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Organizational Culture

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Running Head: A practical approach to culture

Nadya Munnings-Pratt
Barry University (Nassau Cohort)
HRD 645
Module 3
July 23th 2015

Introduction
Organizational culture encompasses values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. Culture includes the organization's vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits (Christiansen, B. and Koeman, J., 2015). In a practical approach, culture is something an organization “has” and is seen as a variable that can be managed by its leaders. This paper will explore my place of employment; Doctors Hospital and some of the elements of its culture.
A practical approach to culture
Doctors Hospital employs over 500 and we recently underwent a culture shift. Funds were invested in a foreign consultancy company that came in and worked to revamp our culture. According to Schein (1992), culture is the most difficult organizational attribute to change.
His organizational model illuminates culture from the standpoint of the observer, described at three levels: artifacts, espoused values and basic underlying assumptions.
At the first level of Schein's model is organizational attributes that can be seen, felt and heard by the inexperienced observer known as artifacts. From the moment you walk into Doctors Hospital you will notice a very large dated painting of the founders of the hospital. There are multiple desks in the foyer to greet customers and address enquiries. Managers are typically located in the vicinity of their teams or departments to oversee operations. Throughout the hospital walls are framed posters of our mission, vision and value statements as well as patient rights and responsibilities. There is also a designated space on the wall that displays the photos of high performing employees for the year.
During the orientation process each new employee is issued a personnel handbook, a photo ID badge, and a new set of uniforms with our logo. They receive a 2 hour classroom training on the newly revised behavioral standards that represent our core values that emphasize “we care”; welcome, empathy, commitment, accountability & ownership, respect, and excellence. And at the very end we invite them to sign the pledge. Every year all employees return to orientation to be reminded of the core values. During lunch, scores of employees gather in the café to eat, and they usually take advantage of the employer subsidized meals.
The next level deals with the professed culture of an organization's members - the values. If you were to study Doctors Hospital you would see that we truly put our customers first. The term customer was redefined to mean both internal and external customers so that it demonstrates our concern for employees and the level of care and service they receive as well. Doctors Hospital has a significant number of longstanding employees and this shows the level of commitment of our workers once they are engaged.
The third level; basic underlying assumptions, many of these 'unspoken rules' exist without the conscious knowledge of the membership. Those with sufficient experience to understand this deepest level of organizational culture usually become acclimatized to its attributes over time, thus reinforcing the invisibility of their existence. Affects on communication
There are many different types of communication that contribute in creating an organizational culture such as metaphors, stories and rituals. At Doctors Hospital, we like to consider ourselves a family. We rally together in times of crises despite conflicts that may be ongoing. Last year there was a coworker who was tragically shot and killed outside of his home just after leaving the office. By the very next morning efforts were coordinated by our CEO and other members of the executive team to have a scheduled grief counseling session for all employees. During this somber event I witnessed an outpouring of compassion and love amongst everyone. Employees were embracing each other like family.
Doctors Hospital spends thousands of dollars each year planning and hosting social events to build camaraderie among its employees. These rituals allow us to build human relations and to indoctrinate new employees into our culture. Socialization is a practice by which people study the rules, norms, and potential of a culture over point in time and thus become members of that culture (Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., &Trethewey, A. 2010). By hosting these social events yearly allows new employees to easily adapt.
Conclusion
Essentially, organizational culture affects the way people and groups interact with each other and it affects how much employees identify with an organization. I personally enjoy being a part of Doctors Hospital because it’s a place where I feel appreciated. Hence, the practical approach seems to be working notwithstanding it is still very early on in the culture shift. I think it is important to have clearly defined standards especially in an environment of such diversity.

Reference
Christiansen, B., and Koeman, J. (2015) Nationalism, Cultural Indoctrination, and Prosperity in the Digital age. IGI Global: Hershey PA USA
Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., &Trethewey, A (2010) Organizational communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint (6th ed.) Schein, Edgar (1992). Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. p. 9.…...

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