Archive for Februari, 2009

“The Role of Organizational Culture and Effectiveness of Public Organization”

by Dr. Stehpen Adei, rector and director general of GIMPA

I deem it a great honor and privilege to be called upon to deliver the keynote address for this workshop, which is to deliberate on how the cultures of public-sector organizations in Ghana can affect their development, survival and overall worth to the communities these organizations are supposed to serve.
Mr. Chairman, over the years researchers have increasingly investigated organizational culture and the possible links to organizational performance and effectiveness. According to some, organizational culture, more than any other factor, dictates an organization’s ability to survive and succeed.
If this organizational culture would be so important for the survival and success of public-sector organizations, we would like to understand what it is all about. With out getting too theoretical, let us say that organizational culture refers severally but commonly to the “shard pattern of beliefs, assumptions and expectations” of the organization’s members. In the words of Hofstede (1995).” Culture is collective programming of the mind which distinguishes one group or category of people from another.” Within on organization this is defined by group norms, espoused values, rulers of the game, habits of thinking, mental models, attitude to time, etc. In essence, an organization’s culture is the repository of what its members agree about. Organizational culture affects all aspects of organizational life from the ways in which people interact with each other, perform their work and dress, to types of decisions made in an organization, its policies, procedures and strategy considerations; how top management deals with various situations ; how people actually spend their time at work; and the organization’s physical setting, etc.
In our local context, organizational culture may seen in :
– The attitude toward leadership and style. For example. We tend to put our leaders on pedestals and accept high hierarchical distance between the governors and subordinates, In companies in America, for example, the managing director and a messenger may eat at the same “takeaway” and ride in the same bus.
– Attitude to time management : Ghana meantime or Greenwich meantime.
– Work planning and performance monitoring versus “aban adwuma” (government work ) mentality.
– Propensity to consume, not to save invest.
– “Connection” versus merit system, etc.

