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The purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual analysis of organizational culture modeling in the framework of system dynamics. Tom Peters and Robert Waterman demonstrated through their seminal research that organizational culture constitutes one of the most important key success factors in any company trying to achieve excellence in its business. Organizational culture is a strong nonlinear integrator of the organizational intellectual capital acting especially on the emotional knowledge field, and contributing significantly to the motivation of employees. Modeling organizational culture is a challenge due to its complexity and nonlinear phenomena.
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Abstract. The purpose of this paper
is to present a conceptual analysis of
organizational culture modeling in
the framework of system dynamics.
Tom Peters and Robert Waterman
demonstrated through their seminal
research that organizational culture
constitutes one of the most important
key success factors in any company
trying to achieve excellence in its
business. Organizational culture is a
strong nonlinear integrator of the
organizational intellectual capital
acting especially on the emotional
knowledge field, and contributing
significantly to the motivation of
employees. Modeling organizational
culture is a challenge due to its
complexity and nonlinear
phenomena.
Keywords: integrator, modeling,
organizational culture, system
dynamics.
ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
MODELING
Valentina Mihaela GHINEA
Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest
6, Romană Square, 1st district, Bucharest
Romania
e-mail: valentina_ghinea@yahoo.com
Constantin BRĂTIANU
Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest
6, Romană Square, 1st district, Bucharest
Romania
e-mail: cbratianu@yahoo.com
Management & Marketing
Challenges for the Knowledge Society
(2012) Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 257-276
Management & Marketing
258
1. Introduction
Whether we want it or not, we all are born within a certain culture, we develop
and set ourselves within certain cultural horizon and we all are both creators and
receivers of culture, in the same time. Thus, in order to understand ourselves, we have
to learn first how to analyze culture's signs, values, and symbols, the way they
influence our thinking model and behavior, and so on (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999;
Schein, 2004). According to Zohar and Marshall (2004, p. 3), that means to consider
our spiritual intelligence and spiritual capital, “Spiritual intelligence is the intelligence
with which we access our deepest meanings, values, purposes, and highest
motivations. It is how we use these in our thinking processes, in the decisions that we
make, and the things that we think it is worthwhile to do.”
Metaphors and symbols, stories and myths, ceremonies and rituals, norms and
rules of the games, the organization’s philosophy (attitudes and beliefs), declared and
undeclared values, as well as the most profound convictions, all these represent
elements of the organizational culture. None of these, individually, means
organizational culture, but all of them together reflect the concept of organizational
culture. This is not something given to an organization, but rather what that
organization actually is.
This organizational culture was initially considered a way of emphasizing
integration and internal coordination. Its great importance in an organization’s
adjustment to environmental conditions was only later acknowledged, such that at the
beginning of the new century there was the idea of necessity of a strong, yet flexible
organizational culture in designing the behavioral norms and patterns, due to the
continual changes that need to be assimilated (Baumard, 2011; Collins and Porras,
2002; Cooper, 2002).
There are numerous attempts to define the concept of organizational culture.
Thus, Becker and Geer (as cited by Redman and Wilkinson, 2009) bring into
discussion a set of common understandings, while Geertz (1973) emphasizes the fact
that one may speak of a certain pattern of meanings passed through from generation to
generation that has taken the shape of symbols, a system of inherited conceptions
expressed in symbolic shape and through the medium of which people communicate
to each other, continuing and developing their own attitudes towards life.
Deal and Kennedy (1982) went further and defined the organizational culture
as a system of expressed informal rules that impose a certain general conduct. Griffin
and Moorhead (2005) suggest that an organizational culture represents a set of values
that help people in an organization in order to better understand which of their actions
are considered acceptable or not acceptable. A significant contribution has been done
by Hofstede (1991) who defines culture as being a collective mental programming
meant to differentiate the members of a group or a certain social category out of the
other groups’ members or other social categories. Regardless of the perspective,
special attention is given to values, beliefs, expectations which are shared within a
group and/or organization and that in turn allow the environment to make sense and to
induce a certain conduct.
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259
When discussing about the organization’s culture it is important not only to
observe physical elements – the way employees dress, the way the furniture, paintings
and photos on the walls are arranged, the openness and generosity of space, but also by
noting communicational elements – the way discussions take place within the
organization, the general conduct, the language, the flexibility and capacity to adapt.
