Answered Essay: Essay: Culture Artifacts Chapter 16 discusses organizational culture. Artifacts are "symbols of

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Essay: Culture Artifacts Chapter 16 discusses organizational culture. Artifacts are “symbols of culture in the physical and social work environments” (p. 259). The lesson identifies five artifacts that are visible and key to understanding an organization’s environment. Be sure you can identify and explain each of the artifacts described in the chapter. You will apply each of the five artifacts to an organization in essay format. Your essay must include an introduction, body, and conclusion, and address all questions. Use references to the textbook or other resources as necessary to support your essay. Make sure to cite any references you use. Proper citation format for a reference includes the name of the author(s), the title of the work, the date of the publication, and the page number. Essay: Culture Artifacts Identify, explain, and apply each of the five artifacts to an organization (company). This may take some research. (You may not use the examples in the textbook.) Do you think each artifact has contributed to the organization’s performance? Why or why not?

Expert Answer

STEP 1:

INTRODUCTION

Organizational culture refers to a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs that show people what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. These values have a strong influence on employee behavior as well as organizational performance. Organizational culture consists of some aspects that are relatively more visible, as well as aspects that may lie below one’s conscious awareness. Organizational culture can be thought of as consisting of three interrelated levels. An organization’s culture may be one of its strongest assets or its biggest liability. In fact, it has been argued that organizations that have a rare and hard-to-imitate culture enjoy a competitive advantage.

Culture, or shared values within the organization, may be related to increased performance. Researchers found a relationship between organizational cultures and company performance, with respect to success indicators such as revenues, sales volume, market share, and stock prices. At the same time, it is important to have a culture that fits with the demands of the company’s environment. To the extent that shared values are proper for the company in question, company performance may benefit from culture. Organizational culture consists of some aspects that are relatively more visible, as well as aspects that may lie below one’s conscious awareness.

Organizational culture can be thought of as consisting of three interrelated levels. At the deepest level, below our awareness, lie basic assumptions. These assumptions are taken for granted and reflect beliefs about human nature and reality. At the second level, values exist. Values are shared principles, standards, and goals. Finally, at the surface, we have artifacts, or visible, tangible aspects of organizational culture.

STEP 2:

ARTIFACTS

Symbols of culture in the physical and social work environments are called artifacts. They are the most visible and accessible level of culture. For example, in an organization, a basic assumption employees and managers share might be that happy employees benefit their organizations. This might be translated into values such as egalitarianism, high-quality relationships, and having fun. The artifacts reflecting such values might be an executive “open door” policy, an office layout that includes open spaces and gathering areas equipped with pool tables, and frequent company picnics.

Understanding the organization’s culture may start from observing its artifacts: its physical environment, employee interactions, company policies, reward systems, and other observable characteristics. When you are interviewing for a position, observing the physical environment, how people dress, where they relax, and how they talk to others is definitely a good start to understanding the company’s culture. However, simply looking at these tangible aspects is unlikely to give a full picture of the organization, since an important chunk of what makes up culture exists below one’s degree of awareness. The values and, deeper, the assumptions that shape the organization’s culture can be uncovered by observing how employees interact and the choices they make, as well as by inquiring about their beliefs and perceptions regarding what is right and appropriate behavior.

STEP 3:

Examples of the artifacts of culture are as follows below

Personal enactment:

Culture can be understood, in a part, through an examination of the behavior of the organization members. When this behavior reflects the organizations values, it is called as personal enactment. In particular, personal enactment by the top managers provides insight into the organizations values. Culture is an important leadership tool. Managerial behavior can clarify what is important and coordinate the work of employees, in effect negating the need for closer supervision.

Ceremonies and rites:

Relatively elaborate set of activities that are repeatedly enacted on important occasions are known as organizational ceremonies and rites.

New hire trainings, new hire welcome lunches, annual corporate conferences, awards, offsite meetings, and trainings are few examples.

Stories:

These are narrative based on true events, but often exaggerated as it told from old to new employees. The stories of the organizations founders or other dominant leaders are the most common ones, the challenges had faced and how they dealt with those hurdles etc. These stories give meaning and identity to organizations and are especially helpful in orienting new employees.

Symbols:

Symbols communicate organizational culture through unspoken messages. They are representative of the organizational identity and membership to employees.

Assumptions:

Assumptions are the deeply held beliefs that guide behavior and tell members of an organization how to perceive and think about things. As the deepest and most fundamental level of an organization’s culture, they are the essence of the culture. Another characteristic is that they are often unconsciousness. Organizations members may not be aware of their assumptions and may be reluctant or unable to discuss them or change them.

STEP 4:

Conclusion

Artifacts definitely contribute to the organizations performance. understanding the organization’s culture may start from observing its artifacts: the physical environment, employee interactions, company policies, reward systems, and other observable characteristics. When you are interviewing for a position, observing the physical environment, how people dress, where they relax, and how they talk to others is definitely a good start to understanding the company’s culture. However, simply looking at these tangible aspects is unlikely to give a full picture of the organization. An important chunk of what makes up culture exists below one’s degree of awareness. The values and, at a deeper level, the assumptions that shape the organization’s culture can be uncovered by observing how employees interact and the choices they make, as well as by inquiring about their beliefs and perceptions regarding what is right and appropriate behavior.

STEP 5:

References

Arogyaswamy, B., & Byles, C. H. (1987). Organizational culture: Internal and external fits. Journal of Management, 13, 647–658.

Barney, J. B. (1986). Organizational culture: Can it be a source of sustained competitive advantage? Academy of Management Review, 11, 656–665.

Chatman, J. A., & Eunyoung Cha, S. (2003). Leading by leveraging culture. California Management Review, 45, 19–34.

Kotter, J. P., & Heskett, J. L. (1992). Corporate Culture and Performance. New York: Free Press.

Marcoulides, G. A., & Heck, R. H. (1993, May). Organizational culture and performance: Proposing and testing a model. Organizational Science, 4, 209–225.

Schein, E. H. (1992). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Slocum, J. W. (2005). Managing corporate culture through reward systems. Academy of Management Executive, 19, 130–138.

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