Developing Corporate Culture within an organisation

As defined in Assignment 1, culture is a “set values, beliefs, common understanding, thinking and norms for behavior that are shared by all members of a society”. Organizational climate, on the other hand, “is the process of quantifying the “culture” of an organization. It is a set of properties of the work environment, perceived directly or indirectly by the employees, that is assumed to be a major force in influencing employee behavior”. In laymen’s terms, it is the employees’ opinion of the workplace environment that could have a direct bearing on their performance.

For instance, a high performance climate will encourage individuals to do what is needed to meet goals, satisfy customers, and exceed expectations. Likewise, a ‘poor climate’ will result in loss of confidence in the organization, lower commitment and mediocre performance from employees. There are six factors to evaluation climate, and they are:

Clarity – Everyone knows what is expected of them.

Standards – Challenged with reasonable goals.

Responsibility – Employees given authority to accomplish tasks without checking for approval.

Flexibility – Employees are recognized and rewarded for good performance.

Rewards – Employees are recognized and rewarded for good performance.

Commitment – People are proud to belong to the organization.

Using these six factors to assess the climate at the School Employee Retirements System of Ohio (SERS), we can evaluate SERS existing climate from their scores in the Denison Organization Culture Survey.

Climate Factors

Denison Organizational Culture Survey Score

Clarity

Vision: 81%

Goals &Objectives: 82%

Strategic Direction &Intent: 78%

Standards

Coordination &Integration: 87%

Agreement: 73%

Core Values: 73%

Responsibility

Customer Focus: 79%

Flexibility

Creating Change: 77%

Empowerment: n/a

Rewards

Launch a rewards and recognition programme such as their standardized merit system to recognize those that go above and beyond.

Commitment

Capability Development: n/a

Organizational Learning: 82%

Team Orientation: n/a

SERS has definitely taken on board the feedback from their initial Denison Organizational Culture Survey scores in 2006 and progressed significantly using the Culture Change Monitor. In a mere three years, it has realized remarkable improvements across many areas of the Denison model and transformed into an organization with balanced top-down and bottom-up team work and involvement.

Task 2

Recommend ways to improve corporate climate in an organization.

SERS’s effort and accomplishment in their transformation is indeed an incredible feat. It would be wise for them to keep at their efforts in establishing an open communicative environment and aim towards creating an inclusive and meritocratic culture. American marathon runner, Joan Benoit Samuelson, was once quoted saying, “I look at victory as milestone on a very long highway.” Likewise, the journey to victory for SERS is a long road ahead. Thus it is important for SERS to consistency review the data to ascertain the details to progress forward and achieve organizational success.

SERS could perhaps make improvements in their efforts for diversity and inclusion, which would ultimately lend in creating a strong future for SERS. This can be attained through addressing the factors of difference and fully capitalizing on the potential contribution of all employees. Embedding diversity and inclusion will give SERS the competitive advantage and help cultivate a competitive culture. For example, SERS could launch a global diversity drive and arrange networking events for affinity groups whereby particularly sub-sets of employees can network and exchange experience. Here, members can come together to discuss key issues and learn from each other, very much similar to their existing leadership development programme.

On the employee development front, the SERS University is a good development to embed a learning culture within the organization. With this platform, employees are given the resources of a university to help them “advance their careers, realize personal enrichment and achieve success”. Additionally, the employee culture of SERS could be weaved into employee development course to inculcate a culture that focuses high engagement. Last but not least, it is recommended that SERS launch their own sustainability campaign to formulate a culture that is part of life and spirit of the communities it serves. It could be accomplished by involving volunteers across the company to donate time, money and resources to help those in need. Furthermore, SERS could offer educational resources such as books, classrooms, teachers to children in need.

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Task 3

Proposed a framework of organizational values that meet the specific strategic and operational needs of an organization

The Competing Values Framework (CVF) developed by Quinn, Rohrbaugh could be proposed to conduct organizational analysis of the existing organizational values. The CVF was initially developed from the research on major indicators of effective organizations. “Based on statistical analysis of a comprehensive list of effective indicators, Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983) discovered two major dimension underlying conceptions of effectiveness”. “The first dimension is related to organizational focus, from an internal emphasis on the well-being and development of people in the organization to an external focus on the well-being and development of the organization itself. The second dimension differentiates organizational preference for structure and represents the contrast between stability and control and flexibility and change”.

