Organizational culture and behavior is a common terminology applied in contemporary management. This terminology portrays two significant aspects of human management. The terms are associated with employee psychology, and can closely be applied to enhance employee efficiency and production in the organization. Organizational values are the relatively permanent and deeply held organizational preferences for individuals or groups. These values are the basis on which attitudes and personal choices are formed. Organizational values are the most stable and enduring characteristics of organizations. Organizations have value systems referred to as organizational culture. This paper explains the following key concepts and terminologies; organizational culture and behavior, diversity, communication, business ethics, and change management.
Organizational Culture and Behavior in Business Environments
The terms organizational culture and behavior are closely related, as each has significant influence on the other. Organizational behavior assists in studying the way people behave in an organization. It forms a significant area in management practice. The term is restricted to the study of behavior within an organization (Mawhinney, 1993).
Organizational culture equips employees with a clear understanding of the way of doing things in an organization. It is the source of organizational stability. In the same strength, it can also be a barrier to organizational change. Each organization has its own unique culture, and based on its strength, it can have an important influence on the attitudes and behavior of organizational members. Both organizational culture and behavior in organizations are concerned with corporate values, workplace decisions, and organizational ethical standards. The ethical behavior in business does reflect social and cultural factors. The ethical behaviors are also highly personal and are shaped by an individual’s own values and experiences. In our daily lives, we face situations in which we can make ethical or unethical decisions. We make our choices based on what we have learned from parents, family, teachers, peers, friends, and others. From what we have learned, the organization develops a set of values that influence ethical decisions (Mawhinney, 1993).
Cultural Diversity in Work Environment
The workplace business environment includes employees and customers with a myriad range of needs, interests, abilities, and cultural backgrounds. Diversity, particularly cultural diversity within business organizations must be well understood and valued. Otherwise, misunderstandings of all kinds may occur which may affect the overall success of the organization. Cultural backgrounds influence how people perceive the world, what they value, and how they interact with others. Generally, some key recognized cultural dimensions are; race, gender, ethnicity, age, and physical disability. In addition to these core cultural dimensions for individual organizational members, organizations such as corporations have behavioral expectations, values, and patterns of operation, that is, corporate culture (Hubbard, 2004).
The organizational culture defines organization’s shared values and behavioral expectations, that is, the way things are being done in the firm. Organizational culture includes: beliefs, values, assumptions, patterns of behavior, norms, customs, rituals and symbols that represent organization’s vision and its expectations on employees (Mawhinney, 1993). Learning organization culture and adapting to it includes becoming familiar with formal statements of purpose, philosophy, and standards of conduct. Listening to others in the organization and adhering to formal and informal business behaviors offer insight about organizational culture.
Gender is also an important element of diversity. Within cultural organizational groups, the expectations of society affect how men and women interact with each other. The cultural attitudes toward the appropriate roles of men and women vary throughout the world. There is a tendency of men and women to communicate in different ways. In American and some other countries history, society expected men to be decisive and to use language to assert independence and maintain group position; women were to be nurturing and use language to create connections and relationships. Sometimes, these cultural tendencies are extended in everyday business communications. For instance, women may be likely to discuss a problem with others and seek input before making decisions; men may make decisions without consultation because they believe it is their role to do so (Hubbard, 2004).
Other examples of diversity include age, ethnicity and race. The ages and stages in life for individuals, affect how they view the world around them and what they value. Different ages with special roles in society are associated differently by cultures. The life stage changes typifies the way roles change as people mature and also indicates differing interests and needs. Race and ethnic symbols are a source of pride in cultural heritage. Since there is no clear definition for race and ethnicity, someone may label another in away that he finds inaccurate and offensive. Such labeling can be a barrier to communication, even if unintentional (Hubbard, 2004).
Business Ethics and Communication in Work envionments
Organizational business ethics refer to the use of the general ethical rules to business behavior. For instance, if society views dishonesty to be unethical, then anybody in business who is dishonest with business stakeholders, such as, employees, customers, suppliers, creditors, shareholders, and competition, is acting unethically (Samovar, 2009).
Businesses are keen to ethics because the public expects a business to have reasonable levels of ethical performance and social responsibility. Ethical rules apply to protect society against various types of harm, and business is expected to abide by these ethical standards. Individuals who work in the organization are also protected by high ethical standards. Majority of employees resent privacy intrusion, being ordered to perform something against their personal convictions, or executing work under dangerous conditions. Generally, businesses that treat their people with dignity and integrity reap rewards in the form of improved productivity. People feel good working for an ethical firm because they understand they are protected along with the general public. In contrast, most people do not feel about happy about working for organizations that demonstrate behaviors that are unethical (Samovar, 2009).
Organizational communication involves the transmission of information within the organization. It reflects on the kind of information the organization as a whole intends to transmit and how best to do it. This information must be consistent with organizational culture, ethical values, behavior, objectives, and others (Samovar, 2009).
Organizations are characterized as systems consisting of numerous subsystems. Each of these subsystems is separate and definable, but interrelated and interdependent also. The organization itself is a subsystem of the external business environment in which exists. This external environment includes aspects of social, cultural, political, and economic influences. Changes in these factors brings a lot of pressure on the organization, to which it has to cope and then balance itself in order to survive (Samovar, 2009).
Organizational subsystems include structure, technology, objectives, psychosocial, and management factors. Structures display the manner tasks are networked with definite lines of authority and responsibility. Technology represents the means and methods used to achieve organizational objectives. These different subsystems need to be networked for organizational effectiveness. This integration is facilitated by the managerial subsystem with responsibility to regulate, control and integrate the subsystems through different organizational levels. The perspective of systems helps in planning for and managing change and guarding against resistances to change (Hubbard, 2004).
In sum, it is important to understand the role played by the key concepts and terms of organizational behavior in determining the effectiveness of the organization. Primarily, these terms assist leaders and managers to have a better understanding of organizations working environments.
Hubbard, E. (2004). He Diversity Scorecard. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Mawhinney, T. (1993). Organizational Culture, Ruled Governed Behavior and Organizational Behavior. New York: Routledge.
Samovar, L., Porter, R., & McDaniel, E. (2009). Communication between Cultures. London: Cengage.