VISIBLE ARTIFACTS

The corporate culture of an organization can be organized at many levels. The “visible artifacts” or the developed environment of the company are its manner of visible or audible behavior patterns, unspoken doctrine, architecture, technological level, employee orientation, materials, public documents, characters, credo statements or even books of discipline. This level of cultural analysis is difficult data to evaluate because it is easy to find and difficult to interpret.

Descriptions can be given on how behavior patterns are discernible among the members, but it is common not to be able to know the real reason why the organization acts the way it does.

Typically speaking, all organizations have some set of values that guide their behavior. As a result of the elusive nature of an innate value system, it is difficult to observe values directly. This forces organizations to research their character documents, doctrines or interview key personnel to glean any concrete information. The problem with this “value” information is that it is only a personal perception of why they behave the way they do, rather than the real motivation which is generally cloaked or unconscious.

To get to the root of culture, this concealed or unconscious motivation behind the outward behavior must be discovered. These learned values are forces behind the decision-making process. The decision made is based on an assumption which is frequently soon forgotten. Assumptions which are taken for granted are very powerful, ingrained characteristics. Power renders assumptions less debatable or adjustable than given values. Some should educate, businesses should be profitable, medicine should prolong life and churches should be religious. These are assumptions even though they are often considered values.

Blake And MoutonThe managerial grid model (1964) is a style leadership model developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton. This model originally identified five different leadership styles based on the concern for people and the concern for production. state that Corporate Culture is: The attitudes, belief and values of its people along with traditions, precedents and past practices of the organization comprise that organization’s culture, its way of doing business. It may be integrated around values of achievement and excellence, woven around seniority and benefits, or may reveal disinterest, apathy and hopelessness. It significantly influences how people apply or withhold their energies. To attempt to change a firm which is ineffective or marginally effective into a highly effective one despite its culture, at the worst is likely to be futile and at the best, of limited success. It may even generate stronger negative attitudes and deeper resistance’s and produce a worse corporate performance than formerly. 

They believe culture does have an effect on how the organization is managed. They continue.

Corporate culture results in organization work which is:

Completely Sound:
attitude, values and beliefs, traditions, precedents and practices which currently influence corporate members have the effect of stimulating efforts to produce, achieve and accomplish; excellence is a value throughout the corporation; it has a strong and constructive impact on short term operations and long term planning.

As Sound As Unsound: corporate culture contains some positive elements which promote productive effort and accomplishment but others which restrict people from applying their energies so as to further excellence; traditions, “the company way,” and “how things were done in the past” tend to stifle approaches based upon actualities; “status quoism” is a key to understanding attitudes, efforts and actions.

Completely Unsound: traditions, precedents and practices, expectations, beliefs and values bear little relationship to productive achievement or profit seeking; apathy and indifference are in the warp and woof of the culture; militant resistance and antagonism toward the corporation are evident.

Controlling values can be divided into:

(1) ultimate, non-debatable, taken-for-granted values, for which the term “assumptions” is more appropriate; and

(2) debatable, overtly espoused values for which the term “values” is more applicable.

Daniel R. DenisonDaniel R. Denison is Professor of Organization and Management at IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland and Chairman and founding partner of Denison Consulting. reports a recent study showing that organizational culture has a close relationship to the effectiveness of five organizations studied. He goes on to use Procter & Gamble and Texas Commerce Bank shares as examples of highly consistent cultures.

There are different positions taken on the cohesiveness of organizational culture. Many scholars believe that a strong culture with a “well-defined set of guiding beliefs” is better than a weak culture that has less of a bonding nature. “Not only do individual businesses have strong cultures, but links among business, the banking industry and the government are also cultural and very powerful. Japan, Inc., is actually an expansion of the corporate culture idea on a national scale.”

Organizations have ingrained cultures. It is believed that a strong culture denotes agreement among the members of the organization. Also, strong culture promotes cohesion of all those who wish to be an active part of the organizational structure or membership body. The extent of the bond and harmony that remains among the values and ideologies, is a measure of the internal fit or attachment that characterizes the culture.