Also patterns of behavior exhibited by employees (this might included ceremonial events
and written and spoken commands), and the physical manifestations of a company’s
behavior such as written rules, office layout, organizational structure, and dress codes
can reveal a company’s culture. The explanation relies on the many aspects of a culture:
a) historycal (social heritage, tradition passed on to future generations), b) behavioral
(shared, learned human behavior, a way of life), c) normative (ideals, values, rules for
living), d) functional (the way people solve problems of adapting to the environment and
living together), e) mental (a complex of ideas, learned habits for social control),
f) structural (patterned and interrelated ideas, symbols or behaviors), and nevertheless
g) symbolic (based on arbitrarily assigned meanings shared by an organisation). For that,
when an organizational culture’s analysis is required, it has to be remembered the multi
and inter disciplinary character of this field (psychology, sociology, medicine, history,
economy). Actually, this is what it makes so difficult the adoption of a unique definition
(Reiman and Oedewald, 2002).
Sure is only the fact that an organizational culture is: a) holistic (it represents
the result of an integration process); b) connected with the history (it shows the
organization’s evolution); c) anthropologically obtained and socially founded (it is
created and maintained by the organization’s members). It is a cumulus of conscious
and unconscious elements, which are also rational and irrational, individual and group
elements, revealing dynamic connections having a strong impact on the organization’s
performances (Brǎtianu, 2007).
Organizational culture is a powerful nonlinear integrator of the intellectual
capital, as suggested by Brătianu (2008; 2011). Organizational integrators are
considered to be “powerful fields of forces capable of combining two or more elements
into a new entity, based on interdependence and synergy. These elements may have a
physical or virtual nature, and they must posses the capacity of interacting in a
controlled way” (Brătianu, 2011, p. 8). The synergy property makes it possible to
generate an extra energy or power from the working system. It makes the difference
between a linear system and a nonlinear one. In a non-linear system situation, the final
output is bigger than the sum of all the individual outputs. The most important
nonlinear integrators are: leadership, management, organizational culture, technology
and processes.
2. Modeling organizational culture
Due to its complexity, organisational culture has been extensively studied over
the past few decades. The outcomes have revealed strong connection between the
organisational culture and the company's performance (Peters and Waterman, 1982).
Management & Marketing
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Trying to better understand and explain this relation, specialists arrived to the
conclusion that no one can buy the heart of an employee but managers may have the
proper organisational culture generator of motivation and commitment, and thus to be
able to construct consensus among employees. No matter the type of the
organisational culture, if it is in harmony with the internal and external environment, it
will make employees to indentify themselves with their organisation. A strong culture
does not necessary bring immense advantages as well as a weaker culture does not
lead everytime to poor performance. While the first one might be inflexible when it
comes about changes, binding people together to form a defensive inertial resistance,
the latest one could be formed by very individualistic people less likely to form a
collective resistance to change.
No matter how contradictory could sound, the most effective culture should be
stable and flexible. Stability is about unchanged vision, mission and values, while
flexibility is related to the company's structure and operations, and its ability to adapt
itself both to the internal and external conditions (Khan, et al, 2010). These have been
understood and learnt during time, thanks to academics and practitioners in management
science who were keen on defining and measuring the organisational culture dimensions
and to relate them to the effectiveness and competitiveness of the organisation. A brief
analysis highlights that there are three distinct categories of interest:
a) There are authors such as the anthropologist Edward B Taylor or the
sociologist Max Weber, that focused their researches on finding the key ekements
composing the rganisational culture. Taylor considered that the main elements are:
knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, law, custom, and other capabilities and habits acquired
by a human as a member of an organisation. Weber brought into attention the
charismatic leadership concept, making sociologists to identify other features of
organisational culture: norms, folkways, ambiguity, and apparent irrationality (Khan et
al., 2010).
b) There are authors that did not limit themselves at explaining the basic
elements of the culture, stepping forward to models' creation. Given the generalisation
degree of these models, they can be used to analyze all kinds of organizational
cultures. Among the best known models are the Rousseau’s model (Figure 1), and the
Schein’s model (Figure 2). Rousseau's model is a multi-layered model structured as
concentric rings and devided into outer rings (visible signs of culture) and inner rings
(hidden feelings of culture) (O'Reilly et al., 1991). Schein (2004) introduces into his
model the time dimension as follows: the first two phases of an organsiation life time
are thought to be birth and early growth, both of them being characterized by strong
leadership and a results-oriented attitude, then the third phase, mid-life, that could
bring the organization at an identity crisis, and finally, the maturity when the culture
may be a constraint on innovation.
Organizational culture modeling
261
Fundamental assumptions
Behavioral
norms/values
Artefacts
Patterns of behavior
Outer rings = visible signs of
culture
Inner rings = hidden feelings
of culture
Source: (Rousseau, 1990).
Figure 1. Layers of culture
Source: (Schein, 2004).