The point that I am trying to make is that organizational values obtained from the culture are important because a firm or institution’s underlying values and beliefs define the organization’s philosophy for achieving success. Thy reflect the view of the way “ things should be” in an organization that is shared by organizational members. That philosophy will provide a sense of common direction for its members and guidelines as to acceptable behaviors in their daily operations.
Positive organizational culture have been linked to increased staff alignment, resulting in enhanced organizational effectiveness, heightened consensus regarding strategic direction.
Mr. Chairman, we thing that leadership and organizational culture are tightly intertwined. Leaders must have a deep understanding of the identity and impact of the organizational culture in order to communicate and implement new visions and inspire follower commitment to the vision ( Schein, 1990) Transformational leaders help shape and maintain the desired culture of an organization ( Schein, op cit), which may link to organizational effectiveness. Some researchers have suggested that transformational leadership and organizational culture contain the key to understanding organizational effectiveness ( base and Avolio, 1992)
High transformational leaders possess strong organizational cultures and carry out culture-building activities, especially the customer-orientation function, to a greater extent then other leaders do. Yuk (1994) defined transformational leadership as the process of influencing major changes in the attitudes and assumptions of organizational members and building commitment for the organization’s mission, objectives and strategies (p. 271).
The current thinking in the area of leadership is devoted to the leader’s role in maintaining the organizational culture or in changing it to implement a change of direction dictated by a new vision ( Bryman, 1992) . The researcher suggested that leader could alter or impact the organizational culture.
Executive leaders should put their energies into developing a strong organizational culture that supports activities such as managing change, achieving goals, coordinating teamwork , and customer orientation in organization. These activities contribute to organizational effectiveness. Successful organizations, over time, are likely to possess a strong, well-defined culture. Organizational culture must support activities linked to the mission of the organization.
Mr. Chairman, I would now like to turn my attention to public-sector organizations and organizational culture with particular reference to Ghana. Traditionally we have the civil service, which one may label the secretariat of government and other state-owned institutions. While they share some similarities, they differ in many ways and as such will be advisable to speak of the civil service and public sector organizations with the latter referring to entities other than the civil service.
The service inherited a unique culture from colonial times. The system has no doubt been disturbed, especially by the curse of military interventions and so called revolutions. In the main its culture remains the same, sadly to say with some worsening trends after the old crop of professional, committed and industrious public spirited civil servants of the A.I . Adu and Debrah “types” moved on. The Culture of the service in recent times is not something to write home about . It is still a rule base system; managerial leadership has been weak, and over the years the civil service got political. Especially with the introduction of political units from 1882 and politically appointed chief directors.
The situation is compounded by poor conditions of service, logical limitations and a less than ideal elected official civil servant relationship. The whole culture of the civil service requires urgent attention.
Lately one hears of s “ chicken and egg” argument. The leadership of the service argues that all will be ”kosher” if civil servants are paid well. On the other hand, some of the authorities complain of poor work ethics and attitudes that undermine government policy and programs. The situation is compounded by a half-baked decentralization that has resulted in the creation of a parallel system . But this debate cannot go on forever. Urgent action is needed.
It is my considered view that improving the culture of the civil service will require more than a uni dimensional action of salary increase. Hard as it is to implement, it requires a combination of effective managerial leadership, competency based training, a performance-linked incentive system, and improved conditions of service. To ask a government which already spends the greater share if its revenues on public-sector wages and salaries to pay more is quite simplistic. This is particularly so in a situation whereby devoting 100 percent of current government revenues will still pay salaries which most of us will agree will be inadequate. Thus there is the need to link together revenue collection, economic growth and improvement in public-service wages in the long run.
As to the wider public service, I have a stronger message. Since they tend to be well-defined entries a university, a secondary school, a factory, a service unit- the scope for a positive revolutionary culture change is greater. I say revolutionary because we are dealing with ingrained traditional attitudes militating against affective time management, productivity “ aban adwuma”(government work – which is minimum effort for maximum gain), and a high propensity to cheat and steal ( which we have given a wrong label as corruption). Reversing organizational culture in such a milieu is both doable and challenging.
I believe the key to that is effective transformational leadership, which provides vision, goals and discipline as well as models core moral and ethical values. I will require managers “ who walk their talk,” and this will gain the confidence of their staff to manage change.
Unfortunately , the way leadership of public institutions is appointed makes that difficult. In the first place, the tendency is to appoint boards based on party affiliation, old school boyism and girlism, etc. I must add that the situation has improved markedly in recent times. What has not changed is the simultaneous appointment of boards and CEOs with the result that CEOs don’t feel accountable to their boards but appointing authorities. The situation is the same whether one is talking about government appointments or those appointed by constitutional bodies such as the National Media Commission. Unless organizational culture improves, we cannot expect the landscape of corporate governance to improve.
Another factor that constrained improvement in organizational cultures in the public sector has to do with our socialist past, of seeing these entities as employment bureaus, and the fear also of declaring redundancies and insistence on doing a day’s work for a month’s pay, etc. It is clear that the public sector is not a major employer of Ghanaians; it employs only about 800,000 out of a workforce of about 10 million. Yet the efficiency of the civil service and public sector will determine the growth of the economy and employment generation of the private sector. Thus, it is incumbent on us to do whatever it takes to improve the culture of the public service, generate growth and improve overall levels of employment in the economy.
I believe that we can grow the economy of Ghana at double digit rates, though it will require more than World Bank IMF straight jacketed policies. That would require a streamlined, capable, motivated, disciplined and accountable civil service and public sector. And the key to that is better organizational leadership and culture.
Chairman, let me conclude by making reference to efforts at public sector reform in Ghana during the past four years largely under the National Institutional Renewal Program (NIRP) . ( Other parallel system included Civil Service Performance Improvement Program. Reform of the judiciary. Etc.) In the main it was largely a consultant driven process, some times with as much as half a million dollars spent on consultants just to diagnose what is wrong and needed to be done but with nothing spent on fixing any problem.
The leadership of the organization under reform was either bypassed or treated as suppliers of information to mushroomed consultants. Overnight, consultants who have not had any experience of running any institution in their lives pocketed thousands of dollars, part of which could have ended as kickbacks to hose awarding the contracts, given the rates at which contracts were awarded and the low quality control in some cases. In the end, only one institution got itself off subvention and another GRATIS (Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Service) is today heading toward self financing.
The lessons for future are clear . There will be no transformation for public sector organizations without changes in organizational culture. In that regard the managerial leadership of the public sector is “ cause ; everything else is effect.” That government is retooling public reform. The emphasis has to be placed on organizational culture change.
Thank you all.


