for organizations. It has become so important that project management is now not just a job for a manager. It is the responsibility of many of the workers in an organization. As the world becomes more globally connected, the need for project managers with larger skill sets continues to grow. Many projects today are global projects that have far-reaching impact on all those involved. "Global projects often require the project manager to resettle in a foreign environment to manage a project. Cross-cultural considerations become extremely important and require a great deal of the project manager's attention. For example, in Japan project managers are not as sensitive to time as a constraint as a project manager trained in the States. However, if the same manager were to be sent to Israel to manage a project, time would be very important as a project constraint." (Gray and Larson p.2) Not only are cross-cultural ties important in today's society, but the culture within the organization plays an important role in the lives of everyone who is touched by each and every project. For the purpose of this paper, I will analyze the relationships among organizational culture, project structure, and project resources for Siemens Medical Solutions because I have first-hand experience with some of the project management team in the Seattle area.

Organizational culture shapes every dimension of project management. It is defined as "the shared beliefs and values that influence the behavior of organizational members" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn p.25). When I think about the organizational culture of the company I work for, Siemens Medical Solutions, I think about how much the organization has evolved into what it is today. I have not worked with Siemens for very long, but in talking with the older generation, I am able to see how far the organization has progressed both technologically and diversely. Siemens first started out as a German company that was a big supplier to Germany's war effort. One could imagine the negative connotation this would impress as Siemens began its quest to expand to other countries. The attitude at the workplace used to be one of very strict policy and unwavering standards. Today, though, Siemens has become one of the biggest companies in the world in terms of employees largely due to desire to fully embrace the concept of diversity in the workforce. Through this diversity, Siemens has a new organizational culture that many companies would love to emulate. The flow of communication both internally and externally is one of the biggest reasons for the continued success Siemens has experienced. Internally communication flows upward and downward in semi-formal fashion. However, it makes sense and is understood that the farther up the chain of command our communications go, the more formal they should be. Because Siemens Medical is spread all over the country, it is most convenient to send the majority of communications via email. We do not have a lot of face to face meetings internally, but when they do they are also semi-formal all the way up to our zone vice president. He likes to maintain a semiformal attitude to help employees feel more at ease to when talking to him about things that are on their minds. This is the viewpoint shared by most of the zone vice presidents. Externally, our communications may vary. When I am at a hospital, I may converse with IT workers or technologists and my communications will be very informal. However, I may also talk to some Chief Radiologists or hospital directors on any given day. With them we are very formal in communications to show them our sincerity. This helps present a better image of our company. We also have an open door policy with the majority of our customers.

Our communications with the project management team generally follow suit. I personally have a close relationship with the project manager for the Seattle area. This relationship helps us both be able to understand the projects we are involved in that much better. My project manager does not have anywhere near the technical knowledge that I possess and on the other side I do not possess the communication/management skill set that she possesses. This is common for the culture of Siemens. I think it brings our community closer together and really helps with desire to be a part of a team.

For the most part at Siemens Medical, projects are selected as customer needs continue to change. The majority of our projects are actually customer requests that will somehow bring the customer up to date with the latest technology. However, there are instances, such as new customers, where the install package has been predetermined and the upper management in Siemens directs us to go ahead with the implementation. Many of our upgrades are under non-obsolescence contracts which mean that when a new upgrade comes out the customer gets it for free - we just have to organize it with the customers proposed timeline. Generally, our projects are selected in such a way as to implement them for the customers who need them the most first. I think this is an intelligent way of doing business because it attempts to keep each customer satisfied with our products.

Once a project is selected it is time for the management team to decide on a desired project structure. In almost every case so far in my time at Siemens we have implemented the use of dedicated teams as the structure of choice. "These teams operate as independent units from the rest of the parent organization. The project manager recruits necessary personnel from both within and outside the parent company. The subsequent team is physically separated from the parent organization and given marching orders to complete

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