Cross Cultures

16

C H A P T E R

S I X T E E N

Organizational Culture

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
• Describe the elements of organizational culture.
• Discuss the importance of organizational subcultures.
• List four categories of artifacts through which corporate
culture is communicated.
• Identify three functions of organizational culture.
• Discuss the conditions under which cultural strength
improves corporate performance.
• Discuss the effect of organizational culture on business
ethics.
• Compare and contrast four strategies for merging
organizational cultures.
• Identify five strategies to strengthen an organization’s
culture.

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T

o an outsider, PeopleSoft is one of the loopiest places on the planet. The Pleasanton, California, business management software company has nerf ball shootouts and minigolf
tournaments in the hallways. Dress-down day is every day of the week. A white collar is
usually a T-shirt. The bagels
and gourmet coffee are free.
Having fun is so ingrained that many employees—called PeoplePeople—say it’s the best
place to have a bad day.
PeopleSoft also values egalitarianism—
treating everyone with respect and minimal
status differences. Executives don’t have secretaries, special perks, or grandiose offices.
“Don’t kiss up and slap down,” PeopleSoft cofounder Dave Duffield reminds everyone. In
other words, give the bagel delivery guy the
same respect as the company president.
PeopleSoft is also extreme on technology
and flexible customer service. Job applicants
use an automated voice response system to accept their job offer. On the first day of work,
newcomers are outfitted with a notebook
computer and a backpack. They also receive
tools for posting personal web pages on the
company intranet. “There’s an unstated expectation that this is how things are done at
the company,” says Steve Zarate, PeopleSoft’s
chief information officer.
This corporate culture...
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