One theoretical framework (TF) that I’m interested in learning more about is organizational culture (OC). To simplify what I’ve learned so far for this blog post, I’ve summarized learnings from a specific article that defines OC as a TF. I’m aware that there is more available research that may define OC and OC as a TF differently and if you are aware of any, please let me know.
My understandings of OC and OC as a TF based on Inamete (2009):
• OC is “the set of values, beliefs, orientations and behaviors that structure and shape organizations” and it imparts “distinctive unique characteristics or attributes to organizations” (p. 8).
• As OC relates to both individuals and group dynamics, including the behaviors and actions of individuals and organizations, OC “shapes how organizations make decisions” (p. 5)
• The central strategic challenge for OC is managing change (Fox & Amichai-Hamburger, 2001, p. 84, as cited in Inamete, 2009) and being able to change OC determines how “organizations can successfully achieve desired positive change in organizational behavior and performance” (p. 5).
• OC as a TF provides a tool that allows an understanding of OC dynamics, including the organizational structures, processes and strategy that move in “consonance” with OC (p. 13). OC also suggests a strong linkage between organizational behavior and OC, such that behaviors can have a significant impact on organizations.
These understandings can support how a OC TF can be used to approach my research by applying them in the following ways:
• The assumption that there exist differences between organizations as a result of their OC is important for research that seeks to understand how differences in organizations play a role in considerations needed for analysis.
• As a big step within analysis is a needs assessment/analysis, the OC TC provides the assumption that both the individual (learner) and the organization needs are important since they both shape how organizations make decisions. This is important since I won’t need to argue why analysis needs to consider both learner and organizational needs, as this TF assumes that they both need to be considered within decisionmaking.
• As OC defines change as an organization’s main strategic challenge, it sets the stage as a TF that change is a big factor in the issues that organizations face and also as a potential result of learning solution recommendations made to address these organizational issues. Both may be important assumptions to have in the TF for my research question. It further provides that considerations of OC elements can allow recommendations to incur a positive (or a negative) change within the organization and could be considerations to evaluate for my third sub-question.
• Having OC as a TF allows the research to evaluate how OC dynamics, including processes like analysis, can be misaligned to the OC since it assumes these should move together within the organizational environment. This could be helpful as assumptions for my sub-questions one and two. Also, as OC identifies these dynamics as having a significant impact on the organization when they affect behavior; this may play a role in identifying the strategies used to determine the impact of analysis (my sub-question one).
Questions that I have:
• Inamete (2009) states that a systematic TF of OC was not prevalent ten years ago (at the time of study).
o Do I need to find evidence that shows that the OC TF is established (i.e. find a study that confirms it is) to be able to use it as a TF for my research proposal?
• An assumption that I may need for my research is that needs, including the organization’s and the learners’, are required to be met for the learning to be effective.
o Is it ‘enough’ that OC is made up “shared values that provide meanings and identity to organizations and their members” (Inamete, 2009, p. 4) for it to provide this assumption as a TF?
o Or would I need to use another TF, such as adult learning or constructivism, to underpin this assumption throughout my research?
• Inamete (2009) defines a specific TF of OC called SISOPEC that classifies cultural frameworks and dynamics into eight types that fit into three overall groups: social dynamics, institutional dynamics and socio-politico-economic dynamics (that shorten to the acronym SISOPEC).
o Do I need to use a specifically defined TF, like SISOPEC, for my research proposal or can I just define OC as my TF and discuss specific TF OCs where they may apply to my research?
For background, here are my current overarching research question and sub-questions:
“In what ways might analysis contribute to the recommendation of learning solutions to organizational issues?”
1) What strategies might be used to determine the impact of various analysis methods?
2) How might analysis identify whether a learning solution is not appropriate for an organizational issue?
3) What considerations may be required in analysis to determine the recommendation of learning solutions to organizational issues?
Inamete, U. B. (2009). Organizational Culture: A Taxonomy and a Theoretical Framework. Ideaz, 8.