University of Phoenix Organizational Culture

Essay by heart74University, Master'sA, January 2009

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Organizational culture can be defined as the system of attitudes, beliefs and values that are collectively expressed in support of organizational structure. Organizational culture is a pattern of shared basic assumptions that dictate the behavior of individuals within an organization. Culture determines which practices are appropriate and which are not, effectively developing standards, guidelines, and expectations for individuals within an organization. Although they work hand in hand, there is a definite distinction in the beliefs and the values that make up organizational culture. The beliefs of an organization are assumptions of the way things are, while values are an assumption about the way things should be. By that definition, beliefs constitute the day-to-day actions of a company (how things are run and why they are run that way), while values project those beliefs on future considerations (what is important to the organization and how those things should be maintained).

Organizational culture is key in the success or failure of organizations, as is evident in contemporary society.

Although organizations differ in strength of culture and those with strong, positive cultures tend to be the most efficient and productive, strong cultures can also become negative and powerfully influence an organization in a negative way. Such is the case with the Enron Corporation, a once massive energy company that suffered arguably the most horrific financial collapse in American history. The Enron failure began with the development of a flawed corporate (organizational) culture, and was fulfilled by the constant reinforcement of that culture. From the top down, Enron's corporate culture damned the company's successes and ensured it for eventual collapse.

It must by noted that while the collapse of the Enron Corporation was dynamic and was the result of many specific venture failures and market pressures, this paper has a specific focus on...