Academic journal article International Journal of Business Studies

The Culture of Australian Organizations and Its Relation with Strategy

Academic journal article International Journal of Business Studies

The Culture of Australian Organizations and Its Relation with Strategy

Article excerpt

This study uses the Organizational Culture Profile of O'Reilly et al. (1991), as adapted by Windsor and Ashkanasy (1996), to describe the culture of Australian organizations, as perceived by financial controllers. The study also examines the relation between organizational culture and strategy, and whether culture varies between service and manufacturing industries. Our results generally corroborate Sarros et al. (2002), with outcome orientation and respect for people perceived as the most prominent characteristics of Australian organizations' culture, and innovation the least prominent. The consistency of results using a different managerial sample and a different measure of culture to Sarros et al. (2002) suggests robustness of the descriptions of Australian organizations' culture. Our results support the importance of aligning organizational culture with strategy. We find no differences in the culture of service and manufacturing industries.

Key Words: Organizational culture, Strategy, Service industries, Manufacturing industries.

I. INTRODUCTION

Organizational culture, defined typically as the shared value system of an organization's members, is seen as an increasingly important factor affecting business activity and success in the competitive and global environments of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Kyriakidou and Gore (2005), Montes et al. (2004), Bliss (1999), Juechter et al. (1998), Schein (2004) and Denison (1990) all refer to the importance of culture in supporting the overall success of an organization. Ritchie (2000, p. 1) argues that organizational culture affects outcomes such as productivity, performance and commitment, and Holmes and Marsden (1996, p. 26) that "organizational culture impacts significantly on an organization, its employees' behaviour and motivations and, ultimately, that organization's financial performance". Subramaniam and Ashkanasy (2001, p. 36) argue that "managers' perceptions of the OC (organizational culture) existing in their workplace are key determinants of their work attitudes (and) managers' decisions and behaviour at work". Mello and Stank (2005) emphasize the importance of culture in implementing organizational initiatives such as supply chain management, and Balthazard et al. (2006) argue that organizational culture supports the linkages between the adoption of technology and organizational growth, and is a critical factor in determining the success or failure of mergers and acquisitions. Rashid et al. (2004) note the importance of organizational culture in effecting organizational change.

Despite this, little research into the culture of Australian organizations has been undertaken. Ashkanasy and Trevor-Roberts (2001/2002), as part of an international (62 nations) project into global leadership behaviour, studied Australian managers' attitudes to a set of cultural dimensions, and concluded, inter alia, that Australian managers recorded higher levels of egalitarianism in their cultural and leadership beliefs than did European and other Anglo-American managers. Sarros and Santora (2001) compared the value orientations of Australian executives with Russian, Japanese and Chinese executives. Sarros et al. (2002) and Sarros et al. (2005) used a version of the O'Reilly et al. (1991) Organizational Culture Profile (OCP) to study me relation between culture and leadership in a sample of almost 2000 Australian managers. Their study was motivated by an expectation that Australian managers' perceptions of their organizational cultures might be different from those of other countries' managers, based on both theoretical arguments that organizational culture is context (nation) specific and the empirical findings of differences by Ashkanasy and Trevor-Roberts (2001/2002).

Sarros et al. (2002) ranked seven organizational culture factors in order of their perceived prominence in characterising Australian organizations. These factors are detailed in the next section of the paper. …

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