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Organizational Behavior

Layers & Functions of Organizational Culture & Types

Associated with Normative Beliefs


Annette Buchanan-Phillips

MBA Candidate: Ashford University Online


1. Member identity- The degree to which employees identify with the organization as a whole rather than with their type of job, or field of professional expertise.

2.Group emphasis- The degree to which work activities are organized around groups rather than individuals.

3. People focus- The degree to which management decisions take into consideration the effect of outcomes on people within the organization.

4.Unit integration- The degree to which units within the organization, are encouraged to operate in a coordinated or interdependent manner.

5.Control- The degree to which rules, regulations, and direct supervision are used to oversee and control employee behavior.

6. Risk tolerance- The degree to which employees are encouraged to be aggressive, innovative, and risk seeking.

7. Reward criteria- the degree to which rewards, such as salary increases and promotions are allocated on employee performance criteria in contrast to seniority, favoritism, or other non-performance factors.

8.Conflict tolerance- The degree to which employees areencouraged to air conflicts and criticisms openly.

9. Means-end orientation: The degree to which management focuses on results or outcomes.

10. Open Systems Focus- The degree to which the organization monitors and responds to changes in the external environment.

These codes of normative behaviors are relative to the nature or focus of an organization; and seem to be a common thread running through most stratified and or matrix organizations. Only the boundary-less organizational structure may be an outlier. Primarily, those are needs based interactions, and the cohesion is not to only one organization or group. They are instead, a

Layers & Functions of Culture -2- A. Buchanan-Phillips


conglomeration of interacting wholly separate entities. Organizational culture has four distinct concentric layers. The core of cultural interaction is based in shared assumptions. Cultural values are built upon those, shared behaviors rest upon those and cultural symbols denote the "membership" or belonging to that organizational system.

B. Three Phases to Embedding Culture in an Organization

1. Establishing Behavioral Norms

A. Candidates are selected carefully, according to standardized procedures, focusing on the desired traits of upper management objectives.

B. Education tends to instill the desired values, humiliation cues, self questioning and openness to accepting the company’s established norms, directives, and goals.

C. Introducing measures of success, that are attainable and recognizable, with distinct on track benchmarks.

2.Enforcing Conformity to Organizational Norms

A. Rewards and punishments are consistent and comprehensive which under write the company culture positively, through achievement and incentives and awards. The ultimate negative punishment being expulsion from the culture.

B. Emphasizing company norms and values, there is a connection of positive affiliation with those who are successfully acculturated. Esteem grows with accolades, awards, benefits, perks, and cultural symbols. Those physical badges of honor help employees justify the extra hours invested to achieve them. They provide status, and hierarchy within the group.

3. Reinforcing Established Culture

A. Little stories with "insider" relevance, buzz words and phrases, and professional or culture specific vernacular, create a communication loop or enclosure which further reinforces the organizational membership. Company logo clothing, jewelry, and implements or tools underscore the level of belonging, the pecking order and achievements within an organization.

Methods of Socialization (B) -3- A. Buchanan-Phillips

B. Role models provide an example for achievement and the status earned by adhering to cultural norms, and climbing the corporate success ladder. They are lauded and displayed as an "insider" standard, and goal for attainment, and competition. Employees are encouraged to admire, emulate and exceed, their stellar performance. They personify something to strive for, and the exhibition of striving behavior indicates to management, who has been acculturated toward high achievement. Some employees, are expected to mainstay, not actually striving for more than acceptance and mediocrity. Those employees are measured close to outlier while still "insider." They range from happy medium to "also ran."








DeCenzo, David A., & Robbins, Stephen P.; Fundamentals of Management, (3rd Edition). Prentice Hall; Upper Saddle River, NJ:2001.

Hellriegel, Don; Slocum, John W. Jr.; & Woodman, Richard W.;

Organizational Behavior, (8th Edition). South-Western College Publishing; Cincinnati, OH: 1998.


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