Affecting Change

Organizational culture represents a common perception held by the organization’s members.   This was made explicit when we defined culture as a system of shared meaning.   We should expect, therefore, that individuals with different backgrounds or at different levels in the organization will tend to describe the organization’s culture in similar terms (Robbins and Judge).
      Acknowledgement that the organizational culture has common properties does not mean, however that there cannot be subcultures within any given culture.   Most large organizations have a dominant culture and numerous sets of subcultures.   A dominant culture expresses the core values that are shared by a majority of the organization’s members.   When we talk about an organization’s culture, we are referring to its dominant culture.   It is this macro view of culture that gives an organization its distinct personality.   Subcultures tend to develop in large organizations to reflect common problems, situations, or experiences that members face.   The subcultures are likely to be defined by department designations and geographical separation.   The purchasing department, for example, can have a subculture that is uniquely shared by members of that department.   It will include the core values of the dominant culture plus additional values unique to members of the purchasing department.   Similarly, an office or unit of the organization that is physically separated from the organization’s main operations may take on a different personality.   Again the core values are essentially retained, but they are modified to reflect the separated unit’s distinct situation (Robbins and Judge).
      If the organizations had no dominant culture and were composed only of numerous subcultures, the value of the organizational culture as an independent variable would be significantly lessoned because there would be no uniform interpretation of what represented appropriate and inappropriate behavior.   It is the shared...