The paper discusses organizational culture and ethics as central factors influencing the work of different organizations. The proposed literature review focuses on this topic and structures information about it. It defines both organizational culture and ethics, suggests ways how they emerge and can be shared and shaped, and outlines effects linked to these factors. It proves the necessity to cultivate a culture within organizations and use it as a tool for better achievement and performance. The work contains a summary of central findings and ideas.
The stable functioning of an organization and its ability to evolve critically depends on the values it has and relations between employees. However, the shift towards diversity and the emergence of big international companies introduce the additional complexity of managing big teams and preserving high motivation and performance levels. Under these conditions, the corporate culture and ethics within a unit acquire the top priority as the factors vital for successful collaboration between all parties and goal achievement. The existing literature also recognizes the fundamental role these two aspects play within organizations and emphasizes the need for their cultivation.
Definition of Organizational Culture
Every organization has its unique nature, which is explained by its goals, peculiarities of functioning, and sphere to which it belongs. It also means that their values and views are also different and altered regarding the context. Under these conditions, organizational culture becomes a complex notion depending on multiple factors. Daft (2015) defined it as a set of values, norms, beliefs, visions, and attitudes shared by members of a unit and explained to all newly hired employees as an appropriate way to respond, work, and behave. This definition proves the significance of the concept for groups and its impact on all spheres of an organization’s work.
Types of Organizational Culture
The firm should cultivate organizational culture regarding the current goals and the dominant ideas to promote further growth. Researchers differentiate the four central types of culture such as adaptability, mission, clan, and bureaucratic (Schein & Schein, 2016). The adaptability type provides more flexibility and innovation and focuses on the external environment to fulfill current clients’ demands (Daft, 2015). The mission culture appreciates the achievement and clear vision of the purpose (Daft, 2015). Units with the clan culture devote more attention to employees, viewing them as a critical part of the organization and fulfilling their needs to boost performance (Daft, 2015). Finally, the bureaucratic type presupposes a focus on the internal environment, stability, and observation of current traditions (Daft, 2015). Leaders should be responsible for choosing the appropriate organizational culture as it might either facilitate or hinder the rise of a unit.
Shaping, Sharing, and Sustaining Culture
The existing body of literature emphasizes that organizational culture does not emerge independently. On the contrary, its appearance, development, and existence depend on leaders and founders (Daft, 2015). Their vision of the company’s future and its mission impact the formulation of the values, ideas, and business strategy affecting the behavior of all employees and the tools they use to attain existing goals. For this reason, the creation of the culture is a complex process depending on top management and the firm’s goals. At the same time, the creation phase should be followed by sharing and sustaining stages. It means it is vital to create rituals, traditions, and customs employees can share with newcomers to modify their behaviors and ensure their involvement in the process (Schein & Schein, 2016). It will guarantee a better climate and cooperation between workers.
Impact on Work and Motivation
Numerous sources outline the correlation between a strong organizational culture and the company’s performance. Schein and Schein (2016) admit that units with an established system of values demonstrate better outcomes and achieve existing goals more frequently than firms with weak philosophies or views. It means that culture positively affects the work of organizations as it provides all employees with rules and tools that can be used in complex situations and improve decision-making or planning. From this perspective, it becomes a potent tool that top managers should employ to boost performance and attain better results.
Numerous authors also admit that organizational culture can shape motivation and workers’ engagement. For instance, Gochhayat et al. (2017) say that companies with an established system of values encourage their employees to be more responsive, involved, and focused on achieving goals. Additionally, it shows the importance of every employee and their contribution to the company. Groups with a clan type of culture motivate workers by feelings like being a part of a family and doing the same job (Joseph & Kibera, 2019). It helps to avoid problems with the absence of stimulus for attaining high performance and guarantees better results.
Ethics, Framework, and Training
Ethics is another phenomenon vital for the work of organizations and closely related to the idea of culture. It is a field of knowledge analyzing various acts and their motifs to determine whether they can be considered good or bad (Johnson, 2018). For organizations consisting of multiple individuals, the establishment of an ethical framework is vital as it will outline the conduct that top management and other workers appreciate and view as the only positive manner of behavior and cooperation (Johnson, 2018). Established ethics ensures a reduced number of conflicts and biases.
Founders, leaders, and top management of companies are responsible for cultivating the ethical framework and sustaining it. For instance, they should be committed to values to serve as an example and encourage other workers to act in the same way (Daft, 2015). Additionally, the existing framework should be used as the central criteria for decision-making and problem-solving methods (Daft, 2015). It will ensure the absence of discrimination or harassment issues and cultivate a better climate within an organization. It means that ethics remains a fundamental part of the modern business world.
The importance of ethics justifies the need for its cultivation and sustaining. For instance, Daft (2015) offers the idea of an ethics committee or a cross-functional group consisting of top management monitoring current ethics and analyzing issues related to this sphere. This body has the authority to punish wrongdoers and encourage employees who follow the code (Daft, 2015). It will help to shape the current framework and ensure there are no misunderstandings or workers’ unwillingness to function within the existing environment.
Altogether, culture and ethics are two pillars of any organization’s work. These two phenomena might support the evolution of companies by motivating employees and ensuring the absence of conflicts or hinder its rise because of the lack of philosophy and a code of conduct related to various situations. Under these conditions, it becomes vital to share and shape these elements by creating traditions, rituals, and beliefs. It is the prior task of leaders and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to be responsible for future organizations’ rise. It can be recommended to continue investigating these concepts because of their relevance and significance for the organization’s work and the multiple dimensions associated with the phenomenon. Future projects can analyze the correlation between culture and employees’ satisfaction and burnout rates as these factors are interconnected and influence outcomes and stability of units’ work.
Daft, R. (2015). Organization theory & design (12th ed.). South-Western College Publishing.
Gochhayat, J., Giri, V. N., & Suar, D. (2017). Influence of organizational culture on organizational effectiveness: The mediating role of organizational communication. Global Business Review, 18(3), 691–702. Web.
Johnson, C. (2018). Organizational Ethics: A practical approach (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications Inc.
Joseph, O. O., & Kibera, F. (2019). Organizational culture and performance: Evidence from microfinance institutions in Kenya. SAGE Open. Web.
Schein, E., & Schein, P. (2016). Organizational culture and leadership (5th ed.). Wiley.