A Critical Analysis Of Business Culture And Values On Management

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A critical Analysis of Business Culture and Values on management.


Business Management has known a significant evolution. In the past, the management without any staff consideration had imposed employee actions. Since the end of the sixties, it is changing. Members of the staff have a personal role to play in the firm. Nowadays, the understanding of the firm management involves more and more psychological and sociological analysis. This new world of comprehension answers to the managerial question how managers can mobilise all the human resources in order to obtain the higher profitability. Development of the company culture might be an answer. The company culture deals with the whole signs, symbols, social values shared by the company members and this insures the unity of the firm.

A/ The culture of the company:

1-Introduction:        

The company culture can be defined as "A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problem of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems." (Schein EH, (1997)"Organizational Culture", Jossey-Bass Inc, P12)


Since 1960, such a firm rehabilitation has been noticed indeed, inspired by the Japanese model. The firm is not a productive entity anymore; it is also a central institution of the society. Sociologists studied this phenomenon and have risen the conclusion that firms are influenced and shaped by their environments, the capitalism, and the democratic society.

The objectives of this assignment are to show how Business culture and Values cannot follow an ethical view influencing Business Management. Employees are manipulated by the company culture that they even build themselves through the years of work within the company. The company culture is a well build capitalistic way to answer to the capitalism itself. Get a motivated staff management, which can be easily manipulated, through rewards and pressures in order to reach its objectives.


2-Management and organisational behaviour impacts:

In order to obtain a better analyse of the company culture, this section propose a short understanding of the different culture bodies: Values, Myths, symbols, Heroes, and Network.

Values: They are the beliefs and ideas shared by firm members guiding staff behaviours. They are really important for the firm success because they shape the strategy, the style of management and the relationship between services and people are shaped then through the values. Employee may follow them to keep his job. Sometimes, these ideas might become norms that are a really creed for the company.

Myths: There are anecdotes and stories about the firm creation, story and success. Such myths vehicle and look after essential and stimulated values.

Symbols: They are signs carrying a meaning more or less linked to fundamental values. Clothes can express ideas, attitudes that the firm wants to communicate. For example, at Apple Computer, the tee shirt instead of the tie seems to show a casual atmosphere. But in reality, the staff is advised by management to wear casual clothes, so they have no right to wear what they want, it is a fake spirit of freedom.

Heroes: The mythology of the firm knows wonderful persons, such models inside and outside the firm expressing a heroism need and value to common actions. They motivate the staff by their illustrious careers.

Cultural network: This system has the aim to reinforce values. Rumours represent a good way to transmit cultural information and to motivate the staff." In many cases, time-based cultures are far ahead of the customer in defining new applications, opportunities, and product that create new markets and generate new sources of value." (Rollins T and Roberts D. (1998)"Work Culture Organizational Performance and Business Success", Rollins Roberts, USA)

3- Looking for a favourable culture:

The question to control the firm culture seems to be like a product control. About the culture, some people propose methods of direct intervention. In this way, the firm should first find its hero indicating the system of values. Then our champion would show the way to follow. In the same time, the firm would look at create a cultural network in order to transmit myths.
Peters and Waterman thought the firm has to centralise the authority, give a more important role to play to operational staff, link salary and performance, favour innovation. All these ideas represent the main ideas developing an ideology of management but they do no represent any link with constitution of a culture that the firm would control.
Basically, it is excessive an unfair to use the search of a firm culture as an excuse to increase profit and productivity.

B/ Does the established culture of the company influence management?

Some tracks of the culture can be found through
§        The written and oral languages that reveal existing relationships between different staff members.
§        Policies of recruitment and selection influenced by cultural values. The profile of the applicant, the criterions of selection reflect this reality.

Companies are looking for candidates with compatible values shared with the company. This behaviour allows to new employees following the business values to reach high rewards. Nevertheless, the evolution of the culture is consequently stopped. The business culture must evolve and only the new entrants can enable such an evolution.

