Leadership, the Determinant of Corporate Culture and Diversity Essay
With the world becoming smaller and smaller from the increasingly intensive business trade, the globalization not only bring huge opportunity, but also bring more challenges to organizations than ever before. Multicultural teams, therefore, are used in workplace, and workforces become more divers than ever before (Schein, 2010). But ethnicity is only one part of diversity, and the concept of it includes some visible ones, for example religions, gender, disabilities and other less visible ones, like social class or sexual-orientation.
In organizations, the key issue of diversity is how to benefit from differences and eliminate the stereotype and avoid automatically judge people on the basis of differences (Coleman Marianne, 2012). Therefore, dealing with this issue appropriately can enhance organization’s effectiveness and motivate talents to innovate. There is another topic which is contributed to company’s effectiveness-organizational culture in recent years.
Researcher (Schein, 2010) suggested that organizational culture can influence how people set individual and organizational goals, perform tasks and manage resources to achieve those goals. So, identifying the culture of company becomes a popular and effective method to achieve high performance in workforce. Whether a company can value diversity and set strong organizational culture is mostly depend the way of the parties concerned manage it, and in particular the group leader.
Therefore, analyze the leadership of a company can be a key to get known this organization’s culture and the effectiveness of its staff performance. The Definition and Traits of Leadership In the twenty-first century, leaders must create an atmosphere in which people believe in strategy, believe in management decisions, and believe in their work. Once people believe in management decisions, there is an excitement within the organization. Such an atmosphere makes an organization proper. Successful leaders create this sort of environment both inside and outside the organization. Chowdhury, quoted by Keith, 2006) In searching the definition of leadership, I found that it is hard to find the universe agreement on this topic. Warren Bennis (quoted by Keith, 2006), an acknowledged expert on this subject says he has come across over 350 definitions, and the elements that constitute effective leadership are ‘hazy’.
According to John Harvey (quoted by Keith, 2006) , leadership imply making people act in a way without threatening or coercing them; they have ability to get others to what they don’t want to do and like it (Harry S. Truman, President of the USA, 1945-1953); Leadership is an influencing process aimed at goal achievement (Ralph Stogdill, quoted by Keith, 2006). Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991) summarize the traits of leadership as following: drive to achieve; the motivation to leader; honesty and integrity; self-confidence, standing firm and being emotionally resilient; cognitive ability; knowledge of specific area. As the importance of leadership in management area, a question has been haunting in researchers’ minds from time to time – are leaders born or made? Or what the traits leaders must have?
The same as the definition of leadership, its traits are also very hard to get an agreement among academic researchers, because different historic period and different industry sections produced different kinds of leadership. Most of people extract the leader’s characteristics from analyzing those historic figures, such as Churchill, Napoleon, Mao tsudung, Churchill, etc, and we can illustrate some typical abilities which contribute to “strong leaders” (Keith, Paul, and Roger, 2006). * Direct, lead, and manage well in crisis * Take effective decisions, if necessary under pressure Act consistently with stated views or aims * Enjoy credibility with ‘followers’ * Convey effectively a vision and related objectives * Communicate a vision effectively * Possess good persuasive communication skills * Possess charisma However, most of those historical figures were in areas of political and military, so the analysis on them may have limitations in modern business leadership. What’s more, those factors above mostly came from male leaders, but nowadays, female leaders are sharing a bigger and bigger contribution to the world and their managing practices are so different from males’.
Leadership determinates Organizational Culture Organizational culture, improved by numerous of researches (Hansen and Wernerfelt, 1989; Schein, 1990), can influence how people set personal and professional goals, perform tasks and administer resources to achieve them. It affects the way of people’s thinking, consciously or subconsciously; how to make decisions and the way how they perceive, feel and act. As the understanding of Schein (1992), an organization’s culture is a shared set of assumptions and values as a guideline for daily behaviors of company’s members; it is the “atmosphere” of an organization.
It is the agreed-upon “correct way to perceive, think, and feel internal integration”. As the significant importance of organizational culture, understanding what organizational culture is, identifying which kind of culture that firm has and what factors determinate it becomes the first task to add value to a company and increase working performance. In order to find this answer, numerous business researchers, industrial psychologists and sociologists have conducted studies of organizational culture and the factors which may affect it.
Generally, there is a large variety of factors influence the culture in organization. It includes the company’s history, present management, size, structure, the nature of products or service, industrial relations activities and above all, leadership and national culture (Alan, Robert and Marian, 2002). According to Schein’s (2010) research results, organizational culture basically springs from three sources: (1) the beliefs, values, and assumptions of founders of organizations; (2) the learning experiences of group members as heir organization evolves; and (3) new beliefs, value, and assumptions brought in by new members and leaders. Thirty-seven years ago, Apple was founded by Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak with the most fast development speed in the late of twenty century. Almost thirty years later, the launch of I-phone 4 and I-pad made Apple becomes the most influential IT company in the twenty-first century for providing the brand new technical design and revolutionary using experience, and Steven Jobs was also praised as the ‘god father’ of Apple for his persistence on innovation and creation.
As CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs was once resigned by tricks, and his returns had just rescued the company from collapse and makes significant progress. When Apple attempted to become more market oriented by bringing in John Scully from PepsiCo, the company grew, but many insiders felt that the technical community within Apple never accepted this marketing-oriented executive (Schein, 2010). Once upon a time, Vice President Mark, a former executive of iPhone, has left the company over the report that he did not fit into Apple’s corporate culture, because Jobs created one of the most distinct corporate cultures in the business.
