Organizational Leadership News & Views

Implications of organizational culture

  • Alvernia MOL

Great leaders keep organizational culture alive. One person cannot create culture alone, but leaders are asked to exemplify the important aspects of their organizations’ cultures. To understand what organizational culture can do for a company, look at the most successful new business corporation of the twenty-first century: Google.

An article in last month’s New Yorker shares the story of a particular Friday afternoon when Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, printed a screen shot of a Google ad results and put it in the kitchen with the words, “These Ads Suck!” written on the paper.  Anyone who has recently used Google knows how it’s supposed to work. You type in a few words, and Google’ algorithm should bring you content that matches those words.

The paper Page put in Google’s kitchen, however, showed that if you searched for the vintage motorcycle, Kawasaki H1B, you would get ads for lawyers who would help with your H-1B visa.

According to the New Yorker, that Monday morning five engineers solved the problem.

“It wasn’t Google’s culture that turned those five engineers into problem-solving ninjas who changed the course of the company over the weekend,” Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg—the company’s former C.E.O. and its former head of product development, respectively—write in “How Google Works”. “Rather it was the culture that attracted the ninjas to the company in the first place.”

Organizational culture is so incredibly powerful, it impacts performance, customer service, and productivity and also extends to product quality, marketing and advertising practices and development and innovation.

How can a leader create the right type of culture? The human resource website, TLNT, recommends first surveying employees to see how they perceive the company. Once you understand the current culture, you’ll learn what toxic attitudes need to be replaced with successful attributes. Here’s what TLNT says you should aim to create:

The 12 attributes of a strong culture:

  1. Respect/Fairness;
  2. Trust/Integrity;
  3. Change/Adaptability;
  4. Results Orientation;
  5. Teamwork;
  6. Employee Engagement;
  7. Responsibility/Accountability;
  8. Learning Opportunities;
  9. Meaning/Purpose;
  10. Communication;
  11. Decision Making;
  12. Goals/Strategy.

Understanding how their organizational culture affects employees helps leaders organize and manage business and create an environment that encourages success and employee satisfaction. Organizational cultures have different effects on employee performance and motivation. Employees who feel they are a part of an organizational culture are likely to work more toward meeting business expectations.

Scroll through the curriculum for the Masters in Organizational Leadership Program at Alvernia, and you’ll see courses such as Leadership Theory, Followership, Groups & Teams, Organizational Theory, Organizational Change and others all designed to arm graduates with the necessary skills to create engaging and successful cultures in the workplace.

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