Organizational Culture. Portrait of a Successful Social Leader
Organizational culture is the most important factor in the internal environment of an organization, namely the system of behavioral norms, organizational rules and values that distinguish the employees of a given organization and the organization as a whole.
From a management perspective, the culture of an organization is the way in which work is done and how people are dealt with in the organization.
Often, a complex of opinions, standards of behavior, moods, relationships shared by the organization’s personnel determine the individuality of the organization to a greater extent than the products it produces (services provided).
Organizational culture is closely related to the culture of the society in which this organization operates since the general and professional culture (medical, in relation to health care) are the basis on which the organizational culture is formed.
The concept of organizational culture, as the third most important management tool, was identified in the 1980s. The emergence and development of organizational culture has opened up new opportunities for improving the efficiency of management of organizations, especially in the social sphere, which includes healthcare.
Organizational culture components
- Worldview (ideas about the world around and about a given organization in it), guiding the behavior of personnel;
- Organizational values (objects and phenomena of organizational activity that are of particular importance for the spiritual life of employees), linking the organizational culture and the inner world of the personality of each employee;
- Styles of behavior that characterize the organization’s personnel, intra-organizational social roles;
- Social intraorganizational norms (a set of formal and informal requirements of the organization in relation to employees). The assimilation of these norms occurs during the intraorganizational socialization of each new employee;
- Psychological intra-organizational climate.
What is organizational culture?
There are several approaches to the definition of organizational culture and to its formation. Here is some of them:
Organizational culture as an accidental formation: the culture of an organization is formed by its cultural context, the cultural basis of its employees and the market in which it is organized. This approach highlights the following elements:
- national cultures;
- internal cultural concepts of entrepreneurship,
- defining the space for maneuvering;
- political culture within national cultures;
- various cultural elements introduced by the employed employees.
Organizational culture as a subsystem. According to this approach, culture is a separate part of the organization (its subsystem), the same as other factors of the internal environment, which also form the subsystems of the organization. Management and technology are identified as internal organizational factors that are adequate in terms of the value of the organizational culture; in interaction and aggregation, they form an organization.
Elements of this approach:
- each organization can define for itself the values and norms that characterize its goals;
- symbols are central to the organization;
- leadership is the main aspect of organizational culture;
- informal communication processes define a hidden hierarchy.
Organizational culture as an aspect system. Culture is a part of all subsystems of an organization. Elements of this approach are:
- the organizational structure is not only the order of groups, functions and tasks, but also the distribution in time;
- it becomes possible to choose work processes and procedures in relation to the style of work, customer behavior, needs, taking into account safety, efficiency and effectiveness;
- organizational changes show how the organization defines its problems;
- within the framework of the organizational culture, subcultures are distinguished.
There is no universal approach to the development of a common organizational culture, and the mechanisms of its formation are not fully understood. However, this process is always influenced by the cultural environment in which the organization exists. The cultural environment includes:
- social organization of society;
The factors influencing the formation of organizational culture also include the “Handy factors”:
- history of the organization;
- type of property;
- strategic goals and current objectives of the organization;
- external environment of the organization, including the dominant ideas and values in society;
As a factor in the internal environment, organizational culture is distinguished by the fact that it has a bi-directional orientation.
First, the organizational culture is oriented inwardly to the organization (to the team). The internal orientation of the organizational culture (internal aspect) is expressed in a complex of intra-organizational ideas about the purpose of the organization as a whole, which, being a deep phenomenon, determines the values, climate and style of relationships and manifests itself in the behavior of employees: the level of discipline, the management style predominantly used by the leader, the spirit of partnership and collegiality, stability of internal organizational ties, in the interaction “doctor – doctor”, “doctor – nursing staff”, “nursing staff – junior medical staff”, etc.
The internal orientation of the organizational culture is also manifested in the presence of a connection between the organizational culture and the structure of the organization. Thus, small organizations and organizations with strong linear management structures are more often characterized by a culture of power; in bureaucratic organizations, the culture of the role is of great importance, where the main source of power and respect is the power of position, that is, the role; matrix management structures bring elements of the task culture into the organization – focus on a specific task, project; innovative organizations put the culture of personality at the forefront – the personality is in the center, and within the framework of a common goal, a person is independent in performing what he or she is most qualified in. These conventionally identified variants of organizational culture can coexist in one organization in the form of organizational subcultures.
