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Dysfunctional culture, dysfunctional organization: Capturing the behavioral norms that form organizational culture and drive performance

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Purpose – This paper aims to describe how organizational culture is manifested in behavioral norms and expectations, focusing on 12 sets of behavioral norms associated with constructive, passive/defensive, and aggressive/defensive cultural styles. Design/methodology/approach – The organizational culture inventory, a normed and validated instrument designed to measure organizational culture in terms of behavioral norms and expectations, was used to test hypotheses regarding the impact of culture. Data are summarized from 60,900 respondents affiliated with various organizations that have used the instrument to assess their cultures. Also presented is a brief overview of a practitioner-led assessment of four state government departments. Findings – The results of correlational analyses illustrate the positive impact of constructive cultural styles, and the negative impact of dysfunctional defensive styles, on both the individual- and organizational-level performance drivers. The results clearly link the dysfunctional cultural styles to deficits in operating efficiency and effectiveness. Originality/value – The concept of organizational culture is derived from research in the field of organizational behavior characterized by use of qualitative methods. Yet, one of the most powerful strategies for organizational development is knowledge-based change, an approach that generally relies on the use of quantitative measures. Although both methods share the potential for producing cumulative bodies of information for assessment and theory testing, quantitative approaches may be more practical for purposes of knowledge-based approaches for organizational development generally, and assessing cultural prerequisites for organizational learning and knowledge management specifically.
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... Variance in the specific cultural elements that, by being widely prevalent, produce culture strength also exacerbates this diversity in conceptualization. Elements that can underlie cultural strength include norms (e.g., Chatman et al., 2014;Gelfand et al., 2011), artifacts (Schein, 2004), values, and behaviors (Balthazard et al., 2006;Cooke and Rousseau, 1988). We believe that Chatman and colleagues (e.g., Chatman et al., 2014;O'Reilly, 1989;O'Reilly and Chatman, 1996) offer a promising conceptualization of cultural strength that is in principle agnostic to the specific cultural element under consideration (though their focus is on norms), but nonetheless explicitly recognizes the twin dimensions of commonality and importance of those cultural elements to the group's members. ...
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Chapter
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Chapter
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