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Schein Classification of Organisational Culture

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Different organizations have developed different cultures that ensure that they attain the goals of the organizations. According to Schein (1997), culture is defined as

a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adoption and internal integration , that has worked well enough to be considered valid and , therefore , to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive , think and feel in relation to be those problems, (para 3).

It can therefore be argued that culture is the organizational customs and rights. It is therefore the duty of the managers to work towards ensuring that the organization has developed a more anthropological model. An organization should hence have its own culture and the outsiders only bring in their baggage as observers. A business organization that has a shared history of doing certain issues in a more shared way can result into the culture of the organization. It is hence right to say that culture implies structural stability and having a pattern of undertaking activities of the organization in as specific manner. A culture that has developed in the organization gives room for the organization to develop better leadership.

            Innovations Ltd like any business organization has got its core values to be followed which enable it to carry on with its business as usual. Schein on his part “argued that, basic assumptions lie at the taken-for-granted core of an organization’s culture”, (Hatch 2004, pp 32). In Schein’s classification, the values of an organization are sandwiched between assumptions and the more superficial and accessible level of cultural artifacts, (Hatch 2004). Schein hence links assumptions, values and artifacts, whereby the artifacts are the manifestations of the values, and the values on the other hand are the manifestations of assumptions.

            One of the core values of the Innovations Ltd. Is that work is an important part of life which must be fun but it does not have to be that a person has to be a good businessman, he has to be stuffy and boring (http://www.innovationsltd.com/CoreValues.htm). This is a culture that can spearhead the organization to greater heights, unless the leaders change this. Schein in his argument felt that the cultures that have been developed in an organization are usually stable until the leaders changes them. If the leaders are able to change the existing cultures, then the others in the organization would be able to accept the new changes that would be based on the leaders’ actions.

            Another important core value in the Innovations Ltd. is that the organization believes that knowledge makes the vital difference in everything done. Then if the organization does not have an answer of certain issues, it has to find it


Therefore, to find the answer, the organization has to follow what the leader of the team or person looking for answer says. This concurs with Schein’s argument that the culture changes in an organization occurs via the influence of leaders.

Charles Handy Model of Organizational Culture

Handy developed a four culture that can be adopted in the organizational thinking. These are the power, club or spider, role culture, task culture, and person culture.

In the power, club or spider culture, Handy depicts an organization as the spider’s web whereby the boss of the organization is at the centre surrounded by others who are involved in the organization in a much widening circle. Those who are close to the centre have more influence in the organization than those far away. In this model, the organizational idea is to extend the persona of the boss (Handy, N.d). This kind of cultures within the organization is based on the trust, and communication takes place through telepathy. The boss of the organization wields a lot of power which he/she can use to influence the other members. It is more exciting for those who are members of the club to work in such places, or those who share the same view with the boss. The advantage with these kinds of organizations is that they have the ability of solving crisis easily since the lines of communication are short and the decision making unit is more centralized. However, the danger is that if the boss is incompetent and corrupt, then the success of the organization is at stake because the boss will tend to have the members who share the same characters.

In role culture, Handy has a picture of the organization in a pyramid of boxes form, each box with a job title. In this structure, the roles within the box remain constant regardless of the occupant at various times. This allows the roles of the organization to be done in an effective way with minimum need to make policy decisions.  The other importance of this model is that it enables the occupant of the box to have specific roles and knows the boundaries of their roles. For any member in the organization to communicate to another, memoranda are used, going from one job title to another and not from individual to individual. This culture is important in a business that requires predictability and certainty, and in tasks that are routine stable and unchanging (Handy, N.d). The difficulties in this system can be experienced while dealing with changes.

In task culture, the organization has a team of talents that is able to respond to specific projects or tasks, but in a less individualistic manner than the club culture, and a quicker than task culture (Handy, N.d). This gives room for room for groups to solve problems that are beyond individual’s scope. The culture does not have hierarchy models but rather have a cooperative group of colleagues. The groups thus have team leaders and not managers.

In person culture organizational model, the individual talent is all important, although there is minimal need for organizational structure to service it. The culture puts at stake much talent among its individual employees. Communication language in the organization is based on expertise language and not on the organizational language.

Deal and Kennedy Framework

The failure or success of any business organization is determined by the corporate culture. Organizations with a good corporate culture could be propelled to more business success. On the other hand, an organization with a wrong culture will be stifled in its ability of adopting the fast changing world. Different organizations experiences distinct cultures evolving within the organization over a period of time. These cultures have got a direct and measurable impact on the performance of the organization (Hall & Norburn 1987).

