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Posted on March 12th, 2013, by

What distinguishes very successful firms from others? How they managed to achieve what others could not? How Wal-Mart has left behind Sears and Kmart, the world’s largest retailers? How does Southwest Airlines manage to florish, when several of its competitors remain just ahead (for example, Eastern, Pan-Am, Texas Air, People Express)? How Circuit City, Tyson Foods and Plenum Publishing managed to achieve success over their competitors? A key component in each case is something unique and much stronger than the market forces. The main feature of these successful companies, their most important competitive advantage, the most powerful factor, which they secrete as a key component of the success, is the culture of these organizations. The success of these firms is defined more by the values than the market forces and the competition.

In essence, it is difficult to name at least one thriving company that would be perceived as a leader in its field, and would not have quite visible, easily associated only with it organizational culture. It is possible to name the most successful firms as Coca-Cola, Disney, General Electric, Intel, McDonalds, Merck, Microsoft, Sony, Toyota. Virtually any of these leading organizations has its own culture, clearly recognizable by its employees. In some cases, it was laid by the founder of the company (for example, Walt Disney), sometimes it was formed gradually, as the organization has taken environmental challenges and overcome obstacles (for example, Coca-Cola). The culture of some organizations was consistently developed by the management team, who set the task of systematically improving the performance of the company (for example, General Electric).

Every successful company assigns priority to internal organizational strength, which appears due to the ability of a totally unique corporate culture to reduce the degree of collective uncertainty, to create a social order (for example, to clarify the expectations of team members), to ensure the integrity (at the expense of core values and norms, widely perceived as eternal, and transmitted from generation to generation), to create a sense of belonging to the organization and dedication to the common goal, to illuminate the vision of the future, thus providing energy for moving forward (H. Trice & J . Beyer, 1993).

Thus, the company derives its strength in developing and maintaining of the corporate culture. And most scholars and specialists dealing with organizational problems now recognizes that culture has a powerful influence on production performance and long-term efficiency of enterprises, and the impact of culture on improving their performance is demonstrated by the results of empirical research (D. Denison, 1990; H. Trice & J. Beyer, 1993).

The main objective of this work is to draw attention to issues of organizational culture, because it has a significant, sometimes dominant, impact on improving organizational performance.
The organizational culture is the system of collectively shared values, symbols, beliefs, behavior patterns of members, which give a general sense of their actions. It is usually produced in the process of human activity and, in turn, affects it. (Brown, 1995)

When people are working together, they eventually form and develop unwritten rules and mutual expectations, which have a strong influence on their future behavior. These processes can also be caused by external influences, including those targeted. That culture is influenced by external factors such as social and business environment, the national government and ethnic factors like mentality. It is believed that today people are more likely to form the culture, norms and rules themselves, than passively accept them.

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