Corporate culture Essay
The culture of an organization is the set of values, beliefs, behaviors, customs, and attitudes that helps its members understand what the organization stands for, how it does things, and what it considers important”(Griffin, 49). In other words, “the way things work around here” (Dr. Williams). In order for any small business or large corporation to be successful, the employees must understand what is expected of them. While things might be slightly different in a large corporation versus a small “mom and pop shop”, the goal of both is the same. MAKE THE BUSINESS MONEY. The topic of my paper will be on makes a good corporate culture.
Running a business is not so much about the particular business but instead about the “sound business philosophies” that are shared by every level in the organization (Chapin, 1). Fortunately for smaller business’s, finding those “business philosophies” are not as hard or have the need to be as complex as big corporations. According to Steven Chapin, author of “Building a Sound Company Culture”, there are four basic building blocks that serve as a strong foundation for the company. These four blocks are integrity, leadership, dedication, and service. “Integrity is the keystone” (Chapin, 1). Complete honesty is the ethical way and should be the only way that one does business. Without integrity, there would be no trust between your company and the customers. When clients and consumers trust you, they want to do business with you and will continue to do business with you until they feel as though the integrity has been sacrificed. The second “building block” for a sound corporate culture is leadership (Chapin 1). Leadership is not only a quality that upper management and managers need to have, but instead it is a quality that all members of a business should develop (Chapin, 1). If a company only had one “leader” then the company would not be very successful because that particular person would be only person to incorporate change in the company. With many employees having leadership qualities, a company is able to better itself with by having multitude of ideas to choose from to better the company. If a company wishes to better leadership qualities then the company should encourage and “active participation in technical organizations, engineering associations, and community affairs” (Chapin, 1). Dedication to ones own company is doing what is expected of you and then giving more that people expect (Chapin, 2). Steven Chapin suggests giving customers “10% more than the agreement calls for”. While this might seem like a waste, it makes the client happy and your extra effort is actually a “cost-effective marketing tool” (Chapin, 2). Giving the same amount of effort in the office as you give a client not only builds a solid team but creates a more rewarding work environment (Chapin, 2). Dedication builds two good things: Better relationships with the clients and better corporate culture. The last “Building block” according to Chapin is Service. Giving excellent service to a client can sometimes make up for any mistake that may have happened in the delivery of a product and how fast you respond to correct the error can keep that customer with your company.
Thomas C. Mawhinney has a different approach to making a good corporate culture. His six ideas are the managers behavior, employee selection, the external culture, establishing a clear corporate mission, keep the mission up front, managers must reflect the desired culture, and employees learning must be ongoing, (Mawhinney, 23-74). Mawhinneys first idea is the managers behavior. Studies indicate that the single greatest influence on the work culture is the manager (Mawhinney, 28). The speed of the boss is the speed of the team, said Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca. Employees in all lines of work must realize that the best way to succeed in his or her job status is to pay attention to what the boss does opposed to what the boss says (Mawhinney, 37). A common coined phrase is Actions speak louder that words and a managers decision can send both a bad and good examples to employees of how to operate in daily business affairs. The next concept is employee selection. Some of the high-performance organizations, such as IBM, carefully select their employees to fit in with the existing corporate culture (Mawhinney, 24). They become IMB-ers (Mawhinney, 24). Not all people want to work in a suit and tie environment but it does help if there is a certain uniform-standard that all employees, including upper management, adhere too (Mawhinney, 37). Mawhinneys next concept is about the external culture of a company. A companys internal culture can be strongly influenced by the culture of the community that surrounds it. American companys that set up business overseas quickly learn that they must respect the local cultural beliefs if they expect to have a good relationship with the people of the place where they are (Mawhinney, 29). The next concept is having a clear established corporate mission. This organizations exists for the purpose of? that is the question asked by Mawhinney. Mawhinney states that if the question in the previous line proves difficult to answer then you have discovered a good place to start improving your corporate culture. A clear and easily understandable organizational mission statement makes it much easier for people within the organization to set priorities, make decisions, and determine values (Mawhinney, 42). It helps everyone in the organization answer the basic question, What am I doing here (Mawhinney, 45)? Many managers seem to assume that all employees can answer without ever really finding out whether their employees can or not (Mawhinney, 45). It is imperative that managers clearly communicate to all members of the organization what the purpose of the organization really is (Mawhinney, 45) because without that understanding employees do not feel that they are essential to the organization, its functions, or its future direction (Mawhinney, 45). The results can be mediocre job performance, absenteeism, low corporate loyalty, and high turnover (Mawhinney, 47). The fourth idea is to keep the mission up front. Once an organizations purpose has been clearly established, the manager must ensure that it is continually kept in front of the employees (Mawhinney, 54). The mission should be brought up at every meeting, every function and should be visibly posted somewhere in the workspace (Mawhinney, 54). Mawhinneys next idea is to keep employee learning an ongoing thing. Technology is constantly expanding and changing in so many ways that people can sometimes lose track of everything and how it works. That is why, according to Mawhinney, that employees must be constantly learning all of the new techniques, new spec.s on items and other related info. They (the employees) need to know what the organization expects in the way of quality products or service and how to achieve it (Mawhinney, 59).
The third and final author that has inspired and helped me write this paper is Lawrence M. Miller. In his book, American Spirit: Visions of a new corporate culture, Miller tells about his plan for building a good corporate culture. The first principle is the purpose principle. WE all have a need to confirm our self-worth and that need cannot be achieved in the absence of a sense of contribution to some higher purpose (Miller, 15). This principle is much like Mawhinneys idea of letting the employee know What does he/she do here. The most successful companies have defined their aims in terms of product or service and benefits to customers in a manner that can inspire and motivate their employees (Miller, 15). A competitive company will make the much needed connection between the souls of the employees and the work of the employees which will, it turn, benefit the company with a good out flow of energy released. Milers next principle is the excellence principle. Our culture values comfort, both material and psychological (Miller, 15). We feel as though we should achieve personal satisfaction and fulfillment from our job (Miller, 15). According to miller the only way to encourage excellence is to provide dissatisfaction (Miller, 15). Miller also states that a workers satisfaction is often in conflict with excellence. The average employee would rather not come under any tests and trials and it is this motivation, in part, that keeps them going (Miller, 15). The consensus principle is Millers next idea. Managers are stuck in the culture of command (Miller, 15). An organizations ability to bring ideas together and the challenge of making the employees/managers think creatively will be the success of a company (Miller, 16). It is important, according to this principle, for the employee to share his thoughts and feelings. It is also important for the employee to change his efforts from physical energy to mental energy (Miller, 16). It is This change in task that necessitates a change from command to consensus (Miller, 16).
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