Showing posts with label Organisations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Organisations. Show all posts

Friday, 1 August 2014

Company Culture

The rapidly changing pace and focus of management has to be considered within the context of the organisation and that of its competitors, to gain any relevance or meaning. With this in mind, it may be useful to consider the impact of your organisation’s culture has upon both management style and employees’ involvement in their own company decision making.

Organisational culture has been defined as ‘the way things are done around here.’ Reviewing a company’s culture is not always as simple as it may seem…as any culture is value driven. The origins of most corporate cultures lie in the belief and value systems of its original management, however that was constituted. Hence, we can argue that mission statements, objectives and management style are all predisposed to reflect the dominant values of the company. If you consider your own organisation – the layout, artefacts, even the codes of behaviours taken by employees, will naturally be supportive of the culture.

Cultural Types 

It is interesting to look at the different characteristics associates to the four most frequently used cultural types, placing your organisation either in one dominant culture or across several.

1.Control (Hierarchy) Culture 

  •  Mainly found in autocracies and bureaucratic management led organisations 
  • Formalised recognised rules/procedures
  •  Specialised process 
  • Hierarchical structure 
  • Communication top-down 
  • Promotion through recognised stages 

2. Market (Compete) Culture 

  •  Core values of competitiveness and productivity 
  • Oriented toward the external environment instead of internal affairs 
  • Competitiveness and productivity achieved through external positioning
  •  Assumptions that the external environment is hostile rather than benign, consumers are choosy and interested in value
  •  Leaders are hard-driving producers and competitors are tough and demanding

 3. Clan (Collaborative) Culture 

  •  Shared values and goals, cohesion, participative, individuality 
  • Typical characteristics of clan-type firms were teamwork, employee involvement programs, and corporate commitment to employees
  •  Rewards on the basis of team (not individual) accomplishment 
  • Customers are best thought of as partners 

4. The Adhocracy (Create) Culture

  •  Management foster creativity, adaptivity and flexibility 
  • Titles, job responsibilities and even departmental alignments change frequently
  •  Dynamic environment of skilled individuals 

To accept that organisational culture has a strong identifying influence on both the internal and also the external customer, it is valid to question how managers can shape the motivational behaviour of staff through it. Interestingly, there can be very different interpretations of culture within one organisation, i.e what may be perceived by senior management as a highly effective learning environment, directed through an efficient policy driven management team, might be perceived by lower level staff as an organisation that is confining in terms of training and development opportunities and is disorganised within a confused management structure. This mismatch is not unusual and is often reinforced through a weak communications policy.

Many may remember Ricky Gervais’ character Brent’s motivational endeavours in the ‘Office’. Motivation is a complex and difficult task for management , requiring a need to understand not only the company’s cultural context, but having access to information concerning the extrinsic and intrinsic needs of staff.

Management Style and Staff Motivation 

There are many examples of organisational recognition of the positive relationship between management style influences and motivational behaviour. Central to most are:

  • Employee expectations
  •  Line management engagement 
  • Resources fit for purpose 
  • Recognition 
  • Communication 

It is useful to reflect upon the findings of theorist Herzberg in the context if staff perception. He suggested that employees do not necessarily become motivated by what they expect to be in place at work, such as: opportunities to work in teams, a fully equipped work station, access to line management and so on. However, if these were not available, the individual may well become demotivated. Thus, it is the ‘extra’ extrinsic or intrinsic opportunities made available that can motivate staff (features such as: new responsibility, training initiatives ,acknowledgement of their work) that positively influence behaviour. But, it is work recognising that what motivates one employee may not another – so what strategies can managers put in place to best access this knowledge?

Many companies have a rigorous performance management (PM) strategy that furnished them with detailed information concerning staff members. How this strategy is perceived by staff, again, depends upon the management communication style and how line managers view their role in the process. Ideally, PM initiatives should be the product of collaborative communication, to engender a more responsive and committed workforce.

In conclusion, the culture of any organisation is the key influence on internal and external perceptions, impacting upon the image and reputation of the company. Driven in many cases by traditional beliefs, management need to be responsive to the changing demands of both the internal and external customer within their particular market, to ensure they maintain or improve their position.

Meryl Bradshaw is senior lecturer in organisational behaviour at Warrington School of Management, University of Chester. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Flexible working in a 24/7 culture

Marketing and organisational behaviour lecturer, Stephenie Hodge, from the Warrington School of Management (University of Chester) provides insight into flexible working practices.

There is no disputing that over the last decade organisations of all sizes and sectors have worked in a constant state of change brought on through the recession, expansion of globalisation and the speed in which new technology and social media are testing the skills of even the most effective managers. So how does the manager of the future not only cope with, but thrive in, leading and motivating a team that is aligned with the organisational goals and have a mind-set of managing output, not hours?

A flexible working approach

A major future trend researched by The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM, 2013) has identified that 94% of UK organisations offer some form of flexible working. 51% of all the managers surveyed expect flexible working to become the norm within five years and recognised as a future global trend. This is proven to be a highly effective incentive to attract and retain talented employees. It empowers the individuals, giving them greater control over their working week; increasing their engagement, productivity levels which in turn reflects positively to the brand image of the organisation. Their autonomy creates a corporate personality and helps to identify and verify the company’s values, therefore achieving the ‘buy-in’ to the culture and psychological contract.

Individual’s values and perspective on working life has changed; they don’t buy into the job for life concept anymore and would rather have the option to adjust their work/life balance to best suit their personal circumstances. Therefore, flexible work options can also be used as a trade-off against a salary increase, which may suit or be the only option available to an employer.

This research is further endorsed by Kingston University/Ipsos MORI who found that ‘workers on flexible contracts tend to be more emotionally engaged, more satisfied with their work and more likely to speak positively about their organisation and less likely to leave (CIPD, 2014)

Leadership and management

However, before this approach can even be considered the 2020 manager will not only have to be agile and adaptive, but also that the fundamentals of good leadership and management will matter more than ever.
52% of managers agree that skills such as communication, delegation, goal-setting and motivation are vital when operating with less time and in a more complex working environment (ILM, 2014). Trust and transparency are key as the flexible working approach has to be seen as fare and consistent and be embraced by the organisation and not seen a career limiting option.

There will be yet more on-going cultural changes due to the social and demographic shift, so a different hybrid breed of manager is required that still possess the traditional skills and qualities, but is equipped with a modern mind-set and approach (ILM, 2014).

Generation Y

There is now an expectation from our up and coming generation that this freedom and autonomy goes hand in hand with their ambitions. They are very much motivated by money, status and career advancement and do not perceive working in a flexible manner as impeding their promotion or dedication. This does not mean that they don’t want to work as hard or as long as required, but in a different working format to enable more a work life balance. This mind-set of changing working patterns needs to be embraced by employers or they could be missing out on new talent to take their business forward.

What is the payback?

If managed correctly, the payback will be built around a stakeholder relationship approach:-

·         The individual-Self-motivated and empowered which leads to a natural drive and commitment to the team effort.
·         The manager-Managing a contented team with an ethos which is aligned with the organisational values, therefore reassured that the job is being done to the best of its ability with no conflict acting as a barrier.
·         The customer & external stakeholders-The vision for transparency leads to collaboration and mutual trust which can bring a true competitive edge.
·         The organisation-Will be viewed as holistic and modern forward thinking in their approach. It holds potential value as a recruitment, engagement and retention tool; as well a great brand endorser.

Managers who are prepared to trust in their team and think differently can model the way into making flexible working the norm, will be the ones who are remembered not just as managers but as great managers.

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