Leadership and Organizational Culture

In this paper I will discuss the effects and responsibilities leaders have on an organizational culture. I believe leaders have an enormous effect on the well- being of an organizational culture. Leaders must take an active role within their organization’s culture. Whether positive or negative, in an organization, things tend to follow suit “down hill. ” A leader has the power and influence to maintain, create, or repair an organizational culture. However, this can prove to be a delicate and challenging task.

When trying to maintain a healthy organizational ultra the leader has many factors that he/she must balance. Maintaining a healthy organizational culture may be viewed as an entire strategic operation in itself. A healthy organizational culture is a must for success within the organization. In this paper I will discuss the leader’s role in making certain that the organizational culture is a healthy. The Organizational Culture What is an organizational culture? Every organization has its own unique culture.

Organizational culture can be “described as the personality of an organization, or simply as “how things are done around here. It guides how employees think, act, and feel. ” (Hansen, n. D. , Para. 2) Organization culture is a key aspect to the organization’s success or failure. Organizational culture “shapes the way people act and interact and strongly influences how things get done. ” (Denying, 2006, Para. 1) The organizational culture may be shaped and molded through years of perceptions and views. The culture is very difficult to change. Just about every possible factor within the organization in some way molds the culture.

From inside factors such as job benefits to outside factors like the surrounding environment, everything is a possible factor in an organizational culture. These factors may also be described as “artifacts. ” Artifacts are the “tangible aspects of an organization that people hear, see, or feel; management style, the way in which managers behave and exercise leadership and authority; organizational behavior, the way in which people act and interact in the organization, the structure of the organization, the process and systems used in the organization; and, organizational climate, the working atmosphere of the organization. (Denying, 2006, Para. 4) These factors that shape an organization ultra often seem to evolve naturally among subordinates in an organization. It is vital that the leader know how to manage these factors effectively to ensure a healthy organizational culture. Perspectives on Relationships between Leadership and Organizational Culture Upon researching I found a three perspective model showing the relationship between leaders and organizational culture. The first is the “functionalism perspective. The functionalism perspective basically entails that “a strong culture depends on a strong leader or a strong leader can develop a strong culture. Leaders have choices and can influence the firm through their actions or decisions. ” (Ghana, Thus, Wang, Sin, n. D. , p. 5) With the functionalism perspective it is believed that the leaders, who are in the head positions, have all the power in molding and changing an organization. There are numerous factors and the leader must know how to manage them. The second perspective is the “attribution perspective. With the attribution perspective theorists “argue that the role of leadership is in the mind of the followers, who attribute a person the ability to lead and consider him/her to be the leader. (Ghana, Thus, Wang, Sin, n. D. , p. 6) The idea of the attribution perspective gives less of importance to the individual actions of the leader. The third perspective is the “contingency perspective. ” The contingency perspective “suggests that it is the situation that makes the hero, allowing the leader to influence the organization in various domains, including performance and culture. (Ghana, Thus, Wang, Sin, n. D. , p. 7) Basically the leader is needed more in critical situations which may require leadership, while the remaining time the organization runs as it is accustomed. Creating and Maintaining a Healthy Organizational Culture personally believe that a leader’s influence plays a large role in an organizational culture. However, in organizations with a strong, set Cutter it may be the culture controlling the leader. This can result in an unfavorable end if the culture becomes unhealthy. These driving forces may include for example, “union behavior. (Shivers-Blackwell, 2006, p. 1) It is important that the leader does not end up being controlled by the pre-existing organizational culture. In order to prevent this it is important, especially for a new leader, to know and understand the organizational culture. A leader simply needs to be familiar with the “ins and outs” of their organization. Without understanding these factors it is impossible to influence or even maintain the culture. To ensure an organization culture stays healthy I believe the leader must take an active role. There are many ways in which a leader can accomplish this.

Communication and planning is a key amongst all efforts to ensure a healthy culture. If these issues are left unrecognized, it can become too late for the leader to have an influence. Maintaining a Clear Standard One method of maintaining a healthy organizational culture is maintaining a clear set of standards, rules, or policies. A leader has the authority to set rules or standards. I believe this authority must be exercised in order to keep a healthy culture. Without rules and standards the organizational will end up in a chaotic state of disorder. There are several ways a leader can get these standards into production.

Often employee handbooks are circulated. The employee handbooks entail what is expected of all members of the organization. These guided sets of rules may also appear in the form of a “team charter” or through memos and bulletin boards. Whatever the method of informational output, a strong leader should be involved in the creation or modification of the standards. These standards will help maintain or change the “unwritten” ones often embedded in an organization. Communication within the Organization Another method a leader may maintain a healthy organizational culture is through valuable communication with members of the organization.

A leader must know his/her people. It has become common place within organizations for leaders to hold interactive meetings with subordinates. These meetings give all a chance to discuss the well-being of the organization. Often issues regarding employee relations are worked out during these meetings. Meetings are also useful methods to dispel rumors that may be hurting the organization. Conclusion In conclusion whatever importance one values leadership in relation to an organization’s culture, it is clear that leadership has an influence.

An organization’s culture affects the organizations mission, value, and goals. Ultimately an UN-healthy organizational culture could lead to the downfall of an organization. A leader must be concerned with an organizations well-being. Therefore, I believe the leader is most important individual responsible for maintaining a healthy organizational culture.