Figure 2. Uncovering the levels of culture
Artefacts
Espoused
values
Basic
underlying
assumptions
Visible organizational structures and processes
(hard to decipher)
Strategies, goals, philosophies
(espoused justifications)
Unconscious, taken-for-granted
believes, perceptions, thoughts, feelings
(ultimate source of values and action)
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Considering that at the basis of the development of any organization lies
intention, Schein questioned the importance of the vision of the organization’s
founder. This vision was meant to impose, discretely or not, the values, desires,
aspirations, rules and even code of conduct of the founder onto his first employees.
Also, Schein outlines the slow, but not inexistent, process of continuous
transformation that this organizational culture undergoes. Thus, there are two stages:
the historical organizational culture (initially transmitted by the founder) and the
current organizational culture (culture developed over time on the basis of the
historical one). These changes and adaptations occur whilst the organization tries to
direct itself towards attaining an ideal organizational culture (Schein, 2004).
Another familiar model is the S.N. Herman's iceberg (1970) that makes the
difference between the visible/formal aspects of an organization (systems, structures,
policies, technologies) – the upper half, and the hidden/informal aspects of an
organization (attitudes, beliefs, values, and perceptions) – the lowerhalf below the
water line (Figure 3).
Source: (Ieftimescu, 2007).
Figure 3. Herman's iceberg model
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263
In Figure 4 is illustrated the model proposed by Deal and Kennedy (1982),
based on a two dimensional perspective given by the risk accepted and the feedback
received. In Table 1 there is the known typology developed by Harrison and Handy
(Handy, 1999).
Table 1
Harrison and Handy's typologies of organisational culture
Structure Handy's culture Harrison's culture Model
Hierarchy Role (Apollo) Role
Matrix Task (Athena) Task
Web Club (Zeus) Power
Scatter Existential
(Dionysus) Atomistic
Tough Guy
Sales organizations
Sport
Bet-your- company
Construction
Aerospace
Process
Bureaucracies
Work hard - Play hard
Large companies
Feedback
Ris
k
Source: (Deal and Kennedy, 1982).
Figure 4. Organisational culture model
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c) There are also authors developing models which intend to assess the
outcomes of the existent organisational culture. Among them, Denison searches to
determine the level of consistency versus adaptability, and top-down vision versus
bottom-up involvement (Figure 5), two paradoxes that each company is constantly
seeking to balance (Denison and Mishra, 1995).
Back in 1987, starting from 12 behavioral norms grouped into 3 culture types
(constructive cluster based on achievement, self-actualizing, humanistic-encouraging,
affilitative, passive or defensive cluster based on approval, conventional, dependent,
avoidance, and aggressive/defensive cluster based on oppositional, power,
competitive, perfectionist), Robert, Cooke and Lafferty developed at Human
Synergistics International another tool used for organisational consulting and change
purposes – Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI), as illustrated in Figure 6
(Balthazard, Cooke and Potter, 2006).
Source: (Mobley et al., 2005).
Figure 5. The Denison Organisational Culture Model - Organisational
Culture Inventor
y
Organizational culture modeling
265
Source: http://www.perfect10cc.com/speaking-opportunities.aspx
Figure 6. Perfect 10 Corporate Culture's organizational culture model
Source: http://www.humansynergistics.com/.
Figure 7. Cooke and Lafferty's Organisational Culture Inventory
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In 1992, Bernard Bass and Bruce Avolio brought into the light a totally
different organisational culture (OC) model devided into: 1) coasting OC; 2) loosely
guided OC; 3) predominantly to moderatly bureaucratic or internally competitive OC;
4) pedestrian OC; 5) garbage can OC; 6) high contrast OC; 7) predominantly and
moderately 4 I's OC (Figure 8). They created also an instrument to work with
(Organisational Description Questionnaire) in order to better understand an
organisation status at a certain point in time (Bass and Avolio, 1992). In 2009,
MacIntosh and Doherty stressed the importance of other 11 dimensions of an
organisation: organisational presence, member success, connectedness, formalisation,
creativity, sales, organisational integrity, health and fitness, service, work ethic,
atmosphere. The result of their researches took the form of CIFO instrument (Culture
Index for Fitness Organisations) which basically is meant to emphasize the influence
of organisational culture on job satisfaction and employees' intention to leave (Khan et
al., 2010).
Predominantly and moderately
four I’s OC.
Pedestrian OC
Predominantl
y to
moderatly
bureaucrattic
Or
internally
competitiv
e OC
A coasting OC.
TRANSACTIONAL
CULTURE
TRANSFORMATIONAL
CULTURE
14
14
7
-14
-7
7
0
-14
High
contrast OC
Loosely
guided OC
-7
Garbage can
OC
Source: (Bass and Avolio, 1992).