Barney, J. (1986) “Organization Culture.” Academy of Management Review,11 (3):656-665
Bass, M. and Avoliuo, B. (1992) Ðeveloping Transformational Leadership: 1992 and Betond” Journal of Eropean Industrical Training, 14:21-3
Bryman, A. (1992) Charisma ang Leardership in Organization. London: Sage
Hofstade, G. “Culture Contraints in Management” Chapter 37 in J. Thomas Wren ed. (1995) The Leader’ Companion: Insights on Leadership through the Ages. New York: The Free Press
Schein, E (1990) Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass Publication
Yukl, G (1994) Leadership in Organization (3rd Ed). Englewood Cliff, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Februari 26, 2009 at 11:15 pm Tinggalkan komentar

Organization Culture


Organizational culture is a commonly held –in-the-mind framework of organizational members. This framework contains basic assumption and values. These basic assumption and values are taught to new members as that organizational culture is developed over time as people in the organization learn to deal successfully common background. So culture arises out of what has been successful for the organization.

More about Organizational Culture

Culture starts with leadership, is reinforced with the accumulated learning of the organizational members, and is a powerful (albeit often implicit) set of forces that determine human behavior.

An organization’s culture goes than the word used in its mission statement. Culture is the web of tacit understandings, boundaries, common language, and shared expectation maintained over tome by the members.

Way of looking at organization culture originally come out anthropology. He are some aspects of culture :

Historical : Culture is social heritage, or tradition is passed on to future generation
Behavioral : Culture is shared, learned human behavior. A way of life
Normative : Culture is ideals, values, or rules for living
Functional : Culture is the way people solve problems of adapting to the environment and living together
Mental : Culture is a complex of ideas, or learned habits, for social control
Structural : Culture consists of patterned and interrelated ideas, symbols, or behaviors
Symbolic : Culture is based on arbitrarily assigned meanings that are shared by an organization

[Adapted from Bodley, (1996)]

Model of Organizational Culture

To really be able to characterize and “speak” and organization’s culture a person would need to be able to step back objectively and do some critical observation and interviews. Various researchers have developed models to characterize culture, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Hofstede probably started it all

Geert Hostede is an engineer turned social scientist. After 10 year working as an engineer and manager in Dutch Industry, he returned to the university to study social psychology. His groundbreaking 1980 book, Culture’s Consequences (reprinted afresh in 2001) grew out of his research within IBM from 1973 to 1978. from what was at that time the word’s largest survey data base. Hofstede and his colleagues teased out differences in the mental program among over 115,000 IBMers across 50 nations, and laid the groundwork for other scholars to adapt his work and use it to study organizations. Hofstede’s work identified five major dimensions upon country cultures differed:

• Power distance – how hierarchies and unequal power distribution is viewed
• Uncertainty avoidance – the extent to which people are comfortable or uncomfortable with uncertainty
• Individualism – this is the anchor at one end two people, where the other anchor would be collectivism. This is the extent to which individual are supposed to be self-reliant and look after themselves. Versus being more integrated into a group.
• Masculinity or Femininity – the dimension that has probably caused the most uproar. This dimension reflects hardness vs softness; toughness vs tenderness in a culture.
• Long tern or short term orientation – this has to do with the culture’s members having a stance on delayed, or immediate

Hofstede noted in his writing that it is important to recognize that national culture and organizational culture are different in nature. His research indicates that national culture mostly stems from consistency in values; while organizational culture stems mostly from consistency in practices.

Piggybecking from Haofstede

Management researcher were quick to adapt Hofstede’s work and begin to investigate cultures inside organizations. O’Reilly, Chatman, and Caldwell (1991) in some comparative work published that seven dimension could be used to compare across organizations.

