Organizational culture can be briefly described as the as the collective behaviors of employees from the same company and the way in which they react or respond to the meanings which they have attached to their lives. On the other hand, culture can be varied to describe values and norm of an organization, common beliefs and symbols, working language and the habits of employees in a particular organization. When new employees join an organization, they come to learn of the organization’s culture and adapt themselves to behave in the some manner as the currently existing employees. Culture is divided into different dimensions basing on the effect of national and regional influences in where it is based. For instance power distance.
As regards the statement of the argument for the essay, it is not accurate to state that symbolic meanings is the core aspect in which an organizational culture revolves in and thus therefore, that it cannot be changed. However, symbolic meanings play a big part in the organizational culture.
In the organizational context, symbols refer to the shared dimensions and translations that help to put together an organization in terms of structural composition and its life period. In order to understand how symbols affect the culture of an organization, it is essential to evaluate it in the perspective of how people within the organization react and interpret incidences or occurrences within the organization, how members of the organization act towards each other and how why they behave the way do as a collective group. In this aspect therefore, it is essential to acknowledge the importance of symbols in the day to day functioning of an organization. It is also crucial to understand that when one visits an organization for whatever reason there may be, they may be required to emulate the symbols of the employees in the organization. This therefore means that symbols are not only a vital element to the employees alone but to even to those in contact with the organistaion.It the organizational setting, symbols are anything from the physical sound and sights that can be interpreted by the employees of an organization as having significant consequences in the operations carried out by the organization.
This means that they can ably interpret the ideas they have in regards to the physical surroundings and other inferences as having context in their setting. For example, the Hawthorne studies have tried to examine the effect of factors that affect the organizational culture like physical factors which are composed of symbols like noise and space and their effect on the employees of an organistaion.It this case, it was discovered that the way the organization has been planned and situated is not just due to the practical relevance of it but due to the symbols they hold deer. The way that items in the organization are arranged can either give a picture of hospitality or hostility. In other studies as well it was discovered that in order to tell a boss from a subordinate while at work. Look at the positioning of the desks. The office desk that is close to the customers is usually for the subordinates, while the one located far off behind symbolizes the boss. This does not matter in which industry one is trying to evaluate, the concept is the same in all of them.
In the consumer retail shops in order to influence more buyers to one’s store, it is essential that the structure is adequately designed to look fascinating, intriguing and welcoming. In theory, the concept of aesthetics is appropriate in explaining this. It is argued that the physical objects or things in life are essential in explaining the outcomes of various psychological changes in the way an organization operate. This is why Psychology argues hat the environment influences the way on behaves and helps in the fostering of relationships in regards to the person being influenced and the environment.
Symbols affect the organizational cultures in varied ways especially since it is a reflection of the common meanings and past experiences and how they are translated by the employees of the organization. In this case therefore, symbols are an expression of the common goal that is measurable. In organizational context therefore, symbols act as the platform through which people aim at executing the goals of the organization which can also be termed as the heart of culture. This is because even though not directly communicated to them, the symbols form a basis through which they are able to execute their duties. This way the gap between what an employees is able to feel and what they think while at work is ably bridged.
Symbols also help to reflect the inward vales and norms that have been importantly held by an individual. This is why people in the organization will always behave according to the positions they have been placed (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010). This means that in order to act a role, it is essential to align you to the required behaviors. In order to learn the required behaviors in the organization, a new employee is usually placed with the old ones so that they can have the role symbols well internalized in them. This is in order to encourage the exposure of inner values that can be able to guide an employee in what to do in the case of a similar action. In an organization, symbols help to link feelings to interpretation in the process to making the right decision. In the medical filed for instance, when nurse wear their uniforms, they are deemed to being ethical and well behaved (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010). Their uniforms symbolize compliance to the guidelines they are supposed to follow.
In the study of human performance through the science of dramaturgy, it is noted that through interactions, people are able to improve their performance .This science is also helpful in explaining how the varied symbols in an organization influence the organization. For instance, no one states how people should be dressed when going to work. However, it is easy to tell a manager from a common employee in the organization just from the way they have dressed.
