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Soc. Written Assignment

The article provided for review discusses the author’s research findings regarding organizational culture. Previous studies such as that of international corporate giant IBM, had shown that there are differences in corporate culture between IBM’s head office and its’ international subsidiaries based on the national culture of each country involved. The author theorized that there are also differences in organizational culture within counties and even within divisions of organizations based on their respective needs and environments.

The study set out to address the following questions. First, can the differences be measured quantitatively as well as qualitatively? Secondly, if so what dimensions are used to measure their quantitative differences? Finally, are there differences due to the unique features of particular organizations? The author concluded in the affirmative on all these questions based on his research findings. However, I am a little uncomfortable with hi claim to have proven quantitative measurement capability..

This is based on stastistical analysis showing a greater probability that certain elements of organizational culture are more likely to be correlated with other specified elements. In other words, I feel that the quantitative claim is based on a relative ranking of correlation likelihood , rather than any absolute determination that hey will exist in every case and if so to what measurable degree. Therefore. I feel that the claim of quantitative analysis to be a bit of a stretch.

The author based his study on 20 units from 10 organizations in Denmark and the Netherlands. The methodology was a combination of extensive interviews and questionnaires involving key people in each unit, such as managers and technicians and a sampling of others. He studied the values and practices of each unit. The values are defined as the basic norms of what is regarded as right and wrong behavior and the general goals promoted. The author found little if any variance between the units in this regard.

Practices are the means an devices by which the values are implemented. The study concluded that they are much more likely to vary from unit to unit depending on local situations. Practices include heroes or role models, symbols, which the unit regards as important to advance its’ practices. Not only do they vary according to the mandate of the unit ( such as in a marketing division versus a manufacturing one) but also they must change when the unit or organizations’ environment changes.

For example if free trade agreements lead to increased competition, excellent customer service may become more vital, resulting in corporate culture allowing more discretion to marketers to do what is necessary to keep customers. Although the author did not express this in Darwinian terms, I feel that the adage of the survival of the fittest is apropos. In other words, if organizations want to prosper or even survive after their environments change, often they must modify their cultural practices to do so.

The author measures practice variations by subdividing his questionnaire into different dimensions to determine what factors are important in the work experience of each unit and what policies are implanted in their pursuit. For example, negotiating skills might be important for promotion consideration in 1 unit but in another professional technical ability may be more important. There may be differing attitudes regarding dress code, seniority and other issues. The extensive questionnaire is designed to uncover the predominant attitude towards the various dimensions in each unit.

Other unique factors such as the personality of the organizations’ leader can cause variance. However the organization is unlikely to survive if he is totally incompatible with the environment an needs of the organization. In conclusion, I would agree with the authors’ finding that organizational culture varies within those in the same country and even within units of the same organization, as well as from nation to nation. However, as stated above, I have some problems with the claim that this can be analyzed quantitatively.

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