AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECT OF ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE ON THE PERFORMANCE OF QUANTITY SURVEYING FIRMS IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Organizational culture defines the way employees complete tasks and interact with each other in an organization. The cultural paradigm comprises various beliefs, values, rituals and symbols that govern the operating style of the people within a company. Corporate culture binds the workforce together and provides a direction for the company. In times of change, the biggest challenge for any organization may be to change its culture, as the employees are already accustomed to a certain way of doing things (Ojo, 2008).
The dominant culture in organizations depends on the environment in which the company operates the organization’s objectives, the belief system of the employees and the company’s management style. Therefore, there are many organizational cultures. For example, highly bureaucratic and well-structured organizations typically follow a culture with extensive controls. Employees follow standard procedures with a strict adherence to hierarchy and well-defined individual roles and responsibilities. Those in competitive environments, such as sales, may forgo strict hierarchies and follow a competitive culture where the focus is on maintaining strong relationships with external parties. In this instance, the strategy is to attain competitive advantages over the competition. The collaborative culture is yet another organizational way of life. This culture presents a decentralized workforce with integrated units working together to find solutions to problems (Cascio, 2006).
Strong corporate cultures indicate that employees are like-minded and hold similar beliefs and ethical values. When these beliefs and ethical values align with business objectives, they can prove to be effective in building teams because rapport and trust quickly ensues. The bonds that the teams build help them avoid conflicts and focus on task completion. Strong corporate cultures ease communication of roles and responsibilities to all individuals. Employees know what is expected of them, how management assesses their performance and what forms of rewards are available.
Organizational cultures can have varying impacts on organizational performance and motivation levels of employee. Oftentimes, employees work harder to achieve organizational goals if they consider themselves to be part of the corporate culture. Different cultures operating in one company can also impact performance. For example, if the organization maintains a reserved “talk when necessary” culture, employees may work accordingly; however, if the organization allows one area, say the sales team, to be outspoken and socially active, the organization may experience rivalries among areas. Thus, allowing an area to set up their own culture can affect the performance of the employees deployed elsewhere in the company (Schein, 2004).
However, organizations must structure their recruitment processes to attract and engage incumbents with the same beliefs and values that constitute the organization’s culture. This ensures the new employee’s assimilation to the company and further strengthens corporate culture. Companies should also ensure that they align corporate culture with performance management systems. When culture and management systems are not aligned, management must redirect them so that employee behavior results in the achievement of organizational goals.
Organizational culture comprises the unwritten customs, behaviors and beliefs that determine the “rules of the game” for decision-making, structure and power. It’s based on the shared history and traditions of the organization combined with current leadership values. In effect, culture dictates the way we do business here and the organizational survival tactics that facilitate assimilation and personal success (Dave and Urich, 2011). With a strong organizational culture, employees do things because they believe it’s the right thing to do and feel they’ll be rewarded for their actions. However, if the leadership team lacks integrity or squelches diversity, powerful cultures can morph into cults, cliques, castes and insider clubs. Organizational culture can be treated as a series of distinctive characteristics of a specific organization. Some modern definitions of organizational culture are dynamic, directed at creativity, innovations and entrepreneurship. Organizational culture includes; a system of ideas and concepts, customs, traditions, procedures and habits for functioning in a specific macro culture» (Harris, 1981). Organizational culture is a series of values, standards and beliefs (Handy, 1986). Organizational culture is implicit, invisible, intrinsic and informal awareness of the organization which directs behaviour of individuals and which results from their behaviour (Scholz, 1987).
In understanding organizational culture it is very important to know all its elements. Authors are not unanimous about what are the elements of the organizational culture. According to Armstrong (Žugaj, Cingula, 1992) there are four important elements of organizational culture. These are; organization value, organization climate, Leadership style, work processes and system. The culture of an organization refers to the behavior patterns and standards that bind it together Schein (2004). A company’s culture tells the people who work for it what is right and wrong, what to believe, what not to believe, how to react and how to feel. And its actions speak louder than its words. However, the researcher seeks to assess the effect of organizational culture on the performance of quantity surveying firms in Nigeria.