Figure 8. Bass and Avolio's model of organisational culture
Organizational culture modeling
267
Year 2011 brought Cameron and Quinn's work results: Competing Values
Framework Model. The focus of this model is on: a) flexibility and discretion vs
stability and control, and b) internal focus and integration vs external focus and
differentiation of a company. The assessing instrument developed by the two
researchers is the Organisational Culture Assessment Instrument (Cameron and
Quinn, 2011).
Schein spoke about organisational culture as a result of people's living and
working together for a longer period of time. They soon start sharing the same values
and opinions related to the organization that they are part of, judging in similar
manner what is good and appropriate for its success. Even unconsciously, they
develop some thinking and behavioural models strictly correlated with the experience
that have gained up to that moment within the organization, and with the
organization’s strategic objectives as well.
Analyzing what it was presented above, one observation can be made: two
main schools of thought detached. One takes the phenomenological approach and
focuses on understanding the concept and defining the meaning of culture (its
empirical research defines and measures the organisational culture in a variety of
methods: culture strength, traits, congruence, types, shared values, in relation with
performance of the company and commitment of the employee). The other one takes
the functionalist approach and focuses on the consequences of organisational culture.
It takes for granted that the leadership is its main shaper and builder; however, it
differentiates between the substantive role (leaders contribute to the substance of an
organisation's culture through their actions and behaviors), and symbolic role (people
in organisations develop their own implicit theories on causality) of the leadership
(Tsui et al., 2005), the latest one being closer to the antropologycal approach which
sustains that leaders do not create culture, they are part of that culture. While the first
sustains the dependency of the organisational culture on the leader's vision, and his
ability of (re)shaping the organisational culture for fitting the market needs, the last
one takes into consideration Calder's attribution theory which speaks about attributing
causes to effects (Winkler, 2010), and extends it to the organisation level.
Next to the above mentioned perspectives highlighting the strong connection
between leadersip and the organisational culture, a third one can be noted:
contingency perspective which emphasizes the importance of the circumstances, being
said that leadership effects occur only under some conditions, during crises or high
environmental uncertainty. Another important idea that can be emphasized is that all
the previous developed models of organisational culture are presenting a static view.
Whether if they only define the organisational culture or go further by assessing some
of its dimensions, all of them come to the same point: creating an image of that
organisational culture at a certain point. Seldom the visual models suggests potential
evolution, even if there were few specialits literally sustaining the manifestation of the
organisational culture as a process.
If taking into consideration the fact that within the theory of integrators the
same organizational culture is considered both integrator (causal element) and system
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to be analyzed (output of causal elements influences), one might deduct its self-
referencing and evolving nature. A self-referencing system is by its nature a complex
adaptive system. In this situation, for emphasizing the change, the control/decision
structures consider not only the elements that directly and/or indirectly influence it,
but also the current status of the system itself. A self-referencing system generally
causes the appearance of:
a) Positive causal loops trying to accelerate the change and to enlarge the
distance between the current and initial status of the system. This situation is called
self-generating behavior;
b) Negative causal loops trying to decelerate the change by pulling back the
system towards its initial status. This situation is also known as self-limiting behavior.
The study of self-referencing processes is even more complicated if the
relations set among variables are nonlinear. That means that between causes and
effects there are not any more relations of proportionality, and that the principle of
superposition does not apply in building up the resulting effect (Brătianu, 2009). Thus,
non-linear causal loops lead to a very complex behavior of the system. Assimilating
the organizational culture to a complex adaptive system with nonlinear causal loops, it
becomes clear that its evolution depends not only on its actual status, but also on its
previous status. That means that the system has a path dependent evolution. For
instance, in an organization, the nature and level of a person’s instruction clearly
influence the type and accuracy of his decisions, as well as his overall behavior; at
their turn, all these cause the organizational culture dynamics; in the end, if the
cultural landmarks suffer a process of change, all the person’s abilities and knowledge
will be challenged to somehow adapt themselves to the new reality, generally, by one
or more methods of instruction.
By now, there are known discussions of organisational culture and change that
have contrasted mechanistic management theories, stressing hierarchical command
and control mechanisms, with more holistic view of the organization as a complex
adaptive system, stressing decentralized flexibility and continuous learning
(Zimmerman et al., 1998). These sustain the pervasive role of individuals' mental
models, descriptive linguistic conventions, and belief systems as they jointly strive to
develop successful and responsive business enterprises.
3. System Dynamics
Organizational culture is a nonlinear integrator (Brătianu et al., 2012) that can
be best described and modeled by using system dynamics developed by Forrester
(Forrester, 1999a; Forrester, 1999b). According to Forrester, “system dynamics is a
profesional field that deals with the complexity of systems. System dynamics is the
necessary foundation underlying effective thinking about systems. System dynamics
deals with how things chage through time, which covers most of what most people find
important. System dynamics involves interpreting real life systems into computer
Organizational culture modeling
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simulation models that allow one to see how the structure and decision-making
policies in a system create its behavior” (Forrester, 1999b, p. 1).