Some Dimensions of Organizational Culture

• Innovation and risk talking – willing to experiment, take risk, encourage innovation.
• Attention to detail – paying attention to being precise vs saying its “good enough for chopped salad”
• Outcome orientation – orientated to result vs oriented to process
• People orientation – degree of value and respect for people. Are people considered unique talents, or is an engineer an engineer
• Individual vs Team orientation – are individuals most highly notes. Or are collective efforts.
• Aggressiveness – taking action, dealing with conflict
• Stability – openness to change

A. Composite Two-by-Two
Some researchers present a framework of culture characterized by two dimensions
• Internal focus (attending primarily to what is going on inside the organization) vs External focus (attending primarily to what is going on outside the organization
• Stability and control [interest in keeping things the same) vs Flexibility and discretion (interest in making changes)

Internally focused with Flexibility and Discretion
This type of organization has a sense of cohesion, with goals that strongly shared. Inside, the organization may feel more ‘family like” than ‘business like”. Indeed, Cameron and Quinn call this a Clan Culture. Denison tags this type of organization as having Involvement Externally focused with Flexibility and Discretion
The emphasis on being open change and oriented to the outside word characterizes organizations in which innovation can thrive, indeed sometimes the innovativeness can run amuck. Cameron and Quinn call these Adhocracy Cultures. Denison characterized them as high Adaptability culture.
Internally focused with Stability and Control
This type organization often relies on formal structures, policies and procedures to keep thing rinning. An internal focus is on Consistency says Denison. Cameron and Quinn named this type Hierarchy Culture Externally focused with Stability and Control
These types of organization are concerned about productivity, consistency, results, the button line. These organization are very clear about their customers, and hence can be termed Marked Culture. Denison says these organization have a sense of external Mission, combined with control, that can be very successful.

For more info see Cameron and Quinn (1999) and Denison (1990)

Looking Organization Culture – Use both Qualitative and Quantitative

In academia the scholars interested in organizational culture have kept a small-fire war going form years discussing the pros and cons of qualitative or quantitative ways of looking at culture. The qualitative camp point out that the richness of perception and experience inside an organization are vital to deep understanding, and they sniff that culture cannot be constrained to a two matrix or a list of dimensions. On the other camp, quantitative researcher argue that managers need to have some hard data, and that the drawback of getting slow, expensive, possibly unreliable (unique to the interpretation of the researcher) qualitative information make the usefulness iffy at best.

The truth, of course, lies in the middle. Managers will be best served by both. Case studies, based on observation and insider interviews, have a sense of reality and immediacy that captures the attention and emotion. Observation of the components of culture, with discussion and analyses, offer ways to do qualitative tracking over time. Having a method for obtaining quantitative data has the advantage of allowing managers to put together more “hard data” analyses to look at culture as a component of management and to track the standardized capture components of culture longitudinally. Look at organization using data gathered in a variety of methods, or triangulation. Combines quantitative and qualitative data that allows managers to capitalize on the advantages of quantitative methods as well as capturing a rich no easily quantified picture of the organization

Bringing in outside eyes, qualified academics or consultants, can be a helpful way for managers to begin to look at the organizational culture. It is not the only way, however. People can engage in developmental processes to help them selves recognize aspects of own organization culture.

Let’s start with Qualitative

A Qualitative understanding can be developed by looking at organizational practices with a fresh set of eyes. To begin to understand culture, put on an anthropologist’s hat and …..

– What do office look like ?
– How are people dressed?
– Where do they eat lunch ?
– How would you characterize the people in the hall- formal or informal?
– What kinds of pictures, sign, jokes are on walls Listen for particular language.

Notice the Feature of Culture
– Ceremonies, Rites, and Rituals
– Stories and Myths
– Herpes
– Language
– Symbols Ask Question. Like :
– Tell me the organizational creation story
– How do new people “learn the ropes “ in the organization
– What gets noticed (and rewarded )?
– Are some people on the “fast track,” and if so. How did they get there?
– What are some taboos thing people should never do?
– If a team accomplishes something great, what happens?
– Describe the organization in there words
– If the organization were an animal what would it be ?