In the corporate culture of Deal and Kennedy, they also considered organizational culture as the way things get done. The organizations were measured in terms of feedback and risk (Hall & Norburn 1987). The organizational management needs to get feedback from the other employees or stakeholders within the organization about policies and activities of the organization. The feedback may vary depending on the occasion such that there might be for instance a quick response, (that is, an instant response), which could be in monetary terms. The feedback may enable the organization to develop to greater success or crumble depending on whether the feedback is positive or negative.

The organizations undertake its activities under many uncertain conditions which might have a very negative impact on the business if they are not properly cushioned. These are risks that any business organization faces. The business that deals with a high capital tends to be at high risk of losing a lot if poorly managed.

Putting in mind the feedback and risks the organizations faces, Innovation Limited as any other organization can thus be classified in any of the following classes; the Tough Guy Macho Culture, the Work Hard/Play Culture, the Bet your Company culture, the Process Culture (Hall & Norburn 1987).

The Work Hard /Play Hard Culture have got few risks undertaken with rapid feedback. Many large organizations do mostly practice this culture, in that they strive for high customer service. The other main characteristic of this culture is that there are many team meetings, jargon and buzzwords.

With the Bet your company culture, the organization takes a big decision but it takes a very long period before the results are known. This can include projects that involve development or exploration projects. Such projects take a long period before they come to fruition, and they involve a large sunk cost.

The Process Culture is experienced in organizations that have got little or no feedback. This means that those who are in such organizations are much concerned with how things are done and not what has to be achieved. Despite the shortcomings of this method, it does however produce consistent results in the organization.

The Tough Guy Macho Culture has got a quick feedback and rewards that are high. This can be applicable in financial activities such as brokerage firms.

Bower (1966); “the way we do things round here”

Martin Bower defined corporate culture “as the way we do things round here”. This implies that the companies may say things but what matters most is how they do their activities. The top executives in an organization are usually the ones who set the corporate culture. Therefore, with this, if they do not set doing things right, then they will end up sending the wrong signal to the employees. With what is set by the top management in the business organization, the employees will pick up those values and then subscribe them into their operations (http://www.fma.org/Siena/Papers/530061.pdf.).

The corporate culture of “the way we do things here” can also be used in the organization so as to deal with the checks and balances that can be experienced in the organization. This will cushion the organization from undesired actions and thus enable the organization to operate in a safer and sound manner. This can be accomplished by having rules and regulations that should be followed by all the employees in the organization. This is a necessary but not sufficient issue that can be used to provide internal control in the organization.

The management can therefore only change culture of the organization by changing the way things are done. This however does not prove to be easy in any organization. This is because as one learns to do a job in a certain way over a long period of time, it becomes difficult for it to be changed easily without affecting all the other stakeholders. The management of the organization can however give more room to the employees of the organization to undertake the activities of the organization better as they understand. However, if the organizational groups try out different ways of doing things, then they can be able to develop the best consensus on how to be doing them.

This will hence lead to the development of “the way we do things here”. The managers can also use their beliefs so as to hire the employees in order to see if they take into account the best decisions from her perspectives.

            Therefore, Innovations Ltd. can develop the best way to carry out its activities by giving room to its employees to champion on the best way that the organization can be able to achieve it objectives. The top management should encourage its employees to be innovative in what they do so that they can feel part of the team and be loyal to the company.  The employees who are loyal to the organization will end up reducing the employee turnover in the organization and thus save it from the costs and procedures of hiring and training new staff.


Basel II: Operational Risk, Moral Hazard, and Corporate Culture retrieved on 23rd

Jan 2008 from http://www.fma.org/Siena/Papers/530061.pdf

Innovations Ltd. Core Values, retrieved on 23rd Jan 2008 from


Hall P.D & Norburn D (1987): Corporate Culture –A Framework for its

Measurement and Comparison, retrieved on 23rd Jan 2008 from http://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk:8080/bitstream/1826/364/2/SWP3489.pdf.

Handy C B (N.d): Summary of Four Organizational Cultures retrieved on 23rd Jan

2008 From


Hatch M.J (2004): Dynamics in Organizational Culture retrieved on 23rd Jan 2008



Schein E H (1997): Organizational Culture & Leadership, retrieved on 23rd Jan 2008

From http://www.tnellen.com/ted/tc/schein.html

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