Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Corporate Culture

I culled out relevant information on this topic from sources I’d gathered for a write-up: ‘Campus to Company’ I’d prepared to include in an English course book for the students of the first year bachelor of engineering degree at Karpagam University, a Deemed University in Tamil Nadu, India.  

Corporate Culture
This expression is a synonym for organisational culture.

A description
Dr Benjamin Rush, in the website: The University of Rhode Island’s says: A single definition of organizational culture has proven to be very elusive. No one definition of organizational culture has emerged in the literature.

He further says: culture is defined in terms of ‘outcomes’ and ‘processes’. Culture  defined on the basis of ‘outcomes’ refers to the consistency seen in the ‘way in which people perform tasks, solve problems, resolve conflicts, treat customers, and treat employees.’ Culture is also defined on the basis of ‘processes’ and refers to ‘the informal values, norms, and beliefs that control how individuals and groups in an organization interact with each other and with people outside the organization.’

But for our purposes, we can be satisfied with the following description:
Organizational culture includes an organization's philosophy and values that are formed out of expectations, experiences that hold it together, and is expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valid.

Also called corporate culture, it's shown in 
(1) the ways the organization conducts its business, treats its employees, customers, and the
      wider community, 
(2) the extent to which freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and
      personal expression, 
(3) how 
power and information flow through its hierarchy, and 
(4) how committed employees are towards collective objectives.

It affects the organization's productivity and performance, and provides guidelines on customer care and service, product quality and safety, attendance and punctuality, and concern for the environment. It also extends to production-methods, marketing and advertising practices, and to new product creation. Organizational culture is unique for every organization and one of the hardest things to change.

Organisational culture is
· embedded in a network of organisational practices
· amplified by the behaviour of leaders
· evident in the behaviours of individuals and groups
· visible in the ‘way that work gets done’ on  a day-to-day basis

corporate culture as existing in Indian employing agencies:
‘While I agree with Indian CEOs that finding creative, entrepreneurial young workers is getting harder, the real problem lies with Indian CEOs themselves, or more precisely, with their arcane management style (anachronistic command-and-control management style). They have yet to learn that you can't mandate innovation from the top, since innovation is an organic phenomenon driven by voluntary employee participation,’ says Navi Radjou
“The hierarchical structure of most Indian firms, many of which are risk-averse, family-run entities. As Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, candidly acknowledges: "In India Inc, we have a bit of a (rigid) hierarchical structure that needs to be changed."

R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India: "The onus is on Indian CEOs to develop a culture in which all employees are encouraged to make mistakes and break the barriers of a hierarchy."

One thing that I don't like about the Indian work culture, which refuses to change, is that we don't take our commitments seriously, says president, automotive and farm equipment sectors, Mahindra and Mahindra

In developing economies, and particularly India, culturally we are more obsessed with work. People work long hours and they work hard. But that does not necessarily mean the quality of work is any different, says Shashank Sinha

‘They want to grow faster and seek new roles. They are hungry to do more. Professionally, we are unified to the world because we have English as our primary language of communication compared to China or Latin America.

I also admire the jugaad approach to problems, rather than being process-driven, which leads us to find innovative solutions.

Of course, there are things I don't like. The average work day in India starts very late and works against having a good work-life balance. Then the way Indians approach punctuality...’  president, international business, Godrej Consumer Products
‘Face time is crucial in India. Driving two hours to meet somebody when you could just have emailed them may not seem very efficient, but it’s important to build relationships. Also, India is a gentler culture than the U.S. People prefer a more subtle, less direct approach, which I for one appreciate.’ Philip Lewin is country head of India for American Airlines
Sapna Chadha, director of marketing and product development, consumer card and small business services for American Express in Gurgaon, was born in the U.S. to Indian parents. Chadha came to India in 2008 because her husband moved here, and she had always wanted to work abroad. 

What cultural differences do you find most challenging, and how do you deal with them?
It’s a very “yes, sir” culture; people will often say yes to avoid an uncomfortable situation, even if they can’t meet your deadline. People take more sick days here than I have ever seen, not because they are sick but often for good reasons which they are afraid to tell you, such as attending a PTA meeting. 

