Organizational Culture Introduction Organizational culture is essential for an effective business, but it can take on many different forms whether they are intended to or not. It includes the organization’s values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits. Managing how employees interpret these and embody them can change an organization’s overall culture to be more aligned with the business’s mission. Objective To become aware of the organization culture I am in and understand my role in establishing, embracing, or changing the norms for enhancing the business.
Organizational Culture Creating a Culture of Innovation1 Crafting a culture of innovation, as characterized by Zien and Buckler, has three key elements. One is an individual's own goals in life, another is having others in the enterprise with similar goals, and lastly between individuals, the enterprise, and society (for creating value). An innovative culture bonds members of the enterprise and talented people’s intrinsic desire to collaborate with others in order to create something truly new and of value in the world. Successful leaders tap into these intrinsic motivations and align extrinsic opportunities and incentives to encourage members of the enterprise. Both clarity of purpose and alignment of organizational and personal purpose are vital to sustaining the passion and commitment of a culture of innovation. 1Zien, Karen A., and Sheldon A. Buckler. "Dreams to Market: Crafting a Culture of Innovation." J. Prod. Innov. Manag. (1997): 14. 274-87
Organizational Culture Managing Knowledge Workers1 As a part of society today there is an increased number of knowledge workers. George Farris and Rene Cordero do a review on what we know about managing the knowledge workers (scientists and engineers, but more broadly than that as well). Ten categories come to fruition for how knowledge workers should be managed: 1) Human Resource Planning - in addition to being hired for their technical expertise, knowledge workers should also be hired for their 'soft skills', such as people skills, leadership potential, and business understanding 2) Rewarding - to quote the author, "Good performance is best rewarded by a good assignment.", or in other words, challenging work content. They also mention quality of life rewards as important (flex-time, on-site child care, health clubs, etc.) 3) Appraising Performance - metrics for performance are important and for knowledge workers specifically they should be individualized, agreed upon, and fair 4) Career Management - career paths for knowledge workers is becoming increasingly important as they're looking to continue to demonstrate value through knowledge 5) Cross-functional Teams - while cross-functional teams help amplify innovation and collaboration they are met with managerial challenges. To be effective, they must have clear goals (small to large) with clear expectations 6) Leading Scientists & Engineers - create a work environment which includes clear objectives, challenging work, collaboration, opportunities for growth and development of new skills, and a fair reward system linked to performance 7) Knowledge Management - a good organization will have a good knowledge management system, but also a good system for knowledge sharing 8) Demographic Diversity - demographic diversity can help facilitate performance and satisfaction by bringing in different perspectives to the task 9) Electronic Technologies - leveraging electronic technology can improve a knowledge worker's ability to perform well 10) Outsourcing - acknowledges that organizations are increasingly outsourcing their research and development functions. Choosing proprietary and challenging research and development activities to be outsourced can have a negative effect on the organization as internal knowledge workers aren't able to be exposed to the work 1Farris, George F., and Rene Cordero. "What Do We Know About Managing Scientists and Engineers: A Review of Recent Literature." (2004)
Organizational Culture Exercise Take something that is seen as great today, like the iPhone, then generate five questions for each categoryof “Who”, “What”, “When”, “Where”, and “How” and attach “in the future” to the end of each question. Challenge assumptions made about the product.For example, for "Who", you could ask:1) Who are the iPhone's top consumers and who will they be in the future?2) Who is dissatisfied with the iPhone and will they be continue to be dissatisfied in the future?3) Who is the biggest threat and will they continue to be in the future?4) Who is producing the materials for the iPhone and will they be in the future?5) Who is not using the iPhone and will they be in the future?Once finished there will be a list of 50 questions that force thinking of the present situation and also the future. After answering each question ask "Why?", "Why not?", and "What's the alternative?". This will begin to highlight opportunities that exist.