Organisational culture is a collection of values that characterises an organisation. It outlines the appropriate activities, and behaviours workers should do to promote a pleasant work environment and the company’s success. Organisational culture also informs a company’s goals and objectives, making it necessary to describe them explicitly. Leaders in an organisation model the behaviours that contribute to the group’s culture for the rest of the staff. A leader’s role is disseminating information about the company’s purpose, objectives, and values. Leaders are accountable for shaping the desired culture via the processes of articulating it, instilling it in their followers, and monitoring its success through appropriate incentives. Employees who have organised around and can communicate and pass on a set of shared values have a solid and sustainable culture. Leaders who are successful at inspiring followers to follow their example need to act in ways consistent with the company’s principles (Odiakaose ODOR, 2018). To truly embrace the ideals of the workplace, leaders must model the behaviours that workers should adopt. A leader’s responsibility is to make the organisation’s vision a reality. An organisation’s culture, therefore, can be managed and controlled by senior leaders. In this paper, we will look at how an organisation’s leadership influence and control the culture in an organisation.
Organisation’s Leadership Influence and Control on The Culture in An Organization
Organisational culture affects how well a company does and is a powerful instrument for regulating employee conduct. When regulating and influencing employee behaviour, an organisation’s culture trumps formal policies and procedures. For instance, guidelines may not aid a business in its quest to provide better customer service, especially if the issues each client brings up are different. Instead, fostering a customer service culture may be more productive by teaching workers to put themselves in their client’s shoes (Mohamad, 2021). Keeping a satisfied client is more important than avoiding the expense of a return. Thus, managers need the knowledge and skill to comprehend and shape the culture of their organisations in order to carry out both the control and organising functions effectively.
Senior leaders, through their actions, influence how employees behave. Leaders convey the required behaviour via their words and, more significantly, actions. They send a clear message and are more likely to persuade others to adopt a similar stance when their words and deeds are in sync (when they “walk the talk”). Every word and action a leader does will be noted by their subordinates. A leader who always is on time for meetings will likely have followers who do the same to avoid seeming unprofessional and inconsiderate of others’ time (Odiakaose ODOR, 2018). By consistently displaying the proper safety equipment, he or she sends a message that this is a priority and that others will be criticised if they do not follow suit. However, the converse is also true. A chronically late leader to important gatherings conveys that being late is acceptable behaviour. Similarly, a leader who passes the buck rather than taking responsibility for his or her conduct sends the message that it is OK to do so.
An excellent example of how leadership influences the organisation’s culture is discussed in Tran & Le (2018) on the management of organisations’ assets. The research found that management should prioritise strengthening internal controls to reduce the probability of fraud inside their organisations. The regression model’s findings corroborate the significance of a company’s control environment in preventing fraud. The organisation’s morals and standards are part of the control environment. The control environment profoundly affects the internal control structure (Tran & Le, 2018). As a result, the likelihood of fraud inside an organisation is lower if strict controls are in place.
Successful organisations are the result of the efforts of their leaders, who set the stage for that success. Structures, systems, and procedures are all designed under the direction of leaders. They establish the norms for the distribution of resources, the exhibition (or ban) of artefacts, and the observance (or not) of ceremonies and customs. Leaders foster and sustain normative actions and routines by the decisions they make. An organisation’s leadership impacts the quality of output of the organisation. For instance, the findings by Mannion & Davies (2018) indicate that “In the hospitals that experienced substantial and positive cultural shifts, changes were most prominent in specific domains, such as perceptions of the learning environment, senior management support, and psychological safety. Hospitals with marked positive cultural shifts also experienced significant decreases in risk-standardised mortality rates” p. 3. This means that organisational failure is reduced if the organisation’s leadership fosters a positive work environment.