Does hierarchy work differently in India?
India is definitely much more hierarchical. Many of my younger staff were very wary about speaking out in front of me. I had to convince them that I really wanted to hear their ideas, and then they finally started giving me their opinions.

What do you enjoy about working in India?
Many of the Indian managers [I work with] are incredibly bright and well-educated. All they need is training in soft skills—such as communication, relationship-building and presentation. My advice is for senior executives to spend more time mentoring, because it really pays off.
Yes, fresh graduates here are often very raw. It’s a myth that there are plenty of highly trained engineers, because many find even basic math and English a challenge.

In 2008, we had to lay off people in both India and the U.S. Those in the U.S. took it very calmly, while those in India wept and cursed. However, the surviving staff in India offered to take pay cuts if we could keep on more people. This sums up India for me: Things don’t always go as you planned, but people are genuinely warm and passionate about their companies and coworkers.
Vish Sastry Rachakonda, CEO of Small Business Express

Deadlines are often stretchable, and senior executives have to take on a lot of responsibility. If you assign an active request to a subordinate in the U.S., it will get done. Here, I have a reminder set to remind myself to remind other people! Fear of failure is very strong here, and people are generally very risk averse.
Rajat Rakkhit is CEO and cofounder of Elucido Media Networks

sometimes people can’t think out of the box. We had a very senior Pepsi executive visiting us. I asked the staff to get the conference room ready, but they stocked it with Coke products! 
Dr. Matthew Barney

The notion of time, time management, punctuality is still an anathema in India. It is more to do with the mindset and ingrained in the Indian culture. It would not be surprising if meetings are postponed, rescheduled, cancelled or organized at a very short notice.

its culture supports strong hierarchical organizations and autocratic superiors.

What Nokia, an MNC, does is what Indian corporate houses should do: As D. Shivakumar, managing director of Nokia India, explains it: "Once our Board approves an employee-driven initiative, we commit 100% to turning it into a commercial success." Not surprisingly, Nokia India enjoys one of the lowest employee attrition rates among Indian companies.

Culture at Google
It’s really the people that make Google the kind of company it is. We hire people who are smart and determined, and we favor ability over experience.
We strive to maintain the open culture often associated with startups, in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. In our weekly all-hands (“TGIF”) meetings—not to mention over email or in the cafe—Googlers ask questions directly to Larry Sergey and other execs about any number of company issues. Our offices and cafes are designed to encourage interactions between Googlers within and across teams, and to spark conversation about work as well as play.

The work environment at TCS is built around the belief of growth beyond boundaries. Some of the critical elements that define the work culture are global exposure, cross-domain experience, and work-life balance. Each of these elements go much deeper than what it ostensibly conveys. 
 What sets TCS apart is the support, encouragement, and nurturing provided to you at every step... just like a family.

L &T
So overall L&T gives you lot of opportunities to prove yourself and aim for the skies but at the same time it demands a high level of dedication and commitment from its employees. Such a culture of high commitment and high growth has crept in because it is a contract based company where the key performance indicators are on time deliver and Customer satisfaction. 

At BHEL, one gets multiple opportunities to work on novel ideas all the time, with tremendous backing and support from the seniors and the enthusiasm of the peers and juniors.
BHEL facilitates equal opportunities to all its employees. It not only provide employees a conducive work environment to learn and grow but also an encouraging and open work culture that upholds inclusiveness, teamwork and creativity.

SBI Bank reflects Bureaucratic and Autocratic Culture while ICICI Bank reflects Technocratic and Entrepreneurial Culture

SBI Bank
 · Decision making by Head of authority following a series of levels of approval
 · Values are important but primacy given to procedures
 · Less flexibility & closed environment - role roundedness in terms of tasks
 · Rich traditional past with strong foundation -following the status quo with little modifications as   
    per the changing global market needsPres. Int. Journal of Management & IT- Sanchayan
 · Has a rigid organizational structure with systems, channels & hierarchical levels
 · Reward system, motivational level, warmth & support among members & delay in decision
    making process are some of the grey areas needing special attention
 · Misses out on parameters like mutual collective spirit, capacity building, an open, free & flexible
    environment with active participation of all members
· Less creativity- acceptance of novel ideas & desirability to accept changes- resulting in teams  
   functioning mechanically with limited scope & narrow goals to attain
 · Slight correlation between organizational Culture, Climate and effective team building - there are
    other organizational variables that are important for effective team building