Forrester suggests that complex systems are counterintuitive, due to their
complexity and nonlinearity.“That is, they give indications that suggest corrective
action which will often be ineffective or even adverse in its results. Very often one
finds that the policies that have been adopted for correcting a difficulty are actually
intensifying it rather than producing a solution. Choosing an ineffective or detrimental
policy for coping with a complex system is not a matter of random chance. The
intuitive processes will select the wrong solution much more often than not. A complex
system behaves in many ways quite the opposite of the simple systems from which we
have gained our experience" (Forrester, 1999a, p. 9).
In real life, every organization behaves similar to an adaptable complex
system, so basically it is an open self-referencing system. The idea was brought into
the light during the Second World War, throughout some complex techniques of
operational research development in USA and Great Britain. After their successful
implementation during some military broad operations, they still remained known
under the name of systemic vision.
Later on, several companies such as Bell Telephone Laboratories and RAND
Corporation developed and refined these new methods contributing to the
development of systems engineering and systems analysis (Optner, 1973). In the same
time, while he was studying stocks' management problems within manufacturing
companies, Jay Forrester, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
developed an original method of modeling continuous material's stocks and flows.
This method, known as industrial dynamics, was then enlarged to other complex
problems able to be seen as stocks and flows of inter-correlated elements, becoming
the well-known systems dynamics. The new perspective developed by Forrester has
been used in the forecasting the world development with respect to the natural
resources (Mesarovic and Pestel, 1975).
A system is defined as an aggregation of several elements interacting
continuously over time and forming a coherent whole. All the interdependency
relationships form the system's structure. The expression dynamic speaks about a
change over time. Hence, a dynamic system is a system with a well-defined evolution
with respect to time. Related to the organizational culture and the integrators' theory
developed by Brătianu (2008; 2011), the organization's behavior is given by the
dynamics of organizational culture's change while it is influenced in an obvious
manner by each integrator's behavior apart, as elements of the system itself. A
common feature of all the systems is the fact that the system structure causes in a
substantial part its own behavior; this is one of the aspects emphasized by the system
dynamics. The news is that the system dynamics can do even more than highlighting
this strong connection: it also enables the analysis of the link set among physical
structure of a physical, biological or even literal system and its behavior. For example,
by simply defining the structure of an organization it is possible to pursue the analysis
of the system dynamics over time, therefore to identify its probable behavior.
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More than that, system dynamics can be also used for understanding the way
that some structural changes of the system could alter its behavior as a whole. So that,
by intentionally altering the normal state of the system followed by the variation of
each set of conditions a time, the analyst actually tests the answer of the system.
Then, given the computer, systems dynamics enables the fast obtaining of a
feedback, if one needs to test the assumption found at the root of a mental model. If
powerful and user-friendly software is available, then all it remains is to simulate the
assumption. As a result, nowadays almost anybody could explore the nature, as well as
the dynamic behavior of complex systems, by only starting with a range of initial
conditions and assumptions. This new human ability already has a major impact
especially over the study of social systems dynamics (McGarvey and Hannon, 2004).
Computer simulation represents broadly the imitation of a system behavior, when
calculations made by the computer related to a dynamic model are used. Thus, system
dynamics model is a representation of the system structure; once it is built and provided
with all the necessary initial conditions, the computer can simulate all the variable
components' behavior over time. The better imitator of the real life, the better is the
model. However, the greatest advantage of the computer simulation is that, while it is
impossible to scroll backward and/or fast forward for testing and retesting different
premises, a computerized model enables the change of the system structure, as well as
the analysis of its behavior, no matter how different the initial conditions are.
There are some empirical evidences that, if combined with some real
processes study, computer simulation fosters and even accelerates the learning
process. One can include here: discussions focused on some subjects, students' direct
researches, laboratory experimentations, development and exploration of the model,
and also computer simulation for identifying the connection among the model
behavior and experimental observations. The main purpose is making people to gain
the ability of critically thinking, as well as complex problems solving, which is a
precious asset not only for managers and presidents of companies, but also for
journalists, pilots, engineers, and so on, because modeling itself leads to a continuous
improvement of the judgment and also of the decision making process. While
modeling speaks about developing the model (and only occasionally its running),
simulation involves an already existent model. As Ackott and Sasieni said “...models
represent the reality, simulation imitates it. Simulation always implies running a
model, thus a film of the reality is obtained” (Armstrong, 1993, p. 514).