They are: focus on design; believe in Jobs; forget everything that came before it; and believe Apple is better than all others. Many people point out that IBM did much better in bringing in an outside marketing executive, Lou Gerstner, in its efforts to revitalize its business in the 1990s. Why might his have worked better than Scully in Apple? The insight that cultural analysis provides is that even IBM was built an engineering-based organization in the first place, a marketing-based CEO, Lou Gerstner, made it succeed. Leadership of valuing diversity
Different from organizational culture in which employees are consciously or subconsciously thinking and act in the unified way, a diversity workforce in which staff will perform and accept different norms, value, or traditions. In a working context, especially for some large company, there are always the concepts of majority group and minority group, tangibly or intangibly. The majority group, psychologically, may be identified both as larger in size and as possessing greater power and economic advantages (Taylor, 1990).
And the minority group, therefore, may be easier to get bulled, harassed, and discrimination. In this regard, researchers, such as Taylor Cox (1990), came out many managerial model, and find out the behavior of leader have significant influences on this topic. The term “diversity leadership” means those leaders who manage or lead diverse groups, which is different from the term of diverse leader. The latter refers to any leader who is the minority in one workforce, such a black man leader in a British company, or a homosexual manager (Oluremi and Charmine, 2006).
The norms and visions those leaders communicated to their followers will directly influence employees’ interpretation and response to events in the workplace (Oluremi and Charmine, 2006). Therefore, leaders’ behavior, actions and attitude toward diversity could affect the degree of discrimination, job satisfaction and motive creation. According to the study of Taylor (1991), the diversity climate may influence individual career experiences and outcomes in organizations. Here is a very extreme example of diversity.
Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, has decided to create a working environment where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees can publicly be themselves and fully use their talents. Such an example of diversity truly makes Accenture succeed, and from 2008 to 2011, it generated net revenues of 25. 5 billion US dollars. According the report of Thomson Reuter (2007), Patrick Row, the member of the executive committee of the company’s UK and Ireland entity, and who is also executive sponsor of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employee network.
She saw a direct correlation between business results and view a wider range of diversity means. The similar program has also been taken in IBM, and it is rated top employer in Britain for LGB people in 2010. Organizational Culture and Diversity Now it is well known that organizational culture and diversity is important on corporate effectiveness and employee performance, but what is the relationship between these two issues? How can leaders manage them cohesively and effectively?
As Ashley (2009) put in his journal, having an organizational culture that encourages employee involvement and creates a sense of ownership and responsibility appears to be important for the management of workplace diversity. It suggests that the content of organizational cultural values may influence the function of diverse group. Ashley (2009) also figured out that it might be the case that workplace diversity does impact organizational performance but that impact is best realized through a high Involvement organizational culture.
To demonstrate the effect of organizational culture on diverse group functioning, You-Ta, et al (2004) illustrates the research result of O’Reilly et al. (1990), from which seven organizational cultural dimensions are assessed: innovativeness, stability, respect for people, outcome orientation, attention to detail, team orientation, and aggressiveness. You-Ta, et al (2004) argue that since diverse groups are embedded within the umbrella of organizational culture, different content of the organizational culture values shared among members in diverse groups may reinforce or suppress group or individual values to shape group processes.
There are seven organizational cultural dimensions are assessed: innovativeness, stability, respect for people, outcome orientation, attention to detail, team orientation, and aggressiveness. And afterward, Rousseau identified that these seven dimensions can be grouped into three categories: 1) the completion of work tasks (innovativeness, stability, and attention to detail); 2) interpersonal relationships (team orientation and respect for people); and 3) individual behavior (outcome orientation and aggressiveness).
However, in the perspective of practical operation, there is also a conflict of maintaining and utilizing workforce diversity in a context of core culture values. (Cindy ,1993) explained that group action is effective when more than one perspective or type of expertise is need for solving a problem or making a decision, however, if opinions and perspectives are too different, the group has little chance of coming to consensus over a solution. In another word, too much diversity results in an inability to reach consensus on decisions, while too little diversity creates various unwanted effects such as over conformity.
Conclusion To sum up, as the fierce competition and the high-speed of globalization in the whole world, more and more organizations realize the necessity of software power, organizational culture and workforce diversity. Companies that embrace the different perspectives and opportunities (e. g. IBM and Accenture) that can be offered with a diverse workforce allow opportunities for more constructive and effective performance in the company (Toolpack, quoted by Matthew Russell, 2007).
Also, in the managerial literature, there is often the implication that having a corporate culture is necessary effective performance, and companies, those have “strong organizational culture” can make higher performance and better effectiveness than those have lower one. To better understand these two issues, it was figured out from lots of managerial literatures that leadership is the main factor to determinate whether a company value diversity or have a strong organizational culture. According to Schein’s (2010) research results, culture is ultimately created, embedded, evolved and ultimately manipulated by leaders.
And leadership behavior, including, for example, the attitude, manner and policy, directly influence the inclusion diversity in a workplace. The value of a company’s culture will influence the function of diversity; however, these two issues are inevitably somehow paradox and contradictory. The paradox comes from a dilemma that organization in which dominant culture has already been valued by employees, but also encourages the acceptance of differences, because too much divestiture may eliminate unique strengths.