Plotting this to illustrate, we get a spatial model that forms four quadrants, each with its own set of distinct indicators. Graphically, the CVF can be illustrated as the following:

Each quadrant represents one of the four dimensions as depicted in the Denision Organizational Culture survey. These are the four major modes of organization and management theory. In the first quadrant on the upper left corner, we have the Human Relations Model which stresses on flexibility and internal focus. Here, cohesion, morale and human resources development are regarded as a criteria for effectiveness. On the upper right corner, we have the Open System Model. In this quadrant, emphasis is placed on flexibility and external focus, and the primary concerns are the readiness, growth, resource acquisition and external support. Moving on to the lower section of the diagram, the left quadrant is the Internal Process Model, while the right quadrant is the Rational Goal Model. The former emphasizes on control and internal focus and stresses the role of information management, communication, stability and control. The latter emphasizes on control and external focus, and looks upon planning, goal setting, productivity and efficiency as effective tools.

Using the similar methodology, an alternative model of the CVF demonstrates the applicability towards leadership. Here, eight categories of leadership behaviors emerge, and can be illustrated as the following:

Within each quadrant in this alternative model, each represents two roles that aligned with the four modes of organization and management theory.

Human Relation Model

Mentor is helpful and approachable, and is responsible for the personal development.

Facilitator promotes teamwork, cohesiveness and manages interpersonal conflict.

Open System Model

Innovator possesses the creative and out-of-the box thinking skills, whereas broker possesses the political astute, persuasive, influential and powerful.

Internal Process Model

Monitor role checks on the performance and handles the paperwork, while coordinator facilitates the structure, schedules and the coordination efforts.

Producer Role Model

Producer role is responsible for the tasks and work, and motivate employees to attain stated goals, while director role engages in planning and goal setting, sets objectives and establishes clear expectations.

This Competing Value Framework (CVF) can be a useful framework of organizational value that meets the specific strategic and operational needs of an organization. Management should take into account all of these eight roles and achieve a balance in competing demands and expectations. As such, this tool could help diagnose their existing and desired culture, and identify organizational gaps. Furthermore, it could be used as a tool for teaching and provide help in better understanding the similarities and differences of managerial leadership roles.

Task 4

Identify internal and external stakeholders of an organization.

Stakeholders in an organization are simply individuals or group that has an interest in the outcome of your objective. Internal stakeholders are defined as the “people who are already committed in their responsibilities as board members, staff, volunteers, and/or donors”. External stakeholders, on the other hand, “are the people who are impacted by your work as clients/constituents, community, partners, and others”.

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Internal Stakeholders can be represented by the following groups:

Board members:

Responsible for appointment of management in an organization, take accountability of management for their use of resources and the results of the stewardship of management. This stakeholder may engage in economic decisions which include whether to buy or sell an investment or whether to reappoint or replace the management.

Staff members:

Employees and their representative groups are interested in the well-being such as the stability and profitability of their employers. They are interested in information which enables them to assess the ability of the enterprise to provide remuneration, retirement benefits and employment opportunities.

Donors:

The investors of the organizations that provides the risk capital. They are concerned with the risk taken, and return on equity from their investments. They need information to make informed decision of either buying, holding or selling. Shareholders are also interested in financial metrics to discern the ability of the organization to meet dividend payments.

External Stakeholders can be represented by the following groups:

Clients:

Clients or customers are the source of revenue for the business.

Community Partners:

These are the association boards, regulatory bodies that are concern with the business codes of conduct that the organization follows.

Others:

Could range from their Corporate Social Responsibility partners, group alliances, the charities that are in partnership with, and the environment.

Using NHS as a case study, we can identify the following list of internal and external stakeholders:

Internal Stakeholders

External Stakeholders

Director of Public Health

Head of Health Intelligence and Information

Procurement

Director of Nursing

Public Health Strategists

Public Health Management Analyst

Director of Programmes and Services

Research Scientist

Communications

Environmental Health Intelligence Analyst

Public Health Manager

Trustees

Board committee members

Local Authority/council

Providers

Acute trusts

Patients

Service users

Customers

Suppliers

Funders

Quality assessors

LINk group

Special interest groups

Health visitors/school nurses

Wider public health workforce

Media

Task 5

Evaluate the effectiveness of an organization’s existing communication strategies.