Speaking about models, as in each theoretical concept case, this also counts
several differentiations function of criteria found at basis. Thus, taken into
consideration the degree of coverage, one can differentiate between global/complete
models and partial models (sub-models). Here there are two necessary remarks: on the
one hand, it is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss about global social system models
(this not being also the case of engineering), on the other hand, even a global model is
made by partial ones. For an easier handling, it is recommended to limit the model.
Actually, in reality, the model will limit itself as a consequence of a correct and
rigorous determination of the "things" that are going to be theorized on. There are very
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few situations that enable the social scientists to theorize on real global models. More
frequently, those theories presentation includes expressions such as: under certain
conditions, within certain limits, or all the other variables being considered equal. In
this way, it is generally recognized that the theory in case is not encompassing so that
there are some limits of its generalization and implementation. Even statistical
analysis includes information regarding the generalization power (such as the
assumption of random distribution of the residues, lack of correlation of residues, or
the appropriate statement of the multiple structural equations models). All of these are
no more than other ways of claiming that the explicit data of the model include all the
relevant variables, or that the elements left apart do not affect the understanding of the
relations among the component variables. Thereby, limits definition is proved to be
more a pragmatic and paradigmatic issue, and less a technical one. Its overcoming is
quite a difficult task and it is in a direct relation with the analyst's creativity, mastery,
intuition and perspicacity (Hanneman, 1988).
On the other hand, if related to the individual cognitive system, one can speak
about implicit models (mental models), defined by Brătianu as cognitive
approximations of the infinite and complex reality which we leave in (Brătianu, 2007),
and said by Hanneman as being the major aim of all the theories (the achievement of a
better understanding and/or explanation of phenomena is intended), and explicit
models. The latter can be classified into verbal and figurative models.
Taking into consideration that the verbal models include all of an entity's
representations made with the aid of words (written and/or said), it can be deduced
that they are at the basis of any organizational culture (communicational elements,
folklore, etc). Figurative models can be also classified into iconic models, analogical
models and symbolic models (these are mathematical models, graphical models and
computerized ones). Any symbolic decisional model uses a specific terminology that
always includes three basic concepts: variables (exogenous, endogenous and
intermediary), parameters, and operators (the symbol of the operation, being it a
mathematical, logical or of another type, made on the variables and/or parameters
within the model).
Combined, variables, parameters and operators make expressions revealing
the relations existent between them; in the end, a symbolic model is an assembly of
this kind of expressions which are sequentially placed and run (Ieftimescu, 2007). If
the all the used variables and parameters are qualitative, than the model itself is a
qualitative one; on the contrary, if they are quantitative, the model will be a
quantitative (numerical) model. Going forward and taking into consideration the
uncontrollable variables' typology, models can also be deterministic or probabilistic
models. Moreover, if the time as central variable is included also into the model, than
one can speak about dynamic or static models (Brătianu, 2007; Ieftimescu, 2007;
Senge, 1990). Social dynamics is focus more on change process (as phenomenon that
has to be explained) than on the structure itself (made by mathematical description of
the connections among them), that means that dynamic models are much more
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important than the static ones. However, both dimensions (i.e. static and dynamic,
structure and process) are interconnected (Hanneman, 1988). Explicit decisional
models can be grouped into three classes: descriptive, predictive and prescriptive
(normative), which are quite difficult to be clear distinguished mainly because some
includes the others.
1) Descriptive models – highlight the most significant features of the
decisional situation and of the relations set among its elements (cause-effect diagram,
regression and correlation analysis, dispersion analysis, etc).
2) Predictive models – allow the prediction of some significant elements
composing the studied decisional situation. These elements could be uncontrollable
factors (for which some forecasts can be developed based on their evolution history
and other synthesized information), or some possible solutions of the decisional
problem (based on the controllable factors that offer the possibility of evaluating their
possible consequences).
3) Prescriptive (normative) models – aims to recommend a certain type of
action (meaning a certain combination of controllable factors), in order to solve the
decisional problem by taking in consideration all the decision criteria and the other
significant elements from within the model (prescriptive mathematical models are
actually optimization models).
Simulation, as running an existent model, could be made based on iconic
models (study of the plane replicate in the aerodynamic tunnel), based on analogical
models (representing and studying a phenomenon by another which is more
understandable or analyzable), and also based on symbolic models (mathematical,
graphical or computerized representations). Pretty obvious, it is more than difficult to
strictly differentiate between them. When it comes about computer simulation, it is
practically impossible to do it because it successfully combines analogical models,
mathematical and nevertheless graphical ones. Function of the highlighted attributes
and the used models, classification of possible simulation processes can continue by
making distinction among discreet and continuous simulations, deterministic and
probabilistic simulations, static and dynamic ones, etc.