The second (external) aspect of organizational culture is closely related to the first and represents the orientation of the organization’s culture to the external environment. The external orientation is associated with the quality of the products or services produced, the culture of interaction with consumers and competitors, the dynamism and flexibility of orientation in the market environment, the maintenance of external organizational relations, etc.
In practice, the external aspect of organizational culture manifests itself in a kind of interweaving:
- artificially created images (“high” symbols – brand names, public reports, individual attributes of the organization);
- real, “low”, symbols that represent the daily characteristics of the organization, such as the attitude to the requests of customers, the quality of the goods (services) produced, etc.; for healthcare organizations – the quality of medical services provided, the relationship “doctor – patient”, “medical staff – consumer of medical services”.
There is no one-size-fits-all organizational culture. It is determined by the specifics of the industry in which the organization operates, the goals and objectives of the organization, the characteristics of technology and personnel.
The principles of organizational culture optimality
- Rhe creation of the necessary conditions to meet the needs of personnel for self-realization, namely, a positive business and social intra-organizational climate;
- The correspondence of the “high” and “low” symbols of the organization to each other and to the organizational goals.
In addition to the dominant organizational culture, there may be countercultures in the organization, with values that are opposite to the dominant culture. Often a similar picture is associated with the presence of informal opposition leaders. The presence of countercultures, as a rule, negatively affects the effectiveness of the organization, as it leads to the separation of employees, the lack of a sense of community necessary for successful work and the involvement of each employee in the affairs of the organization.
The organizational culture of a particular organization can be characterized by:
- how strong or weak – depending on the degree of influence on the behavior of personnel, on the degree of self-identification of employees in relation to the organization and its goals, on the presence of countercultures;
- as optimal or inadequate – depending on the presence and severity of the conditions necessary for the creative implementation of each employee and the entire team, expressed by indicators of job satisfaction and the level of mutual cooperation.
The best organizational culture for health care professionals can be called a strong organizational culture in terms of the degree of influence on the behavior of personnel, with the absence of countercultures, contributing to the creation of optimal conditions for the realization of the professional potential of each employee, which determine the maximum economic, medical and social efficiency of the organization. The modern ethicodeontological organizational culture of healthcare organizations is focused on high quality medical services, corresponding to the fullest satisfaction of consumers ‘(patients’) needs, and is a powerful regulator of independent systematic control by each medical worker of the results and organization of their work.
Essential features of organizational culture
- Sociality: the creation of culture by people for people, regulation of the behavior of team members;
- Conscious and unconscious perception (awareness and unconsciousness);
- Ability to change;
- The state of constant development;
Each new employee of the organization goes through the process of adaptation to the organizational culture – socialization. However, there is also a reverse process – individualization. It determines the effective influence of the employee on the social system, which occurs in the event of a conflict between the basic principles of individual and organizational cultures. The dynamic relationship between socialization and individualization affects the direction of organizational culture development.
Organizational culture functions
- Formation of corporate values and standards of behavior. Values are an important element of the culture of each employee and the organization as a whole. Values are acquired by an individual in the process of socialization: upbringing, education, communication with other people, through personal experience. Modern organizations take various measures to improve the ethical level of their employees by developing ethical standards that must be strictly observed by employees and promoting them through collective cultural events. In health care, this means adherence to ethical and deontological standards, professionalism, organization, and a high general cultural level of workers;
- Coordination of actions of employees: compliance with certain rules;
- Motivating function;
- Creation of the internal and external image of the organization;
- Attracting new valuable personnel;
- Profiling – the acquisition by an organization of unique features that distinguish it from other organizations;
- The function of team building, creating a sense of community in the name of the implementation of the mission;
- Ensuring a system of social stability and predictability in the organization by adhering to certain standards of behavior.
Each leader who comes to the organization also goes through the stage of intra-organizational socialization. Management actions are decisive in the formation and maintenance of organizational culture.
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