The internal regulations and rules precise what it is allowed (sacred) and what it is forbidden (secular). In the same way, internal communication tools (quality charter, projects of the company) establish the most important moral principles governing the organisation.

The culture does influence the management because all the new entrants are obliged to learn and integrate the business values. This is a part of the process of acculturation.

1- The process of acculturation: creating a common purpose to achieve business results.

Acculturation is a process in which members of one cultural group adopt the beliefs and behaviours of another group. Although acculturation is usually in the direction of a minority group adopting habits and language patterns of the dominant group, acculturation can be reciprocal. "Assimilation of one cultural group into another may be evidenced by changes in language preference, adoption of common attitudes and values, members hip in common social groups and institutions, and loss of separate political or ethnic identification"

One characteristic of "Employers of Choice" is offering employees the opportunity to work in an environment that truly embodies the corporate vision, mission, and values. A culture in which all employees share and are energized by a common language that supports the alignment of the individual with the organization's goals and direction. Acculturation becomes a systematic means by which the organization can successfully bring new members into their culture, merge two differing cultures, or re-calibrate current employees in a changing and evolving culture. The Human resources Management is the central key of the development of the acculturation. The employee who is looking for the Need of Affiliation defined by Mc Clevelland's may easily accepts the acculturation. "People with a high need for affiliation usually derive pleasure from being loved and tend to avoid the pain of being rejected by a social group" (Mc Cleveland D.,(1953) "The Achievement Motive", Appleton-Century-Crofts, pp6-24).

2-The Impact of Human Resource Management
First of all, the Human resources department has the duty to select the future employees likely to hold the potential to integrate the business culture. We want someone who will fit in (Schein EH, (1997)"Organizational Culture", Jossey-Bass Inc, P76)
Moreover, new employees will follow business trainings that may insure the process of acculturation. At the end of their training, new employees would integrate different departments of the company. In these departments, confronting the staff is a daily way to integrate the culture. New entrants would copy this behaviour and reproduce it later with new employees. This is a kind of vicious circle initiated by the Human resources management, which is the head office of the manipulation and control through pressures and rewards policies. There is no space for the full personal initiative, the employees become only obeying orders
        
Business values may be ethically correct; nevertheless, members of organisation tend to do not care anymore about the ethical dilemmas because business values and culture had been integrated. "Employees may think that an act is right if it is approved by the social group to which a person belongs and wrong if it is not."(Mullins L, (1999), Financial Time Pitman Publishing, P146.) Without a set of commonly shared values to guide employees from within, companies are reluctant to relinquish their traditional safeguard mechanisms against possible destabilization. Employees have been re-socialised by the company, that why at work they may forget all values acquired through social institutions like school, family, religious community. That is why members of organisations usually carry out different role at work than at home. Most of the decision taken by the organisation will be collective due to the corporate culture influence. A huge numerous of subject involving ethical matters in business would be ignored. The following represent some of them discussed by George and Webley. (De George, R. (1989), "Business Ethic", Third Edition, MacMillan); (Webley S. (1993) "Codes of Business Ethics: Why companies should develop them and How", The Insitute of Business Ethics.)













C/ Ethical Analysis
The ethical analysis should provide answers to questions. "The fundamental questions of ethic are questions of conduct-what in particular cases, should we do ?-and the study of ethics provides the answers" (Rachels J, (1997) "Can ethics Provide answers", Rowman & Littlefiel Publishers, London, P 21). An ethical analysis enables to show the case studied with different perspectives involving a new reflection.