Senior leaders’ behaviour influences organisational communication. For an organisation to have a good communication culture, leaders should devise ways to open up different types of communication and be willing to listen to the employees. Leaders should ensure that all employees feel heard by considering their opinions in decision-making. Assuming that the change management procedures are put in place, and the rationale for the change is communicated well, it may be possible to reduce or eliminate resistance. Tran & Le (2018) found that disseminating information and the establishment of open lines of communication are also crucial to preventing fraud inside businesses. For instance, you can reduce fraud by facilitating the free flow of information within an organisation. Senior leaders must be engaged in developing and executing necessary changes to structures, procedures, policies, and so on for the change to be effective and done in a realistic time frame. It should be made clear that they are not acting independently. In order to find the optimal answer, they must consult with specialists in the relevant fields. In order to guarantee that changes produce desired outcomes, the leader must challenge, push, and test the decisions before implementation (Mohamad, 2021). In the end, it is up to leaders to create a conducive setting where new habits might grow. A thriving cultural shift requires prepared leaders to make uncomfortable choices and hold people responsible.
On the other hand, other factors can influence and determine an organisation’s culture. For instance, founders influence company cultures considerably, but each sector’s uniqueness also plays a part in forming organisational cultures. Even among competitors in the same market, there may be striking cultural differences between businesses. Organisational cultures are comparable because of the commonalities in industry traits and requirements (Odiakaose ODOR, 2018). For instance, tech organisations may have similar norms that may differ from healthcare or food industries.
Employees can also shape the culture of an organisation. Recently, we have seen a rise in employees talking about toxic work cultures and how they can be improved. Generation Z, in particular, has been credited with radically changing workplace cultures. They have a strong voice in the workplace and are not hesitant to advocate for themselves or others. Younger workers from Generation Z are pushing for more flexible scheduling. They reason that it would be more productive to work from dawn until noon, have a break in the afternoon, and then return to work at five o’clock and stay there until midnight. As long as they get the job done and satisfy client expectations, they perceive this arrangement as entirely OK in their thinking and are “always on” reality (Gaidhani et al., 2019). Due to employee pressure, some organisations are changing their work cultures to working four days a week instead of five days a week. The focus is shifting from how many hours employees spend at the workplace to the quality of their work output.
Organisations are also changing to remote work after the coronavirus p0andemic. The widespread social and economic shock brought on by COVID-19 has already significantly impacted corporate cultures. Popular stereotypes of corporate life, such as an open office with everyone dressed in suits, have given way to more obscure images, such as offices separated by Perspex walls and employees outfitted in safety gear. Zoom calls have replaced once-commonplace practices like idle chitchat by the water cooler. Many businesses seem to have altered their core beliefs and assumptions away from exploration and innovation and toward safety and resilience (Spicer, 2020). Remote work, something that felt foreign before, has become the norm in many organisations within two years.
There is always something special about how a company functions that sets it apart from others. It is precisely this originality that serves as a differentiating feature when explaining the organisation to others. Organisational culture, as I see it, comprises the norms and practices of a company in light of its underlying worldview and set of assumptions. An organisation’s culture significantly impacts the productivity of its employees and, by implication, its overall success. Leaders who put a premium on company culture know it is their responsibility to create one. They demonstrate to their teams what actions are keeping with the new culture and what actions need to be modified. Considering the issues discussed in this paper, we can conclusively say that senior leaders can manage and control an organisation’s culture.
Gaidhani, S., Arora, L., & Sharma, B. K. (2019). Understanding the attitude of generation Z towards the workplace. International Journal of Management, Technology and Engineering, 9(1), 2804-2812.
Mannion, R., & Davies, H. (2018). Understanding organisational culture for healthcare quality improvement. BMJ, k4907. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4907
Mohamad, N. (2021). The Effect of Leadership Style, Organisational Culture and Internal Control on Asset Misappropriation. Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal, 25(5), 2–10.
Odiakaose ODOR, H. (2018). Organisational culture and dynamics. International Journal of Scientific Research and Management, 6(01), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.18535/ijsrm/v6i1.em05
Spicer, A. (2020). Organizational Culture and COVID-19. Journal of Management Studies, 57(8), 1738-1739. https://doi.org/10.1111/joms.12625
Tran, M. D., & Le, T. T. (2018). The effect of internal control on asset misappropriation: The case of Vietnam. Business and Economic Horizons, 14(4), 941–953. https://doi.org/10.15208/beh.2018.64