This article will examine the paper written by Ibidunni and Agboola (2013). The paper discusses about organizational culture and how it can be utilized to strengthen performance. It examines the economic relevance, the theoretical views, the factors that influence organizational culture, as well as the creation, the change, and the strengthening.

Organizational Culture and Project Management

The organizational culture concept in the paper can also be applicable to project management to some extent. We can examine this connection in two ways. First, projects tend to be held in an organization with an established organizational culture. In this case, a poor organizational culture tends to view project management as an additional burden and interference to the daily work (Raikhanghar, 2010). On the contrary, solid and healthy work culture can significantly improve project management.

The second way to see it is the project culture itself: the culture within the project team. In this view, we must understand that project has a limited timeframe and resources, so the team may not have the capacity to improve its own organizational culture in the middle of the project. So, some of the points in the article may not be applicable to this view. As the article said, corporate culture cannot be changed through only a change of a policy and it can also not be achieved overnight (Ibidunni & Agboola, 2013). It will require exhaustive communication, time, and patience.

For instance, the article discussed the four instances where corporate culture needs a change. All of the four instances may be well found in project management, but the way project managers address the issue may be different. One of the instances noted that corporate culture needs a change is when two or more companies of varied backgrounds merge and conflict arises among people of different groups, undermining the performance. I can agree that the condition requires a change, but a usual organizational culture approach may not be applicable in project management as it will require a longer timeframe. It can wear the project down too long.

Perhaps it is just as Giles noted in the article, that the only way to change organizational culture overnight is to fire everyone and hire new staff with the working behavior that we want (Ibidunni & Agboola, 2013). This sentence may emphasize that it is almost impractical to change it overnight, but it can be a viable solution for a project. Of course, firing everyone is overly dramatic, but I think, it is more sensible to hire the correct project staffs that guarantee strong organizational culture, rather than having to change it in the middle of the project.

Also read about Google’s 20% Formula in Project Management Perspective

The perceptions and beliefs of the leadership and organization’s culture + Example

It is interesting that a survey by VitalSmarts shows a disparity between employees’ and employers’ perceptions in various norms (Straz, 2016). Employees may perceive their leaders as strict managers who appreciate obedience to rules, while the managers may perceive that they encourage innovation and creativity. The leaders may perceive their team as teamwork oriented, while the employees perceive that the leaders want them to compete with each other. These discrepancies may once again result in low job satisfaction and low performance, let alone a bad relationship between the leader and the employees.

Robbins and Judge (2017) stated that the behavior is based on their perception of what reality is. Instead of reality, it is the perception of reality that largely influence how an individual makes decisions and the quality of the decisions. Since behavior adheres to perception, to influence employees’ behavior at work, managers need to assess how the employees perceive their work. Managers may not be able to directly assess their employee’s perceptions, but they can try to understand the employee’s point of view (Ivancevich et al., 2013).

Studies have shown a considerable positive correlation between employees’ work perception and their performance (Harter et al., 2010). Employees’ perception of the manager’s behavioral integrity increases job satisfaction, job engagement, health, and life satisfaction, as well as reducing stress, turnover likelihood, and work-to-family conflict (Prottas, 2012). The way employees perceive things is an important aspect that must not be disregarded as it does not only affect their work behavior, but also influences job satisfaction, performance, and turnover (Ivancevich et al., 2013).

A great company example would be Southwest Airlines, which was famous for having a great organizational culture thanks to the former CEO, the late Herb Kelleher. Various stories depicted how Kelleher’s charismatic leadership become a role model. He is known as a leader who gave equal respect to others and emphasized that everybody is important (Taylor, 2019). Under his leadership, he built a strong corporate culture and tight cost control which becomes the company’s trademark.

The human approach leadership created a strong organizational culture, which increases employees’ happiness. When employees are happy, they provide the best service to the passengers, proven by high customer satisfaction (Cote, 2018). This approach has made Southwest’s workforce recognized in the industry as the most productive and providing the best customer service (Freiberg & Freiberg, 2019). This is how an organization’s culture can make a significant difference in business.

In times of crisis, Kelleher showed a sense of belief among his employees that they can get through this together. For instance, he agreed to freeze his base salary at $395,000 for four years when his company negotiated with its pilots for a five-year salary freeze in exchange for stock options and profitability bonuses (Pfeffer & Veiga, 1999). Later, he was hailed as the best CEO in the aviation industry, and some even hailed him as the best CEO in the US (Freiberg & Freiberg, 2019). In 2018, the company was ranked 13 out of 500 global companies in the Forbes list of best employers (Cote, 2018).

References

Cote, R. (2018). Leadership Analysis: Southwest Airlines-Herb Kelleher, CEO. Journal of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, 15(1). http://t.www.na-businesspress.com/JLAE/JLAE15-1/CoteR_15_1.pdf

Freiberg, K., & Freiberg, J. (2019, April 7). 20 Reasons Why Herb Kelleher Was One Of The Most Beloved Leaders Of Our Time. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinandjackiefreiberg/2019/01/04/20-reasons-why-herb-kelleher-was-one-of-the-most-beloved-leaders-of-our-time/

Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., Asplund, J. W., Killham, E. A., & Agrawal, S. (2010). Causal Impact of Employee Work Perceptions on the Bottom Line of Organizations. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(4), 378–389. https://www.academia.edu/download/44338631/Causal_Impact_of_Employee_Work_Perceptio20160402-27772-1moscvh.pdf

Ibidunni, S., & Agboola, M. (2013). Organizational Culture: Creating, Changing, Measuring and Consolidating for Performance. European Journal of Business and Management, 5(32). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317605448_Organizational_Culture_Creating_Changing_Measuring_and_Consolidating_for_Performance/

Ivancevich, J. M., Konopaske, R., & Matteson, M. T. (2013). Organizational Behavior and Management (10th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Pfeffer, J., & Veiga, J. F. (1999). Putting people first for organizational success. Academy of Management Perspectives, 13(2), 37–48. https://doi.org/10.5465/ame.1999.1899547

Prottas, D. J. (2012). Relationships Among Employee Perception of Their Manager’s Behavioral Integrity, Moral Distress, and Employee Attitudes and Well-Being. Journal of Business Ethics, 113(1), 51–60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1280-z

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational Behavior, Global Edition (17th ed.). Pearson.

Straz, M. (2016, September 19). How Employees and Managers See Things Differently -- and How to Fix It. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/282397

Taylor, B. (2019, January 8). The Legacy of Herb Kelleher, Cofounder of Southwest Airlines. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/01/the-legacy-of-herb-kelleher-cofounder-of-southwest-airlines

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