Thirdly, symbols are also the basis through which employees of an organization are able to align their conversations regarding their past encounters. In this context, am going to evaluate how money is a symbol of how people frame their conversations in the organistaion.It allocation of the budget, it is relatively easy to tell the priorities of an organization as this will be depicted with the item with the most money allocated to it (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010). This way, it is easy to tell what the organization values and the need to make their values exemplified. These way employees are able to center their conversations regarding that item in regards to values and priorities. It is also common to find employees of an organization having discussion on the various dressing modes in the company since it is one issue that symbolize just how they are, behave and operate. When one goes dressed for an interview say in tiny shorts, it may not necessarily mean that you are not the suitable candidate for the job, but that may not be the way that symbolizes how the employees of the company dress up while going to work .If not in line with their symbols, then this could be a major disqualification factor.
The last function of symbols is also to integrate the various organization systems into meaning. While new in an organization, it is very important that one tries to find what areas of the organization may work for them. For example in a hotel where the chauffer opens your door and carries your bags to the lobby, one would be deemed to make a quick assessment that their service is very good, unlike where you have to do most of the ground work yourself. Through the way an organization behaves, it is very eat you tell how efficient their whole operation system could be (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010).
However, besides symbolic meanings, organizational culture is also influenced by other issues. The first issue is the people or the employee working in the organization. It is not only symbols that are a key basis in the formation of culture in an organization. However, the way the employees of the organization behave in terms of attitudes towards the work and the work place in regards to perception, interests and mentalities is a key influencing factor of the culture of an organization (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010). If all the employees are rude and unruly, then one will easily conclude that the organization does not care about the well being of their customers.
Another issue altogether is the gender of the employees in the sense that a specific gender may incorporate its characteristics to be perceived as the overall way in which the organization operates. For example since the airline industry is majorly dominated by hostess, people have the picture that the industry is dominated by caring and loving individuals (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010) .This is because such are natural qualities of women as compared to those of their male counterparts which make them always carry out their tasks in an aggressive manner.
The culture of an organization is also affected by the type of the business. In business or organizations where the employees have no guaranteed security in their employment, they basically tend to foster a very unfriendly organization culture. This is especially due to the fact that they are aware that they may not be required to work any longer after a certain period and thus the need to foster ethical behavior or a positive culture is elusive to them. The type of goals and objectives set bay an organization also affects its culture. If the types of strategies that have been aligned and propagated are harsh on the employees in meeting their targets, then they will be forced to also behave in the same manner (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010). For instance, it is common knowledge that the advertising industry is generally very convincing and persuasive in culture. This is because the sales employees working for the companies are paid on a commission basis and in order to attain a higher amount of salary/commission they are forced to make more sales. This therefore forces them to be very persuasive and convincing so that they can impact more positively on their customers and be able to make higher sales.
It is not only the employees who shape the culture of an organization but also the management and how it approaches the employees (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010). In case where the management is the only lead in making strategic decisions affecting the organization, it is this culture that will make the employees to be les involved or concerned with making positive change or impacting positively on the performance of the organization. However, in an environment where the employees are given mandate to contribute in making strategic decisions or in allaying their opinions, then the culture fostered will be that where the employees are active participants with a high degreed of involvement both in creating innovations and in improving productivity.
Last but not least, the general behavior of he external parties and the customers/clients that come to the organization will help shape the organizational culture (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010). For instance in the case of call centers, it is just appropriate to work in shifts that is day and night so as to cater effectively for the clients of the organization. It is due to their demand and availability that you operate.
With his issues in perspective, culture can therefore be managed and is not as rigid as implied. This could be done through various ways such as creating a reception that is receptive to change, fostering positive management values, use of many channels in the conveying of organizational problems, initializing of a better communication method to articulate and transfer positive values and belief’s in the organization (Buchanan& Huczynski, 2010).
Buchanan, D, A and Huczynski, A, (2010), Organizational behavior. Florida, FT Press.