How effective is organizational culture as a control mechanism upon which managers can rely?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Context determines the answer to such a question.  Organizational cultures can serve as a source of greatness within the organization.  "The way things are done around here" can be something that managers can rely upon if it helps to further their own goals or if it is a message that they want reinforced, which is unable to be fully conveyed by management.  For example, a manager cannot tell an employee to subvert their personal lives for the sake of the company.  However, if it is evident that this is part of the organizational culture, the approach of "how things are done" is something that can be absorbed by the employee without the manager having to do anything.  In this instance, one can see how organizational culture is an effective control mechanism that managers can use and upon which they can rely.

Yet, there can be an equal number of situations in which the manager might find organizational culture a barrier, a mechanism that might control more of the manager's efforts than anything else.  Organizational cultures that are very strong and embedded are ones that might not embrace changes very well.  There could be a great deal of resistance that the manager faces if they wish to implement changes that go against "the way things are done around here."  In these settings, managers can find organizational culture as an impediment to their sense of being.  Managers in this position cannot rely on organizational culture if it is deeply opposed to a position that management takes.  It is here in which the manager finds themselves hitting a brick wall which is embodied by the culture of the organization.

Managers must recognize the pulse of their organizational culture and be skilled in embracing that which serves the overall benefit of the organizational.  They must also recognize how to push the forces of change that can make an organization greater, while being able to maintain the identity of a culture that employees deem as important.  This becomes the task of any effective manager, one in which decisions have to be taken with a sense of courage and understanding.