Chapter 15: Organizational Culture

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Describe organizational culture and why it is important for an organization.
  2. Understand the dimensions that make up a company’s culture.
  3. Distinguish between weak and strong cultures.
  4. Understand factors that create culture.
  5. Understand how to change culture.
  6. Understand how organizational culture and ethics relate.
  7. Understand cross-cultural differences in organizational culture.

Just like individuals, you can think of organizations as having their own personalities, more typically known as organizational cultures. The opening case illustrates that Nordstrom is a retailer with the foremost value of making customers happy. At Nordstrom, when a customer is unhappy, employees are expected to identify what would make the person satisfied, and then act on it, without necessarily checking with a superior or consulting a lengthy policy book. If they do not, they receive peer pressure and may be made to feel that they let the company down. In other words, this organization seems to have successfully created a service culture. Understanding how culture is created, communicated, and changed will help you be more effective in your organizational life. But first, let’s define organizational culture.

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