culture

(redirected from cultures)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia.

culture

The norms and shared attitudes that pervade an ORGANIZATION. It may be expressed in symbols, rituals and the language used by organization members. It thus constitutes the distinctive characteristics of an organization. In recent years managerial interest in organizational culture has grown enormously It is believed that the culture will influence how individuals behave at work and hence will affect both individual and organizational performances.

A number of types of culture have been identified in this respect:

  1. power culture, characterized by an emphasis on personal charisma, risk-taking and a low level of respect for procedures. This might be found in a small entrepreneurial organization, where power tends to be concentrated in the entrepreneur;
  2. rôle culture, characterized by well-defined procedures and job roles, and an emphasis on conformity. This might be found in an established BUREAUCRACY for example government administration;
  3. task culture, characterized by an emphasis on problem-solving by expert teams. Groups are formed to deal with particular problems. Once the task is completed the group may be disbanded. Here the culture is one which attaches importance to expertise, though in fact expertise may be less developed in organizations of this sort than in role culture organizations, where job roles are more specialized. Task culture places a much greater emphasis on flexibility and creativity than does role culture;
  4. person-oriented culture, characterized by an emphasis on meeting the needs of individuals in the organization. This is often found in small, ‘alternative’ organizations. It may also characterize small organizations composed mainly of PROFESSIONALS, such as small consultancy companies, where it is deemed important that individuals be given some freedom to shape their jobs so that they can pursue particular professional or other ‘acceptable’ outside interests (for example, being a local councillor).

A concern of many managers in recent years has been that the prevailing culture of their organization is inappropriate, or even obstructive, to a desired change in objectives. For instance, a role culture, where jobs are specialized and well-defined, could obstruct creativity and hence prevent an organization from becoming more entrepreneurial. As a result much attention recently has been devoted to changing cultures. It is doubtful, however, whether managers can actually achieve dramatic cultural change in the short term. Culture is influenced by a complex of factors, such as the character and background of the workforce, many of which are to some extent independent of managerial action. See MANAGEMENT STYLE. MECHANISTIC AND ORGANISMIC, EXCELLENCE CULTURE.

References in periodicals archive ?
Even the best informed and most motivated providers may be confused about the scope and direction of culture change.
Rowland is dean and permanent fellow of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family--Melbourne, and author of Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II (Routledge).
The music, as others are quick to note, contrasts with the driving beat of popular music often rooted in working-class and minority cultures.
In learning a new culture, learners need to purposefully construct an understanding of the other worldview, a different reality in order to speak with people from other cultures.
Such a viewpoint would support the earlier discussion that psychological tests can be more easily generalized to other cultures than psychosocial tests that are based more on the dynamic process of change.
While reactions to crisis situations seem to be common throughout all cultures based upon the physiology of human beings, manifestations of responses may differ significantly.
The on-call physician sees the patient, notes the temperature, sees the blood cultures and is not concerned.
culture is more aggressive, meaning it is not as "soft" as Latin American cultures are.
His first fully worked-through theory of culture, which appeared in 1957, established a position from which he never departed: the incorporation of popular and fine art into a "general field of communication.
Brucella organisms are gram-negative coccobacilli and may be present in high concentration in blood cultures drawn early in the disease process.
Thus far, schools have served as the main battlefield in this potential clash of cultures.