Archive for Determinants of Organizational Culture

Organizational Size

Today we continue our discussion on Organizational Size. Note that OC is not influenced by factors existing within the organization only. Societal forces help shape OC as well. To understanding societal influences on OC, let us consider an example in relation to the changing profile of existing and future employees. You may have noticed at least two changes which are taking place in our society. First, education level of employees of all categories is rising.


Second societal values toward recreational and leisure activities are becoming stronger. The effect of the first change is in the expectations of employees. People want more satisfying and fulfilling work which should match their qualifications and abilities. The impact of the second change is that the passion for non-work is increasing: people feel less passionate about job performance. So, whole one change is pushing towards increased professionalism, the other change is pulling towards leisure-orientation. Against these backdrops of societal forces influencing the profiles of the employees, the content of the job and the organization processes determine the OC.


To sum up, OC is determined by a variety of internal and external factors where internal factors are specific to the organization while external factors refer to a number of societal forces.


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As our talk on Determinants of Organizational Culture today we are going to discuss on Characteristics of Members and Organizational Size


Characteristics of Members 

Personal characteristics of the members of an organization also affect the climate prevailing in the organization. For example an organization with well educated, ambitious and younger employees is likely to have a different OC than an organization with less educated, and less upwardly mobile, older employees. The former might inculcate an environment of competitiveness, calculated risk-taking, frankness of opinions, etc.


Organizational Size 

In a small sized organization it is much easier to foster a climate for creativity and innovation or to establish a participative king of management with greater stress on horizontal distribution of responsibilities. On the other hand, in a large organization it is easier to have a more authoritative kind of management with stress on vertical distribution of responsibilities. This in turn leads to distinct environments as has been explained with the help of the concept of System 4 organization.


We have now studies seven basic determinants of OC. The lost is not exhaustive but these are the basic internal factors determining the internal environment of an organization.


In our next post we will continue our discussion on Organizational Size.

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We continue our talk on Organization Structure which is the part of Organizational Policies. How does one know whether an organization should be categorized as System 1 or 2 or 3 or 4? It depends on the way following processes are perceived and rated in an organization:


·         Leadership process

·         Motivation process

·         Communication process

·         Decision-making process

·         Goal-setting process

·         Control process


Employees of an organization rate these processes on a rating scale, asking questions like the following: 

·         Hoe much confidence is shown in subordinates?

·         Where is responsibility felt for achieving organization goals?

·         How well superiors know problems faced by subordinates?

·         How much covert resistance to goals is present?

·         At what levels are decisions formally made?

·         Is there an informal organization resisting the formal one?


Based on the answers to these questions, an organization can be classified as system 1 or 2 or 3 or 4. A bureaucratic structure is likely to be rated as System 2 or System 3. A System 4 organization will have a distinct OC where the main theme would be strong involvement and self-control of all organization members at all levels in all basic organizational processes.


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Organizational Policies 

Specific organizational policies can influence a specific dimension of OC to quite an extent. For example, if the company policy states that layoffs will be used only as a last resort to cope with business downturn, then it would, in general, foster an internal environment that is supportive and humanistic. Similarly if you are working in a company where it is agreed that the first beneficiaries of increased profit, then the OC will be characterized by High Reward Orientation and probably by High Progressiveness and Development.


Managerial Values 

The values held by executives have a strong influence on OC because values lead to actions and shape decisions. Values add to perceptions of the organization as impersonal, paternalistic, formal, informal, hostile or friendly. You will learn more about managerial values under the topic: Managerial Ethos


Organization Structure 

The design or structure of an organization affects the perception of its internal environment. For example, a bureaucratic structure has an OC much different from a System 4 organization. What is a System 4 organization? According to Rensis Likert, all organizations can be classified into four major groups, depending upon the way basic organizational processes are conducted. These major groupings are as follows:


System 1 – Exploitative Authoritative

System 2 – Benevolent Authoritative

System 3 – Consultative

System 4 – Participative


We will discuss descriptively on Organizational Structure in our next post.

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At the very onset of this topic, it is useful to distinguish determinants and dimensions of OC. Determinants are the causes, while dimensions are the components of OC. You may say, determinants are those which influence whereas dimensions are those which are influenced.


Although OC refers to the internal environment of an organization, the nature of OC is determined by a variety of internal and external factors. One of the basis premises of organizational behavior is that outside environmental forces influence events within organizations. After acknowledging the dynamics of internal as well as external factors in this section, we will consider in greater detail the following seven internal factors. You will find these factors as determinants of OC in the following order: 

1. Economic Condition

2. Leadership Style

3. Organizational Policies

4. Managerial Values

5. Organizational Structure

6. Characteristics of Members

7. Organizational Size



We will discuss on each factor in our next post.




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