Week 6: Organisational Culture and Decision-Making

Managing and Organizations: An Introduction to Theory and Practice: Third Edition (2011) by Stewart R Clegg, Martin Kornberger, and Tyrone Pitsis; Sage Publications: UK. Ch. 6&7

Holt (2002) God- and the devil – are in the detail. The Bottom Line. 15(4) 174-175

Case Study Keeping Google Google-y

In chapter 6 managing culture is explored. I will just delve slightly into the multifaceted region of organisation. The four CVF Organisational Models referred to by Shepstone and Currie are The Clan Culture – ‘an organisation that focuses on internal maintenance with flexibility, concern for people, and sensitivity to consumers’. The Adhocracy Culture – ‘an organisation that focuses on external positioning with a high degree of flexibility and individuality. The Hierarchy Culture – ‘an organisation that focuses on internal maintenance with a need for stability and control’. The Market Culture – ‘an organisation that focuses on external positioning with a need for stability and control’. In M&O the ‘strong culture’ perspective is still seen as the  most popular and yet it is not as evolved as other culture organisation culture. Many theorists talk of flattening down hierarchy models. There are many models for organisation culture. Ethnographers have suggested that culture may be characterised by fragmentation, taking a few models and sharing their cultural values and organisation.

In chapter 7, power and decision making is explored. Power has the possibility if managed correctly to be positive and less mechanical when it shapes and frames what others want to do ‘seemingly’ of their own free will. I found ‘managing power: seven steps to its effective use extremely helpful.

  1. Decide what your goals should be and what you are attempting to accomplish in consultation with direct stakeholders in the organisation. i.e. communication is paramount.
  2. Strategize patterns of dependence and interdependence which internal and external stakeholders are influential in achieving these goals
  3. Find out the points of views of the stakeholders, how they feel about the goals and strategies
  4. What are the power bases of important stakeholders? Which stakeholders are the most influential in the decision process
  5. What are your bases of power and influence, stress positive control over the situation
  6. Which strategies  for emoting power seem most appropriate/effective given the context
  7. Remember ethics and choose an ethical strategy to get your goals achieved

Holt professes an almighty knowledge of direction and leadership. He reiterates that God is in the details when directors balance their time working on a level of detail where the specification of expected outcomes is reviewed. Holt refers to the devil being in the detail when directors forget to contextualise the present and future of the organisation spending time on ‘petty’ matters and not enough time on defining behaviour outcomes. When in a management role, change but internal and external will always be a factor that determines action.

In Google’s Google-y eye, we find out about their culture and decision making process. The article is a little old but at the time, Google’s culture and decision making basis was consensus oriented. Their motto – ‘Failure is okay’ inspired their employees to try out new ideas without recrimination. Initiative was motivated by their culture and thousands of products were being developed and tested out by employees, some sailed the high skies others sank. It didn’t matter, the objective was to inspire creativity and it was valued in Google’s culture and decision-making process. Kim Scott said, ‘ Google is a fast moving consensus organisation I thought these were mutually exclusive qualities before I got there.’ The question is: Will Google be able to sustain this precedence or will their employees burn out. Is Google a young persons’ game? If you’re a Google employee, your workplace is your residence, there is no distinction from home and work. In order to refuel creativity, one must stop for a moment and reflect. Are Google managers reflecting or they too immersed in their Google universe?




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