“Communication is one of the basic functions in an organization and its importance can hardly be overemphasized”. It is the process of transmitting information, ideas, thoughts, opinions and plans between various parts of an organization. In other words, it is an active two way process that involves listening, speaking, writing and reading. Effective communication in the workplace is essential to provide clear direction and expectations to employees. This will help promote higher productivity, improved performance and increased customer loyalty and profit.

Communication strategy in an organization is defined as a management technique for determining the most effective method of communicating in an organization. It “outlines the process for communicating and sharing information on project benefits and facts to target audiences and stakeholders”. In order to evaluate the effectives of SERS’s existing communication strategies, it important to analyze this with respect to its internal and external stakeholders.

Communication among internal stakeholders

Since 2006, SERS have come a long way in establishing “increased communication and promote a culture of openness”. One avenue of communication among employees is the daily newsletter publication that provides the latest updates on “community information and events, new hires and other relevant organizational information”. In addition to that, monthly publications are handed out to employees detailing highlights from monthly board meetings to keep employee abreast on major organizational decisions. This provided employees a structured platform to keep track of major changes and also foster inclusion by encouraging participation in meetings.

The set up of cross-function teams was another initiative on the communication front. This enabled staff to work in teams to address key issues, set specific goals and milestone to ensure accountability for their team. Here, cross-functional teams were responsible in the evaluation of the “existing performance management process and the creation of competency models for every job function”. These models communicated the performance metrics by first “defining SMART goals, thus giving employees a sense of empowerment and accountability for reaching their goals”.

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Communication among external stakeholders

On the communication initiatives among external stakeholders front, not much have been mentioned in this case study. Extending this with additional research, SERS is currently exploring new ways to communication with their strategic partners. This involve identify and delivering solutions that will bring the greatest impacts to their external stakeholders. Currently, SERS is looking at providing “multiple service channels for their existing members to include face-to-face, electronic, web, multi-lingual, etcetera”. They have also “engaged in lobbying and public education to minimize the potential for detrimental legislation”.

Task 6

Develop new communication strategies of an organization that address differences in belief, values, customs and language.

The ability to communicate is essential to organizational success. We have come into an age of knowledge, and the ability to communicate effectively is the key to harness that knowledge. A good communications strategy would allow for better control and help structure issues in perspective to ultimately address the difference in belief, values, customs and language. Today, SERS has clearly identified its new model in its mission statement affirming its dedication to communication and collaboration to help them “identify, and deliver solutions for, the issues of greatest impact to their members and retirees”.

In the initial stages of the development of a new communications strategy, it would be ideal to make this a collective process and involve participation of all members. This will help facilitate the brainstorm session and pool the necessary skills and competencies to develop an appropriate communications strategy for SERS. This strategy can be structured in several stages:

Phase 1

Preliminary outline prepared by the close collaborators.

Phase 2

Outline submitted to various partners for comments and revisions. Comments are also received from individuals, groups, etc.

Phase 3

Management meets to finalize the strategy, and input/feedback from a communications expert is prompted.

Phase 4

Once established, the strategy must be communicated to partners, groups and all members in the organization.

The ideal way through the development process is to hold regular team meeting to keep everyone up to date on the needs and to keep the dossier active. This ongoing process allows the strategy to be continually verified during meetings, and evolve to adapt its existing requirements. At SERS, there are a few suggestions to be included in this new communications strategy.

SERS can introduce new technologies to facilitate communication among staff. This could be implemented by installation of instant messenger applications, video conferencing tools and email to allow internal stakeholders to communicate more efficiently.

SERS could bring its daily newsletters and monthly publications through its intranet and allow members access this information remotely or in the free time.

Embed diversity and inclusion by launching a global diversity drive and arranging networking events for affinity groups whereby particularly sub-sets of employees can network and exchange experience. Here, members can come together to discuss key issues and learn from each other, very much similar to their existing leadership development programme.

Adopt an open door policy to create an open atmosphere and allow junior members to freely discuss ideas or views on various issues.

Creation of special occasion like an “SERS” day to allow employees from different departments to get to know each other on a personal level and engage in team building activities.

Establish a feedback system to ensure a two-way process in the evaluation of colleagues and managers. Anonymity can be enforced by allowing employees to post feedback through an opaque ballot box.

Conduct periodic surveys with their internal and external stakeholders to monitor existing performance and seek out avenues for improvement.

Taking into account these suggestions for SERS coupled with the 4 stage action communications strategy, SERS will be able to achieve better manager – employee relations, bring about improvement in motivation and morale, and ultimately increased productivity and ensure organizational success.

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