Culture And Climate Within Organisations

Every organisation has its own unique culture and climate. The organisational cultures is developed over time and in response to a complex set of factors which include history, primary function and technology, strategy, size, location, management and leadership and the environment. Culture varies in levels or depth and can be classified as a control culture or quality of working life culture. Directly or indirectly every organisation creates a climate that either motivates employees to work willingly and effectively or demotivates them. The climate is reflected by the recurring patterns of behaviour, attitudes and feelings in the organisation.
The culture and climate of an organisation have a strong bearing on how both management and employees conduct themselves at work. When the attributes, values, beliefs, assumptions and personalities of management/employees are consistent with the culture of the organisation in which they are employed they display productive behaviours and some excel beyond to reflect citizenship behaviour. On the other hand those whose attributes, values ,beliefs, assumptions and personalities are not consistent with the organisational culture and climate tend to conduct themselves in a counter productive behaviour.
In summary the culture and climate of an organisation influence and affect the extent to which
' work is organized around teams rather than individual.
' organizational decisions and actions are geared to promote change rather than maintaining the status quo .
' management decisions take into account the effects the decisions will have on people working in the organization.
' employees are encouraged to be innovative and to take risks.
' managers focus on results or outcomes rather than on how these outcomes are achieved.
' employees are expected to exhibit precision, analysis, and attention to detail.
' employees are aggressive and competitive rather than cooperative
This assignment attempts to substantiate that organisational culture and climate have a strong bearing on how both management and employees conduct themselves at work in a productive and counter productive manner. Reference will be made to four companies in Zimbabwe which have unique cultures and climate , namely the City of Harare, Vehicle Inspection Department , Newziana and Econet . The culture and climate of these companies will be critically analysed and practical recommendations will be made so as to foster and sustain supportive and productive organisational culture and climate.

Case study of City of Harare
The City of Harare is a large service providing organisation. It provides local government services such as education, health, recreation, housing, water and sanitation, fire and ambulance, road construction and maintenance, burial and cremation services among others through its 10 departments which are headed by Directors. All the Directors report to the Town Clerk. Its Corporate Vision is to achieve a world class city status for Harare by 2025. The Corporate mission is to provide first class service and promote a conducive environment for investment through stakeholder participation and a high performance team. The Corporate Values are commitment truthfulness, integrity, trust and authenticity. The council employs an estimated 10,300 workers.

A structured interview of senior and middle managers, and employees in the different departments of Harare City council's revealed a prevailing culture and climate that is not in tandem with the vision, mission and values cited above. The culture is the exact opposite of what is reflected in the symbols that are hanging in the receptions and hall ways of the different departments. The cultures cited below have spread throughout the ten departments and have resulted in counter productive behaviours in both management and employees. The prevailing cultures are
1. Bureaucratic culture
The red tape and rigid bureaucratic culture has an over-emphasis on rules and procedures, record keeping and paperwork more than results and the means to an end. Officials in turn have developed a culture of laziness and hide behind the bureaucratic processes and rules. Management and employees initiatives are being stifled and when a situation is not covered by a complete set of rules or procedures there is lack of flexibility or adaptation to changing circumstances. Impersonal relations, stereotyped behaviours and a lack of responsiveness to customer's problems or challenges have become rampant.
2. There is no customer oriented culture
Analysis of the interviews that were conducted in the different departments in the City Council on how they respond to queries, revealed that there is no common culture of responsiveness to queries. The departments are compartmentalised and fragmented in the way they do things. Most departments take long to attend to queries whilst the City Health department seems to respond quickly. This may be due to the fact that they are dealing with human lives and delays have a direct and adverse impact. A refrigeration technician who was transferred from the Health department to the Engineering department felt stifled by the negative work culture in the engineering department but lamented his hard work and the prompt responsiveness in the City Health Department. ('Ndakafirei nebasa kuhealth. kuno ndinoswera ndakagara asi ndinotambira zvakadaro') Sadly the counterproductive employees discouraged and aggravated a productive employee and negatively impacted his job performance.