System dynamics is a form of continuous simulation. The modeled system is
viewed as an assembly of not-interrupted flows of homogeneous substances out of
which no separate items can be taken off. As an example, one can think at the water
flow through a pipeline. Given this situation, status variables are changing themselves
along with the time, the latest one being constantly changed by only one increment.
Simulation is important in the managerial decision making due to its capacity of
enabling the manager or the analyst to run some experiments based on the system in
order to better understand its behavior and take more appropriate decisions. Therefore,
simulation is a imitation of the way that a real process or system works over time; the
main reasons for using it generally are: a) the necessity of keep asking the system; b) the
necessity of expanding and/or compressing time during the analysis; c) cutting costs.
Organizational culture modeling
273
The most popular continuous simulation languages are Dynamo, elaborated in
its first version by Jay Forrester and and his team at MIT, and STELLA (System
Thinking Experential Learning Laboratory with Animation). As softwares, the most
used are PowerSim and ithink (distributed by PowerSim Software and Isee Systems)
(Ieftimescu, 2007). Next to these, there are some other softwares able to perform
similar things. What differentiates them, from the users point of view, is the graphical
interface, and the needed programing knowledge.
To conclude, future behavior of a dynamic social system (any organization is
in fact a dynamic social system), is if not impossible, at least quite difficult to be
anticipated. The decision maker has at his hand a variety of possible research methods.
Still, all of them need some simplifying hypothesis so that it is recommended to take
into consideration all the possible distortions of the reality, as well as each method
restrictions.
4. Conclusions
Organizational culture is a complex nonlinear integrator of any organization
intellectual capital. Organizational culture reflects the sharing values, beliefs, symbols,
ceremonials and traditions in a company. Although it is an intangible asset strongly
related to the spiritual capital, which means that it can be seen or touched,
organizational culture plays an important role in the company performance and its
efforts to excellence.
Organizational culture is not a static entity since it changes in time. However,
due to its spiritual nature organizational culture manifests a large inertial force to any
changes within the organization and especially to its own change. In order to
understand it and its influence upon the organizational behavior many researchers
developed models able to reflect the main structural and functional aspects of
organizational culture.
The purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual analysis of the most
important models from the literature and to suggest a new perspective in
organizational culture modeling. This new perspective is given by system dynamics, a
research field developed mainly by Jay Forrester from MIT. The paper presents also
some considerations about the usefulness of developing computer models able to
perform simulations. By these simulations managers can get a better understanding of
the organizational culture phenomena from their companies, and as a consequence
they can make better decisions.
Management & Marketing
274
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Management & Marketing
276
About the authors
Valentina Mihaela GHINEA is a lecturer of Human Resources Management
and Strategic Human Resources Management at the Academy of Economic Studies,
Bucharest. At present time she is a PhD Student of the Academy of Economic Studies,
Bucharest, Business Administration field. Her main interests are in human resources
management and systems dynamics.
Constantin BRĂTIANU is professor of Strategic Management and
Knowledge Management at the UNESCO Department for Business Administration,
and Director of the Research Center for Intellectual Capital, Academy of Economic
Studies, Bucharest, Romania. He is co-editor of the international journal Management
& Marketing. His academic interests are: knowledge dynamics, knowledge
management, intellectual capital, and strategic management.
