Organizational Culture and organizational Structure

Organizational Culture

            Organizational culture (OC) refers to the system of shared values by members within one organization, thus differentiating them from other organizations. It has the following characteristics, originality and risk taking, has attention to detail, result, people, and team oriented, constancy and assertiveness. Organization culture is more related to the manner in which employees identify themselves with the company rather than whether or not they like it. Notably, organizational cultures determine the ethos of an organization and are divided into two categorical parts. First is the “dominant” culture, which articulates the primary values shared by the majority of the organization’s members. Secondly, “subculture” these are the values that develop great organizations and expose the common problems, circumstances and/or experiences of members. These subcultures may supplement or amend an organization’s core values. When it comes to organizations with strong cultures, the core values are both passionately appreciated and widely shared. Strong cultures play a significant role in organizations such as influencing noble behavior in members, increasing interconnection amongst members and reduces employee turnover. However, for strong cultures to be effective, the management has to play visible roles, communication has to be principled, employees have to be trained on ethics, a reward system has to be in place, and employee protective mechanisms have to be instated  Just like any other part of any organization, the culture has five essential functions, circumscribing boundaries, express a sense of identity, make employees understand they are a piece of the larger organization, develops social stability and it is a control mechanism. Though organizational structures develop and manage employees to achieving the needs of any organization, it leads to some significant limitations. They include a barrier to change; this is rampant in culturally dynamic environments. It also obstructs diversity as it can embed bias and prejudice. Finally, culture can block acquisitions and mergers due to incompatibility.

Organizational Structure

            Organizational structure (OS), on the other hand, refers to the hierarchy of organizational authority, communication, rights and responsibilities of an organization. The hierarchy determines how communication will flow down the organization, how every employee will be assigned duties and responsibilities. Without an efficient hierarchy system, organizational structures are bound to fail as communication will not be available. The hierarchy systems is primarily divided into five; the traditional, flatter, flat, flatarchies and holacratic hierarchy systems. Hierarchy is best illustrated in the military as decision-making and actions are assigned to the top positions, whereas, the other positions towards the bottom are allocated to the dynamos. However, just like organizational culture, different hierarchical systems have different limitations and challenges. The most common problem being the communication flow, typically the flow is usually from the top to the bottom limiting innovation and collaboration. Furthermore, bureaucracy riddles decision making thus making the system extremely sluggish. These are the main reasons that the hierarchical system is the main vulnerability of any organization still using it.  Nonetheless, different organizational structures are designed to achieve different organizational goals. There are three primary organizational structures, namely functional, divisional and matrix structure. In a functional structure, the organization is categorized according to their function. This is an efficient system, especially for small businesses as it gives room for specialization where workers can support each other in the same field. The one disadvantage of this structure is the lack of coordination and communication with other departments in the organization. Divisional structure, on the other hand, is an appropriate system for large organizations located in different geographical regions or small businesses that are all under on large company.  It is a promoter of specialization, however, this is at the cost of communication. Secondly, depending on the scope and size it can be expensive. Finally, the matrix structure is a hybrid structure that combines the traits of functional and divisional structures into one organization. However, the main drawback of this system is the power struggle that might arise due to the dual management positions that will be created in the process.

Combination of Organizational Culture and Structure

            OC and OS play a vital role in determining the effectiveness of any organization. As illustrated in the analysis above, organizational structure is responsible for the manner in which work is achieved, whereas, organizational culture is responsible for ensuring that the goals of the organization are met. It is important for the two organizational elements to be in harmony as they determine whether an organization will succeed or not. High performance within an organization attributed to a sensible structure leads to the development of a strong culture. Moreover, collective principles, customs, and morals are also developed resulting in better cohesion and workflow. The best example to illustrate this relationship between these two elements is that structure and culture of Tesco PLC (a British multinational grocery and general retailer) and Starbucks. Tesco utilizes a tall hierarchical construct with a divisional structure, whereas Starbucks uses a flat structure and a hybrid organizational structure. The different structures result in different outcomes, as they all have the same culture of satisfying the client by providing their needs with the highest standard. Tesco has the poorest outcome as their communication system, and decision-making processes are affected by bureaucracy. Secondly, due to the divisional structure, the company has to spend a lot on maintaining their different facilities that are located globally. Starbucks, on the other hand, enjoys better communications between the management and the employees, and it saves a lot by utilizing the hybrid organizational structure. This allows the company to spread out its ventures to various nations around the globe. However, it is important to understand that organizational cultures are not rigid, but can be dynamic depending on the industry; a good example of a dynamic organizational culture is the technology industry. With such dynamic industries, cultures are bound to be changing with the trends, it is, therefore, essential that the selected organizational structure can adapt to the rapid changes. This will allow the company to familiarize itself to the new environment with ease, thus enabling it to maintain profit and accomplishment of set goals for the market.


            By understanding the dimensions of organizational cultures and structures, organizations will be able to strategize and rearrange their priorities to be able to achieve their desired goals. As illustrated by the companies in the example, any business with a strong culture, but a weak organizational structure is bound to fail or attain losses affecting performance and employee morale. However, with the appropriate structure coupled with a strong culture, the organization is expected to flourish and enjoy the profits. Moreover, the members/employees of the organization will benefit from the ease of communication and involvement of management in organizational activities.

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