Nov 15, 2019 in Exploratory

Culture and climate in an organization tend to act as the natural drivers that leave critical imprints on it. In most cases, focusing too much on the culture and leaving the aspect of climate behind can pose the major challenges to leaders who aim at transforming their entities. In that case, the concept of climate in an organization provides a definable, as well as a measurable, driver towards the change implementation. Of late, the organizational researchers focusing on culture have constantly involved themselves in the survey techniques and determined some comparative aspects of the element. It has been done in a way that seems to contradict the original basis of research on culture. In addition, the new quantitative studies on culture carry with them a strong similarity with the earlier researches. Some of the perspectives include the traditionalist, interpretivist, and critical views. The current paper seeks to discuss culture and climate acknowledging the different perspectives held by researchers of the organizational studies, using the interview responses from an organization and providing recommendations for change. 

Definition of Organizational Culture and Climate

Organizational culture refers to the values along with the behaviors that play a part in determining the social and psychological surroundings of an enterprise. Moreover, organizational culture involves the expectation, encounters, and philosophy, as well as values that bring every element in it together. In most cases, organizational culture is reflected in the basis of self-image, internal tasks, and relations with the external environment alongside the future prospects. Organizational culture is usually based on the unique attitudes, beliefs, and norms of individuals within it. It also incorporates both the written and unwritten regulations that are usually developed and regarded as valid in an organization. Most evidently, organizational culture plays a vital role in determining the productivity, as well as performance, of an entity. It offers the clear guidelines on the care and service provision to customers towards enhancing the product quality and security. On the other hand, organizational climate is defined as inclusive of properties of a business environment that is observed keenly by the staff members at their workplaces and can affect their actions, along with their job performance. In fact, organizational climate can be described as the manner, in which individuals in an entity experience culture in the same entity. Most evidently, organizational climate can change under the decision of the management. 

The distinctions between organizational culture and climate can be effectively done by considering different perspectives of the organizational researchers.

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Traditional Perspective

The traditional perspective is also referred to as the functionalist research approach. It is the oldest of the three approaches; hence, it is named traditional. For many decades, the researchers had accepted that, without any inquiries, organizational culture and climate can be studied from a traditional point of view. Most importantly, the traditionalists regard enterprises as entities that can be researched on suing the concepts and approaches of traditional social science. Moreover, the traditionalists hold that organizational culture and climate are objectively observable practices. That way, it is easy to measure, label, and classify, as well as relate to, other processes in an enterprise. Moreover, the traditionalists perceive communication as a vital variable that can be applied or changed by the management in order to model or create organizational culture. The assumption held by the traditionalists is that the managers have the capacity to control organizational culture and hence affect the performance. 

Interpretivist Perspective

This perspective usually focus on the complex processes in organizations and is less concerned with the leadership. According to this research approach, the members of an organization tend to create and model culture by their day-to-day communication activities. The approach concentrates on the manner, in which the members of an organization develop their experiences. In most cases, the rituals and myths along with other cultural practices are not considered static elements that can be passed from the leadership to employees. The perspective also holds that culture is something that an entity is rather than a variable that it has. It offers more comprehension of the organizational life than the traditionalist approach does. 

Critical Perspective

This perspective tends to expound on the aspects of interpretivist approach in terms of critiques, as well as evaluation. The approach tends to evaluate the available culture. Most importantly, it refers to the ideologies along with the power structures, which tend to underscore cultures in an entity. It should be understood that the approach is based on a goal of providing freedom to people against any dominance or oppression. It holds that the corporate researchers ought to examine the complexities of organizational cultures. That way, they can come up with suggestions on the solutions to such complexities. 

Organizational Interviews

The organization that provided a platform for interviewing two individuals of its personnel is the University of Tennessee of Health Science Center (UTHSC). The two employees interviewed in the session were the Human Resource Manager and one of the doctors. The main objective of the interview was to obtain the relevant information with regard to the organization’s culture and climate. 

