The idea of culture has been a significant and popular part in the study of organisational research. It is presumed that strong organisational culture is symbolic of excellent management which organisations own (Peters and Waterman, 1982). Hence analysts are desired to analyse this question: can cultured be supervised?
The effort of this article is to analyse this question of great importance. It could be necessary to focus on the key aspects rather than provide an all-encompassing overview, for the sake of supplying a convincing argument. This essay's framework is as follow. Firstly, it'll present some books reviews revealing the prior studies upon this question. You will find three diverse views: culture can't be managed; culture can only just be manipulated under some contingencies; culture can be supervised. Secondly, a comprehensive and in-depth evaluation will be conducted. It'll first refute the former two quarrels and then demonstrate why the third view is backed. Finally, conclusions will be attracted predicated on the evaluation.
Before showing the overview of various literatures on controlling culture, it seems useful to determine the idea of organisational culture. Organisational culture is a widely used term, since there is some extent of ambiguity on its definition. For instance, Schein (1985) defined culture as the atmosphere and custom that organisations develop of their employees, the activated value and broadly accepted beliefs of any organisation. Relating to Brown (1995), organisational culture is described as a batch of norms, faiths, concepts and the behavioural patterns that jointly provide organisations distinctive features. Schein (1985) categorised three degrees of the cultural happening, which can be: artifacts and creations, principles and basic assumptions. The basic assumptions, which mean those ideas that are taken for granted, are described as culture by Schein. Regarding to Smircich (1983), there are two different views to spell it out culture: culture as something an organisation is and culture as something an company has. Ogbonna (1993) proven these two views appeared to be mutually exclusive. On the main one hands, when culture is viewed as something that an organisation has, it turns out to be a potent device for organisations, which forms the behaviour, supplies the employees within the organisation the sense of identities and packages the extensively accepted principle. Alternatively, when the culture can be regarded as what an company is, the concepts of the culture and the organisation become inseparable.
There was always a drastic controversy on whether the culture can be managed. Regarding to Ogbonna and Harris (1998), these viewpoints could be categorised into three types: culture cannot be managed; culture might be only manipulated under some contingencies; culture can be handled. Firstly, many experts, such as Martin and Siehl (1983), argue that culture is accessible itself and can't be been able by people. They suggested that because the culture is described as assumptions, it simply prevails itself without people's consciousness. Krefting and Frost (1985) offered that if organisational culture is shaped unconsciously and unorganised, it is possible that studies for taking care of the culture would not successful. Some research workers looked at the culture as what an organisation is, so they stated that the culture and the company are interactive, to some extent, the organisation is the culture. Thus Martin (1985) argued that organisational culture's changes can't be handled but might be manipulated when some contingencies happen, which became the next viewpoint we pointed out.
However, other analysts argued that culture can be handled, because they looked at culture as an organisational variable which, very much like other organisational variables, was subordinate to the control of management. They emphasised the study on the management approaches to immediately control the culture. The proponents of the perspective got provided many social change models to facilitate social management (for example, Bate (1994); Bowman and Faulkner (1997)). Berger and Luckmann (1966) confirmed that culture is a cultural phenomenon that is based upon individuals behaviours and relationships. Researchers presumed the leaders are likely to create and maintain culture. Hampden-Turner (1990) provided that leaders developed the culture, the culture shaped the employees, and culture is one of the leaders' tasks.
Firstly, the first stance, which argued culture cannot be managed, is logically inconsistent as well as empirically flawed. The basic approach to control culture by implication could be classified into two types: conforming, which means maintaining the existing order, and transforming, which means changing the prevailing pattern (Bate, 1994). Although there are extensive occasions that organisations' changing work degenerated into changing behaviours and didn't change the culture, which indicated that the attempts to manage culture is unsuccessful, it does not imply that culture cannot be supervised. There also existed many samples that the culture within organisations had been successfully transformed. Ogbonna (1993) pointed out that:
"By implication, if the worthiness system guiding associates' behaviour is no longer appropriate, it must be changed by whatever is appropriate by manipulating the elements identified".
