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Discuss The Postive And Negative Influences Of Corporate Culture

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The culture of an organisation can be seen as a set of core characteristics that are collectively valued by all members of that organisation; and, corporate culture is believed to be a key element in the success of any organisation (Visagie et al. 2002). Schein (2004) emphasises that organisational cultures provide group members with a way of giving meaning to their daily lives, setting guidelines and rules for how to behave and most important, reducing and containing the anxiety of dealing with an unpredictable and uncertain environment. The aim of this paper is to provide a clear demonstration of appropriate theoretical frameworks in relation to corporate culture; with the concentration on analysing its positive and negative influences on the success of organisations in the hotel industry. To demonstrate some of the points, issues regarding the Disneyland Hotels will be used as examples.

As Schein states, “culture is both a dynamic phenomenon that surrounds us at all times, being constantly enacted and created by our interactions with others and shaped by leadership behaviour, and a set of structures, routines, rules and norms that guide and constrain behaviour.” (Schein, 2004, p.1). Corporate culture is one of the major issues in academic research and education, in organisational theory as well as in management practice, therefore many versions of definition of corporate culture can be found in the available literature.

Schein (1992) explains organisation culture as the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organisation, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic “taken for granted” fashion an organisation’s view of its self and its environment. Brown (1998) cites the work of Eldridge and Crombie (1974) who states that the culture of an organisation refers to the unique configuration of norms, values, beliefs, ways of behaving and so on that characterise the manner in which groups and individuals combine to get things done. The distinctiveness of a particular organisation is intimately bound up with its history and the character-building effects of past decisions and past leaders. It is manifested in the folkways, mores, and the ideology to which member defer, as well as in the strategic choices made by the organisation as a whole. Basically, organisation culture is often regarded as “the ways we do things around here.”

Interest in the concept of corporate culture has exploded in the past two decades. Researchers have approached the topic with a wide array of theoretical interests, methodological tools and definitions of the concept itself. Sorensen (2001) mentions that debate over fundamental issues of theory and epistemology is intense; and he cites that while some see attempts to measure corporate cultures and their effects on organisations as highly problematic (e.g., Martin, 1992; Siehl and Martin, 1990; Alvesson, 1993), a large body of research starts from the assumption that culture is a measurable characteristic of organisations (O’Reilly and Chatman, 1996). These studies do not seek to interpret the meaning of different organisational cultures, but rather focus on their consequences for organisational behaviour and processes (Sorensen, 2001, p.5).

One of the most important theories of corporate culture is that of Schein’s (2004), who provides a well known model which describes three levels of cultural phenomenon in organisations:

1) Artefacts - At the surface is the level of artefacts, which includes all the phenomena that one sees, hears and feels when one encounters a new group with an unfamiliar culture (Schein, 2004, p.25). Artefacts are the most visible and most superficial manifestations of a corporate culture (Brown, 1998). The category artefacts generally refers to the total physical and socially constructed environment of an organisation. These include the architecture of its physical environment; its language; its technology and products; its artistic creations; its style; its observable rituals and ceremonies; and so on.

There are a vast array of different types and forms of artefact observable within organisations. Their importance stems from the link they are assumed to have with the вЂ?deeper’ level of an organisation’s culture, of which they are generally thought to be indicators (Brown, 1998). Kemp and Dwyer (2001) specifies the six major types of artefacts that can be distinguished вЂ" rituals and routines, stories, symbols, power structures, organisational structures and control systems. These form the outer layer of the firm’s “cultural web”, Kemp and Dwyer (2001, citing Johnson and Scholes, 1997, pp. 69-74).

пÑ"? Rituals and Routines: recurrent patterns of behaviour are a feature of organisational life. The routine ways that members of the organisation behave towards each other and towards those outside the organisation comprise “the way we do things around here”. The rituals of organisational life are the special events through which the organisation emphasises what is particularly important and reinforces “the way we do things around here”. The greetings of guests on arrival and the checkout procedure in a hotel are examples of routines. Rituals include relatively formal organisational processes such as training programs, appointment, promotion and assessment procedures, and so on.

пÑ"? Stories: these have long been recognised to be an integral feature of organisational life. People tend to tell stories not just because the performance is itself enjoyable, but in order to influence other people’s understanding of situations and events, to illustrate their knowledge and insight to how their organisation works, and to show that they are loyal members of the team.

пÑ"? Symbols: these include words, objects, conditions, acts or characteristics of persons that signify something different or wider from themselves, and which have meaning for an individual or group. Symbols cover logos, as well as physical layouts, e.g. how hotel space is used and the quality and functionality of furnishings.

пÑ"? Power structures: in an organisation, power structures are likely to be closely associated with groupings (often managerial), within the organisation which influence the formulation and observance of a set of core assumptions and beliefs, since these underlie the “perceived wisdom” of how to operate successfully.

пÑ"? Organisational structure: this refers to the way firms organise

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