·  Employee friendly environment.
 · Catering to changing needs of employees & customers - the ultimate goal of this organization.
 · Shared leadership - new ideas, views and opinions welcomed
 · Active interest in the welfare of employees- members takes self initiative for conducting varied
· Trust, mutual cooperation, warmth & collaboration towards work exist -motivational spirits high.
   Occasionally there are staff improvement programs
 · Organisational structure & Reward system are the twin factors that need to be considered
    Organisational Culture & Climate are important components of organizations contributing towards 
    effective team building - however in conjunction with several other organizational variables and  

· Overall the culture at the Vodafone takes best out of the employees and in return also makes them  
   happy. Vodafone group believes in the basic human tendency that if you will care the people, they
   will return the same, i.e. because Vodafone takes care of their employees, employees in turn give
   their best make Vodafone to perform even better than the every time.

A Comparison by Sonyia Jhunjhunwala
1. Mindset about Management Hierarchy
In American business culture, rank and title aren’t as important as they are in India. Hierarchical forms of behavior are frowned upon. The expectation is
that subordinates will speak up, offer suggestions, push back and take initiative rather than just do what they’re told. Decisions tend to be less top-down, authority is more delegated, and managers expect team members to take responsibility and assume ownership of results.

2. Attitudes Towards Appointments and Deadlines
For Americans, strict adherence to time commitments is seen as a basic principle of professionalism and courteous behavior. Because everything tends to be strictly scheduled, delays in one appointment or deadline can have a serious ripple effect
on a colleague or customer’s other work commitments. The more flexible and open-ended approach to time of Indian business culture can create tensions and
unfavorable impressions on American counterparts.

3. Meaning of Agreements and Commitments
Americans have a preference for clear, detailed agreements and are uneasy with vague expressions of general commitment. In business interactions, commitments are taken literally and seriously. Failure to follow through on them precisely is viewed as a sign that a person isn’t trustworthy. Indian business culture
tends to view agreements more flexibly as intentions and guidelines for future action.

4. Results vs. Process Orientation
In Indian business culture, following the rules and implementing correct processes is highly valued, but in American business culture, it’s all about results. There is impatience with individuals who come across as more concerned with following established processes correctly than with achieving the desired goal. Americans don’t like to be told all the procedural reasons why something can’t be or hasn’t been done.

5. Directness — Especially in Addressing Disagreements
The American style of communication is characteristically direct, candid and relatively unconcerned with face-saving or the avoidance of conflict. The expectation is that questions will get answered with a clear “yes” or “no,” and that
disagreements will be dealt with openly and straightforwardly, in a “tell it like it is” manner. Indians and people from other cultures that tend to avoid conflict and loss of face often find it hard to say “no” or raise problematic issues effectively with their American counterparts.

Despite all these, sincere attempts are being made to match the standards prevalent in global companies. India has had a late start in succession planning and talent management. However, it is fast catching up. There is a fair amount of time that all of the good companies here are spending on these two activities. Retaining talent for Indian companies has become a key factor in their growth strategies.

Progressive Indian companies are comparable in their work cultures with progressive companies in the US. US companies have long-standing legacies. For example, in General Motors, every process and responsibility is well-defined, who has authority over what is clearly stated. Indian companies, even the old ones, did not have such processes five or ten years ago. Now they have been put into place.


    Review of Indian Work Culture and Challenges faced by Indians in the
   Era of Globalisation—Sonyia Jhunjunwala--Interscience Management Review (IMR) ISSN:
    2231‐1513 Volume‐2, Issue‐2, 2012

3.‎ (pdf)

8. Understanding_ org_ culture pdf –01-Alvesson-ch01-indd

9. Talent Management and Succession Planning 2nd Edition by James A Cannon and Rita  
    McGee. Published by the CIPD, London 2nd edition  
10. India’s Corporate Culture:  A Potential Source of Competitive Advantage Vishal Jain
20. Ashish Sinha and Bindu Arora’s Fit between Organizational Culture and Business
      Excellence: A Case Study of Heavy Electrical Equipment Plant, BHEL  in VIKALPA •
      VOLUME 37 • NO 3 • JULY - SEPTEMBER 2012


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