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spiritual principles with organizational practices aimed at achieving good business results. The company
emphasizes that it engages in three classes of external relations with its partners, with third
(customers, suppliers, and the community at large), and with its colleagues. At the same time, the
company argues "we are in constant touch with our own selves." Those relationships are managed
through four types of values (1) Honesty (
) to investors, (2) Conscientiousness (
) to
external parties such as customers and suppliers, (3) Caring Justice (
) to work colleagues and
employees, and (4) Personal Control (
) that reflects "our aspiration is to realize our full
potential and a life of balanced and satisfying achievements".
size of the organization
how long it has been around
how much turnover there has been among employees
intensity with which the culture was originated
high agreement regarding what is important
The more employees accept the organization's key values and the greater their commitment to those
values, the stronger the culture is. Strong cultures have a greater influence on employees than do weak
One study found that employees in organizations with strong cultures were more committed to their
organization than were employees in organizations with weak cultures. The organizations with strong
cultures also used their recruitment efforts and socialization practices to build employee commitment.
And an increasing body of evidence suggests that strong cultures are associated with high organizational
performance. It's easy to understand why a strong culture enhances performance. After all, when values
are clear and widely accepted, employees know what they're supposed to do and what's expected of them
so they can act quickly to take care of problems, thus preventing any potential performance decline.
However, the drawback is that the same strong culture also might prevent employees from trying new
approaches especially during periods of rapid change.
Culture is transmitted to employees in a number of ways. The most significant are stories, rituals,
material symbols, and language.
Organizational "stories" typically contain a narrative of significant events or people including
such things as the organization's founders, rule breaking, reactions to past mistakes, and so forth. For
instance, managers at Nike feel that stories told about the company's past help shape the future.
Whenever possible, corporate "storytellers" (senior executives) explain the company's heritage and tell
stories that celebrate people getting things done.
Corporate rituals
are repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the values
of the organization, what goals are most important, and which people are important. The "Passing of the
Pillars" is an important ritual at Boston Scientific's facility near Minneapolis, for example. When someone
has a challenging and tough project or assignment, they're "awarded" a small two
foot high plaster
Paris pillar to show that they've got support from all their colleagues.
Material Symbols
Material symbols convey to employees who is important, the degree of equality
desired by top management, and the kinds of behavior that are expected and appropriate. Examples of
material symbols include the layout of an organization's facilities, how employees dress, the types of
automobiles provided to top executives, and the availability of corporate aircraft. At WorldNow, a
provider of Internet technology to local media companies, an important material symbol is an old dented
drill that the founders purchased for $2 at a thrift store. The drill symbolizes the company's culture of
"drilling down to solve problems."
Many organizations and units within organizations use language as a way to identify and
unite members of a culture. By learning this language, members attest to their acceptance of the culture
and their willingness to help preserve it. For instance, Microsoft employees have their own unique
vocabulary the term
work judo
is used to mean "the art of deflecting a work assignment to someone else
without making it appear that you're avoiding it.

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