Saturday, February 8, 2014

No... I'm sorry to tell you that this post has little to do with Beyonce. She's just there to get you to click the link! Also, she is totally the fiercest person on the planet so she had to make it on a blogpost.

But really, click the link! That has a little more to do with the post that you're about to read. 
                ....and yes, it does have to do work #sorry.

So let me get to the point, we're going to talk about Organizational Culture Theory. In addition to hearing all about this theory, you also get to hear about my work life (yay you!).

I've been working as part of International Services for close to a year and I am very lucky to do so.

My work is considered an organization and thus it has some basic assumptions we can follow according to this theory. 

1. The people in the organization create and maintain a shared sense of organizational reality, making it easier for them to understand the values of the organization.

2. The use of interpretation of symbols is super important to understanding the organizations culture.
(more on this below!)

3. Each organization has their own and unique culture and interpretations within these cultures can vary.

So these symbols we mentioned are important to the organization. They define the culture and help understand it as a whole.

Ill give you an example of each and compare it to my own work culture. 

Physical symbol- includes such things as building/decor and dress. The dress of our work is on the casual side. Most of the full-time employees wear business casual, while the student workers can more informal styles. I personally wear yoga pants 4/5 days! This makes the office as a whole more approachable and relaxed.

There are also behavioral symbols- ceremonies/rituals/customs. This is like when someone leaves or office, they always get their own lunch to say goodbye. Usual fit with ice cream! 

Verbal symbols- jokes/names/metaphors. My favorite student worker is called Simon (his name is Trevor) because his sassy nature reminds us of Simon Cowell.

In addition, one big part of the office culture is performance. West and Turner (class text, check citation below) suggest that this is "a metaphor that suggest a symbolic process of understanding human behavior in an organization". 

These performances can include rituals which mean they are performances that are regular and reoccurring. Such as personal, task, social, and organizational. Other performances are passion, social, political and enculturation. Obviously you don't want to read about all of them so let's go through a few and you'll get an idea of how they operate!

Social performances- these show cooperation and politeness. My personal job entails mostly individual work on the computer. I'm in an area most people don't pass. But, if anyone walks by, it can be guaranteed that both of us will wave hello and say general greetings.

Then there are passion performances, stories that we tell. Every time we come back from checking immigration documents of 1000 students, you can guarantee that we will have stories to share.

Working on the computer makes a lot of my work checking different programs and emails. Making some of these personal rituals. My boss and I often participate in task rituals together, going to Immigration Check ins, Visa checks and other projects.

My job as you can see, is a more approachable and casual environment, as far as a student worker goes. These rituals and performances and symbols all help to dictate that and dictate the culture of the organization. 

I'm sure you're about done hearing about my own job. But, if you want to learn more about these rituals and performances, check them out for yourself. I bet that they can apply to your own organization or work!

Credit to Richard West and Lynn H. Turner for their book "Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Application" for helping me out with the assumptions and quotes! 

No comments:

Post a Comment