The employees do not have a customer oriented culture. The internal and external customers are not given the due respect and service they are entitled to. The employees alienate the customer and lack the appreciation that their remuneration comes from these customer.
3. Laissez-Faire Attitude
Based on the interview of the Human Resource Department and staff officers of the different departments, the City Council has a performance based culture and not result based culture. There is emphasis on processes and procedures, which have not been reviewed over the years. Council is still implementing the performance appraisal cited in the SI 17 of 2007. Despite the changing environment and 7 years later council is still enforcing performance appraisals and not Result based appraisals. Every employee receives an annual bonus that is not linked to any set targets. In actual fact the employees demand it and threaten to go on strike if it is not awarded to them. Yearly increments from one notch to a higher notch are also awarded to the employees despite non productivity. Since employees are paid salaries and annual bonuses despite the non productive work culture, there is no motivation at all to work. They are very content and comfortable to spend the whole day loafing and still expect a salary at the end of the month. As such counterproductive behaviours such as absenteeism, late reporting to work, laziness, laissez-faire attitude, cyber loafing are rampant. Team spirit does not exist at all.
4. Irresponsibility.
Almost all the interviewed council employees were very quick to give excuses and shift the blame on others. No one was prepared to take responsibility for the non performance of the organisation. Negative and derogatory talk about management and the organisation are high. The economy, political climate, corruption, bureaucracy, sanctions, top management, workers union and delays in payment of monthly remuneration to mention a few were blamed for the bad organisational culture and climate and the counter productive behaviours of the employees and management. No one was prepared to take responsibility for the status quo.
5. High Unionism
Management seem to have lost their grip on employees and the workers union have taken the upper hand. Employees are heavily shielded by workers union for counter productive behaviours and poor job performance. This is evidenced by the high litigation cases in 2011 and 2012. According to the 2012 Human Resources Annual Report, 147 labour cases were sent for arbitration before the arbitration tribunal and 219 cases are still pending from 2011. 57 cases were brought before the NEC tribunal in the year 2012. This unionism culture has caused industrial disharmony. There is a cat and mouse relationship between management and workers / workers union. For instance on the 17th February 2014 efforts by the City Health Department management to involve workers in the restructuring exercise were turned down. Workers union incited workers to say no to restructuring and not to send any proposals as to how to implement the restructuring exercise.

Practical recommendation
There is urgent need to improve the operational effectiveness of the organisation with an underlying objectives of modifying the organisational culture and climate, counter productive behavioural patterns of members of the organisation, fostering an organisational citizen behaviour in the work force and improving the ability of the organisation to cope with changes in its environment.
1. Organisational culture change
Mullin (2010 p.753) states that 'Behaviour change is a personal issue. Groups don't change, teams don't change, companies don't change: individuals change. Teams change the way they operate when every member of the team changes the way he or she operates. Companies change the way they operate when the people in them change the way they behave.
Therefore organisational culture change must start with behaviour modification at an individual level. It must change the perceptions, attitudes, values and beliefs will bring about behaviour change. This can be implemented through a three phased programme of planned change and improved performance that was developed by Lewin .
mullin (2010 p.755). This involves:
a. unfreezing ' reducing those forces which maintain behaviour in its present form,
recognition of the need for change and improvement to occur;
b. movement ' development of new attitudes or behaviour and the implementation of
the change; this involves obtaining data, Problem diagnosis, action planning and implementation
c. refreezing ' stabilising change at the new level and reinforcement through supporting
mechanisms, for example policies, structure or norms. Mullin (2010, p.749)
2. Organisational climate change
In order to create a healthy organisational climate the employees need to have a sense of commitment to the organisation. The level of their commitment will have a major influence on the level of work performance. The individual employees need to become psychological bonded to the organization by believing in and adopting the values of the organization and by being fully involvement in ones job. This process will cultivate a sense of belonging to the organisation that will result in loyalty. When full engagement with the organisation occurs the employee will be intellectually and emotionally committed and motivated to give willingly of their best.
The successful implementation of change management that will positively turn around the organisational culture and climate of the organisation, the change should emanate from the top of the organisation. Top management should create and sustain a healthy climate, and also establish appropriate and supportive organisational processes. Appropriate training and development that will transform the managers into leaders is mandatory. As leaders, top management should ensure that the process of change takes place by allowing people to feel angry, resentful and afraid as well as excited, hopeful and energised.
3. Learning organisation
There is need to convert the Harare City Council into a learning organisations and giving every employee the same level of familiarity with personnel and capabilities.
4. Rationalisation and streamlining of systems
The majority of the employees felt that the red tape and rigid structures in their organisation was a major contributor to poor service delivery to the Harare resident and ratepayers.
A recommendation to decentralised and have flatter structures in order that quick decisions can be taken near to where the critical knowledge resides would be appropriate. However Mullin (2010, p. 52) states that ' In the case of public sector organisations, in particular, there is a demand for uniformity of treatment, regularity of procedures and public accountability for their operations. This leads to adherence to specified rules and procedures and to the keeping of detailed records. In their actual dealings with public sector organisations people often call for what amounts to increased bureaucracy. The demands for equal treatment, for a standard set of regulations that apply to everyone, and that decisions should not be left to the discretion of individual managers are in effect demands for bureaucracy.'
It is therefore our recommendation that the bureaucratic structure be maintained but foster a review, streamlining and computerisation of the processes, procedures, record keeping and paperwork. Implementation of the Result Based Management is now mandatory and must be done as matter of urgency.

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