Description of UTHSC

UTHSC is an organization focused on bringing together the advantages of health sciences towards enhancing the great achievements, as well as maintenance of health in the humanity. The organization focuses on people of Tennessee by the pursuance of collaborative programs in the education, research, medical and public care. The institution has more than 6,000 personnel working in different departments. It has been reported to contribute above $2.7 billion to the economy of Tennessee. It comprises six colleges including the health professions, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, graduate health sciences, and medicine. Almost 3,000 students are enrolled in one of the main campuses in Memphis. 

Reasons for Choosing UTHSC

This organization was selected for the interviewing process for several reasons. One of the reasons is that the organization has a well-organized culture owing to the fact that it has several integrated departments. Despite its many departments, it has been able to maintain the proper interrelationships among the personnel of different departments. The organization also provides a wide spectrum of investigation in the scientific field. The organization has a rich historical background that has developed to define its own culture. The information can easily be retrieved from its archives in terms of origins, history, objectives, and programs, as well as development policies. 

Responses of the Interviews

The interviewing process was quite successful since the HR manager, and the doctor were cooperative and friendly. After the process, it was easy to compile the responses into a single document that can be relied upon while analyzing the culture of the organization. The communication from leaders to employees can be described as a two-way one, because both have an open communication, in which each of them supports the other in one way or the other. Most importantly, employees are expected to give first priority to the quality of healthcare provided to the citizens. That way, they are committed to the tasks and roles that they are supposed to play. The employees who are favored in the organization are those who are committed to creativity and innovation in different departments. They are able to provide solutions to any complex problems. 

Moreover, the organization treats employees as an epitome of success. Furthermore, the process of decision-making in the organization can be described as an open one since it involves personnel from the top ranks to the support and subordinate staff. In the organization, the employees are assigned to tasks or projects based on their skills and qualifications owing to the fact that the healthcare is a sensitive sector. That way, the new employees are expected to learn about the programs and services provided by the organization. In addition, the mottos, values, heroes, and rituals of the organization include an explanation of the common identity, guidance, and justification of the organization’s practices. 

Analysis of the Culture

The communication within UTHSC is both formal and informal in nature. Formal communication happens through structured channels where the information ought to follow certain procedures such as memos. Informal communication happens across the board, and there are no structured channels for the information exchange. Moreover, the entire mood and tone of the organizational environment is a healthy one with every member working in commitment. There is also an empowerment of members through an effective social culture. Most evidently, the attitudes and perceptions of individual members can be considered positive in nature since they feel comfortable owing to the fact that the culture offers a sense of general identity within the organization. 

The control within the organization is characterized by the well-defined guidelines and job descriptions, as well as authority. Diversity that is brought in by different interests and skills of individuals enhances learning of the new ways of handling the issues and tasks within the organization. The technological influences have played a great part within the organization since they have been aligned with the practices. In fact, they have become a part of the organizational culture with the new innovations being attained such as e-commerce. The organizational also entails observable components in its culture known as the artifacts that are easy to create. The rituals and ceremonies in the company are marked by the new recruits’ training, welcome launches, offsite gatherings, and annual conferences. The stories of heroes within the organization are openly explained to the new hires that are meant to offer tips on the ways to handle the current issues. In other words, the organizational culture in UTHSC can be defined as a rich one. 

Recommendations

  • There is a need to invite new ideas and allow people to make mistakes as a way of enriching organizational culture. It is vital to note that not all ideas originate from the top management levels. It would be necessary to allow the employees to bring in fresh concepts and perspectives. This step will allow widening their thinking and understanding that a mistake can allow learning the new opportunities.
  • The organization also needs to reward the excellence and allow celebration of milestones. It is important to reward the people, whose actions tend to exemplify organizational culture. This strategy will allow the employees to be completely engaged in the productivity improvement. It will also enhance the team spirit. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a critical need for the organizational leaders to strike a balance between climate and culture during the change implementation. That way, there is a vital need to distinguish organizational culture and climate under different perspectives. There is also a need to consider different organizations under diverse settings as a way of acknowledging diversity in the terms of culture and climate. Most importantly, both culture and climate have a vital impact on an enterprise, especially at a period of the transformational change. This paper has looked at different perspectives of culture and climate and has critically analyzed culture at UTHSC that has enabled a clear formulation of recommendations. 

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