1-        Deontological Analysis:
Kantian approach: Respect and autonomy in the business work relationship

Lot of the research on the business values and ethics has established a list of principles about how the companies should respect the stakeholders. These principles are in many cases involving the concept of respect for the persons. This principle is derived from the eighteenth-century German Philosopher named Kant. He thought the concept as a categorical imperative that society must adhere to. "So act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or that of any other, never solely as a means but always also as an end" (Kant I, (1964) Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Harper& Row, New York, p96). He meant that people should treat others as beings who have ends; relating the desires and choices, not just as means to the business ends The individual person is intrinsically worthy of respect simply because she or he is a person, regardless of whether we like the person. According to Kantian philosophy, a person is a being who is capable of rational though and self-determined action. Rational means the ability to give reasons for actions and self-determining entails acting according to one's own choices and desires and having the ability to make decisions. It is clear that employee decision-making is highly influenced by the business culture and values. We could argue the employee is losing the control. How can he give reasons for pollution or bribery?
The respect is on the centre of Kantian moral philosophy. It focuses on the content of morality, explicitly stating how we should treat other people. Other features of Kant's theory are also important in relation to professional ethics. "Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law". (Kant I, (1964) Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Harper& Row, New York, p88). An example of promise keeping can be use to illustrate this point. In order introduce a new company internal Policy, the manager of a cosmetic company may promise to do a referendum, although he has not attention to doing so. This is a fake promise avoiding lot of troubles for the manager. If everybody in the firm makes false promises , the whole institution of promise-keeping would collapse and there would be no basis to trust the business management. For Kant, it is important to underline that false promises are not wrong because of the consequences if everyone did so, but rather that it would be logically inconsistent to will that everybody should do it, because we would them be making a promise in an organisation where promise-keeping no longer existed. Consequently for Kantm the only good action is that which is done for the sense of duty. The author could argue that business culture and value development is done for a sense of inclination. Employee are manipulated by the company itself, they are not anymore rational and autonomous, free to make their own decisions and choices. They do not make the moral law and give it to themselves.

Max Weber: Spirit of Modern Capitalism and Protestant Ethic:

This analyse is very different form what we would except from a religious. Max Weber's protestant Ethic essay argues there was a close affinity between the spirit of modern capitalism and the protestant ethic. Ascetic Protestantism created an ethos which was compatible with modern rational capitalism and did not stand in conflict with capitalism business methods and practises such as culture and values over development. The capitalist could engage in his work with an easy conscience and indeed with that much greater vigour and enthusiasm in the knowledge that what he did was not only not morally suspect but was in fact the carrying out of God's purposes for him in this life. Weber begins by noting how frequently certain religions affiliations are associated with success in business and with ownership of capital resources. It is clear that a good development of business culture means a rewarding policy. The trend is the business management offers more and more involvement in the company through the distribution of shares. The employee feels he belongs to the company and a part of the company belongs to him. In reality, it is another ability from the management to pay less the staff, motivate them to work harder in order to obtain the higher dividend, reinforcing the common values. That is why for Weber, the modern entrepreneur characteristically seeks to maximise profit through continuous rational and optimal use of resource not simply because it is prudent to do so but as a duty. Te spirit of capitalism involved the work ethic which meant that any time not devoted to the end of making money was considered to have been wasted. A large part of the profit must be reinvested in the company insuring the survival of the company in the future, insuring the business culture development within the years. These principles were not simply useful standards for success but a true ethic. "The earning of money within the modern economic order, is, so ;ong as it is done legally, the result and the expression of virtue and proficiency in a caling" pp 53 54. This ethos was not one which came naturally of human beings. In fact Weber says, the desire to make money whatever the means when divorced from such an ethic is correlated with an absence of rational capitalist development. "The universal reign of absolute unscrupulousness in the pursuit of selfish interests by the making of money has been a specific characteristic of precisely those countries where bourgeois-capitalistic development, measured according to occidental Standards, has remained backward" ( Eber, 1930, P57).

        2-Utilitarism view:
Employees are not anymore independent and autonomous in their work. The manipulation and the over control determine the business management. For a two choice question, the Utilitarianism perspective takes into account that a right action produces much more happiness than the other action. It is basically the balance between the good and the evil expressing by the principle of utility. The good is simplified by the sum of happiness and pleasures.




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