In this way, culture change isn't just possible but also advisable.
The second debate is that culture can only be manipulated under some contingencies, such as certain crisis. This assumption may be challenged by some real examples. In the literature, there are also a few examples indicating the significantly change of the culture within the organisation. There are even more appropriate good examples in the contemporary business fields. Organisations have to change their existing culture, in order to be constant with the exterior environment. For instance, now many companies are designed to change their business strategy to customer-centric strategy, in order to preserve their competitiveness. All the staffs are trained to develop the knowing of the new strategy, and the existing culture is facing the silent but adamant change.
Since it's been proven that the culture can be handled, it is useful to go over how to control culture and what significant factors make a difference the culture management. To be able to deal with the problem of controlling organisational culture, the very first thing must identify the impacts of the prevailing culture as well as the required culture. Then your organisations need to evaluate if the current culture have to be changed, looked after or manipulated. Since culture change can be a difficult, poor and even annoying process, the change of success is low in particular when the staffs hardly understand or support the aim of the organisational change (Area et al, 2004). Hence it is possible to use the data management system to facilitate the culture management. As we know, knowledge management system could enhance knowledge sharing, so it is useful to help to notify the employees of the organisations of the purpose of the culture management, as well as convince them to simply accept and support the leader's decision. Schein (2000) suggested that it is better to facilitate cultural evolution somewhat than implement drastic culture change. Matching to McDermott and O'Dell (2001), it is more effective to align the knowledge management system with the organisation local climate than to immediately change the organisational culture. It is worth it mentioning that handling culture will not imply that the culture would be completely evolved. Culture management includes not only changing culture but also creating culture, preserving culture and even abandoning culture (Ogbonna, 1993). Matching to Silverzweig and Allen (1976)'s Normative Systems Model, there are four steps to change the culture: analysing the existing culture; exceptional desired culture; modifying the prevailing culture; sustaining the desired culture. Within this model, the most important parts will be the critical factors including authority, work-team culture, information systems, performance and incentive systems, training, first-line guidance and results orientation, which can be vital for taking care of culture. For instance, work-team cultures, which are also known as subcultures, are the the different parts of the organisational culture. Hence each subculture should be developed positively to be constant with the organisational culture. Meanwhile, the information systems within the company also should support the required culture (using knowledge management system to facilitate culture management will be a ideal example). Performance and pay back systems are applied to signify what employees should do so as to guarantee that employees' activities are consistent with the required culture. First-line supervisors are expected to cope with the obstacles and conflicts between the management and the employees. In other words, they are in charge of bridging the gap between them.
Although the Normative Systems Model has shown many essential aspects that can affect the consequence of culture management, there are still some issues of its feasibility. Some researchers argued that the true business situations are not as ideal as the model hypothesised. For instance, in this model, employees are expected to experience the required culture by going to the workshop. However, it is possible that people's performance in the workshop could vary from the true work condition. Employees might cooperate positively in the workshop, while heading back to the regimen they are familiar with at work. Then the effect of exceptional desired culture may not be achieved.
Culture management has been an important part of organisational examination since 1970s. However there still is available the disagreement on whether the culture can be been able or not. The goal of this article is to try to elucidate the author's viewpoint on this question. This essay first analysed the three different views from earlier literatures on the feasibility of culture management. It had been demonstrated that the debate, which insisted that culture cannot be managed, was incorrect both logically and empirically. Then your second position, which considered that culture can only be manipulated, was turned out improper as well by real instances that happen in business fields. Though the analyses, this article drew the final outcome that culture can be managed. Then we talked about how to manage culture and what factors should be focused on to guarantee the culture can be maintained successfully. The knowledge management systems and Normative Systems Model were showed. The questions on the model's validity was analysed later on. It is worth noted that although the model appropriately referred to essential factors for culture management, the genuine business conditions aren't as ideal as the model assumed. Empirical data also proved that it could always be a tough task to manage culture as prepared. Further studies have to place emphasis on the true effective solutions for managing culture.