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Organisational Description Questionnaire. Manual, instrument, scoring guide Tacit knowledge in organizations Thinking patterns and knowledge dynamics A dynamic structure of the organizational intellectual capital The frontier of linearity in the intellectual capital metaphor
  • M B Bass
  • B J C C Avolio
Bass, M.B., Avolio, B.J. (1992), " Organisational Description Questionnaire. Manual, instrument, scoring guide ", Mind Garden, Inc., New York Baumard, P.H. (2001), " Tacit knowledge in organizations ", London, Sage Publications Brătianu, C. (2007), " Thinking patterns and knowledge dynamics ", Proceedings of the 8 th European Conference on Knowledge Management, September 6-7 2007, Barcelona, pp. 152-157, Reading: Academic Publishing Limited Brătianu, C. (2008), " A dynamic structure of the organizational intellectual capital ", in: Naaranoja, M. (ed.) Knowledge management in organizations, pp. 233-243, Vaasan Yliopisto, Vaasa Brătianu, C. (2009), " The frontier of linearity in the intellectual capital metaphor ", The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 7, Issue 4, pp. 415-424
Urban Dynamics System Dynamics: the Foundation Under Systems Thinking The interpretation of cultures. Selected essays Fundamentals of organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations, Houghton Mifflin Company Computer-assisted theory building. Modeling dynamic social systems
  • J W Forrester
  • Waltham Forrester
  • J W Cambridge
  • C Ma Geertz
  • R W Griffin
  • G Moorhead
  • R A G Hanneman
Forrester, J.W. (1999a), Urban Dynamics, Pegasus Communications, Inc., Waltham Forrester, J.W. (1999b), System Dynamics: the Foundation Under Systems Thinking, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Geertz, C. (1973), The interpretation of cultures. Selected essays, New York, Basic Books Griffin, R.W., Moorhead, G. (2006), Fundamentals of organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston Handy, C. (1999), Understanding organizations, Penguin Books, London Hanneman, R.A. (1988), Computer-assisted theory building. Modeling dynamic social systems, Sage Publications, London Hofstede, G. (1991), Cultures and Organizations, Harper Collins Business, London Ieftimescu, A. (2007), Simulări decizionale în management, Facultatea de Economie şi Administrare a Afacerilor, Universitatea " Al.I. Cuza ", Iaşi
In search of excellence. Lessons from America's best-run Companies Contemporary human resource management: text and cases, 3 rd edition The assessment of organisational culture. A methodological study
  • T Peters
  • R Waterman
  • T London Redman
  • M T Wilkinson
  • P Oedewald
Peters, T., Waterman, R. (1982), In search of excellence. Lessons from America's best-run Companies, Harper Collins Business, London Redman, T., Wilkinson, M. (2009), Contemporary human resource management: text and cases, 3 rd edition, New York, Prentice Hall Reiman, T., Oedewald, P. (2002), The assessment of organisational culture. A methodological study, VTT Industrial Systems, Publisher, Julkaisija -Utgivare Schein, E.H. (2004), Organizational Culture and Leadership, 3 rd edition, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco
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George Lakoff and Mark Johnson take on the daunting task of rebuilding Western philosophy in alignment with three fundamental lessons from cognitive science: The mind is inherently embodied, thought is mostly unconscious, and abstract concepts are largely metaphorical. Why so daunting? "Cognitive science--the empirical study of the mind--calls upon us to create a new, empirically responsible philosophy, a philosophy consistent with empirical discoveries about the nature of mind," they write. "A serious appreciation of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophy from the beginning, in a way that would put it more in touch with the reality of how we think." In other words, no Platonic forms, no Cartesian mind-body duality, no Kantian pure logic. Even Noam Chomsky's generative linguistics is revealed under scrutiny to have substantial problems. Parts of Philosophy in the Flesh retrace the ground covered in the authors' earlier Metaphors We Live By , which revealed how we deal with abstract concepts through metaphor. (The previous sentence, for example, relies on the metaphors "Knowledge is a place" and "Knowing is seeing" to make its point.) Here they reveal the metaphorical underpinnings of basic philosophical concepts like time, causality--even morality--demonstrating how these metaphors are rooted in our embodied experiences. They repropose philosophy as an attempt to perfect such conceptual metaphors so that we can understand how our thought processes shape our experience; they even make a tentative effort toward rescuing spirituality from the heavy blows dealt by the disproving of the disembodied mind or "soul" by reimagining "transcendence" as "imaginative empathetic projection." Their source list is helpfully arranged by subject matter, making it easier to follow up on their citations. If you enjoyed the mental workout from Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works , Lakoff and Johnson will, to pursue the "Learning is exercise" metaphor, take you to the next level of training. --Ron Hogan Two leading thinkers offer a blueprint for a new philosophy. "Their ambition is massive, their argument important.…The authors engage in a sort of metaphorical genome project, attempting to delineate the genetic code of human thought." -The New York Times Book Review "This book will be an instant academic best-seller." -Mark Turner, University of Maryland This is philosophy as it has never been seen before. Lakoff and Johnson show that a philosophy responsible to the science of the mind offers a radically new and detailed understandings of what a person is. After first describing the philosophical stance that must follow from taking cognitive science seriously, they re-examine the basic concepts of the mind, time, causation, morality, and the self; then they rethink a host of philosophical traditions, from the classical Greeks through Kantian morality through modern analytical philosophy.
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Both the functionalist and the attribution perspectives support a strong association between CEO leadership behavior and organizational culture. However, contingency perspective points to the potential limits of the leader's ability to change or shape an organization's culture. We aim for a deep understanding of when and why decoupling between CEO leadership behavior and organizational culture may occur. We examined this issue in a novel context, the People's Republic of China, where there is large variance on leader discretion in different types of firms. We conducted two survey studies and an interview study to unpack the nature of the relationship. The findings offer insights on both leadership and institutional factors that may account for the decoupling between CEO leadership behavior and organizational cultural values. We offer directions for future research on both leadership and organizational culture phenomena and their potential relationships or lack of.