• Ceremonies, Rites and Rituals These are regular events that teach people about the culture, and maintain a sense of seasonal order. Think about quarterly site meetings; any rites and rituals associated with being promoted, annual sales meetings.
• Stories and Myths Organizations develop narratives to explain and teach . Common examples are stories told by managers about successes, failures, high visible actions. Stories usually have a basis in reality; myths can be fictitious, but so indicative of the culture that people tell and retell them anyway.
• Herpes Organizations develop internal heroic figures.
• Language Organizations develop acronyms, metaphors, proverbs, and jargon that have specific meaning inside.
• Symbols Signs, company logos, the way offices look, the type of clothing that is allowed are all symbolic reflectors of a culture.

Let’s touch on Quantitative

The most common method for quantitatively capturing culture information is through the use of survey assessments. A number of consulting firms offer services related to such surveys. Before closing to develop a relationship with a consulting firm, it is important to examine their credentials in terms of academic grounding validity and reliability of the instrument, and experience and knowledge of this type of assessment.

On the other hand, if an organization has knowledgeable internal research group, using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCA) developed by Cameron and Quinn (1999) would provide useful and valid information. Another often used assessment is the Organizational Culture Index (OCI) developed by Robert Cooke and Clayton Lafferty. This assessment uses questions about behavioral norms. Falling into 12 factors. Cooke and his associates have developed a circumplex plotting process, which then categorizes the organization as being one of three types : Constructive. Passive/Defensive, and Aggressive /Defensive.

Because of their deep knowledge of the area, and their expertise with research. Daniel Denison’s consulting firm would certainly be a good group to at least talk with (htt://www.denisonculture. com/culture/culture_main.htm)n Another often called upon consulting group is Human Synergistic ( which uses the OCI and other assessments developed by Cooke and Lafferty.

Both of these consulting firm have a large database against which they will copare any client’s scores. That may or may not fit the particular question of an organization. A more useful, butt tougher task, would be developing some connections between the outputs of a survey and the need for innovation within the organization

Innovation is the development and introduction of a new idea and transforming that idea into a product, process, object, or service. We would likely all agree that innovation is the life force of an organization. So a culture of innovation mean an organization would hold internal assumptions, values, and management practices that foster developing new ideas into products, processes, objects and services.


Bodley, J. (1996) Cultural Anthropology. Tribes, State, and the Global System. Mountain View, CA : Mayfield A fascinating introductory to Anthropology.

Cameron, K. & Quinn, R. (1999). Diagnosing and changing organization culture. Reading: Addison-Wesley. These authors developed their organization culture framework using a theoretical model of “Competing Values” This framework refers to matrix looking at whether an organization has a predominant internal or external focus and whether is strives for flexibility and individuality or stability and control. The framework also uses six dimensions of culture that Cameron and Quinn discuss. Bay using their assessment the ”Organizational Culture Assessment Instruments” organization generate an organization culture profile and are categorized into one of four dominant culture types (clan, adhocracy, market and hierarchy)

Dennison, D. (1990). Corporate culture and organizational effectiveness. Wiley This Book give a brief overview of the literature and research studies up to about 1988, and includes discussions of Denison’s model and some question and framework he uses inhis ongoing research and consulting. He includes a number or well written case studies comparing and constructing organization and their culture.

Hofstede, G. (1991). Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind. London: Mc Graw Hill
The “condensed version” of the 1980 Culture’s consequences, with special orientation toward practical use of the information.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture Consequences.2 nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage
The updated classic

O’Relly, C,. Chatman, J., & Caldwell,D. (1991) People and organization culture: A. profile comparison approach to assessing person organization fit. Acadey of Management Journal, 34:487-516

Schein, E. (1999). The corporate culture survival guide. San Fransisco: Josey Bass
Edgar Schein, the MIT professor who could be viewed as the grandfather of organization culture research, present a lucidly written and compelling book on corporate culture. He discusses corporate culture on three lavels-behaviors, values, and shared assumptions and slow how each factors into developing and sustaining an organization culture.

Februari 26, 2009 at 11:11 pm 1 komentar

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