Quality Management and Safety Engineering (BSc) - MST 326
The culture of organisations.

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Learning styles (Honey and Mumford)

Peter Honey and Alan Mumford introduced a self-administered learning-styles questionnaire which enables a student to understand their own individual approach to learning [Swinton]. The questionnaire determines your preferred learning style with the analysis considering four basic techniques:

Knowledge of your learning style can accelerate your learning as you undertake activities that best fit your preferred style. Knowing your learning style can also help avoid repeating mistakes by undertaking activities that strengthen other styles.

Reference: Lyndsay Swinton, Honey & Mumford – Learning Style Questionnaire, http://www.mftrou.com/honey-mumford.html, accessed 24 July 2014.

Team rôles (Belbin).

Meredith Belbin and his researchers at Henley Management College studied the behaviour of managers from all over the world. Their individual core personality traits, intellectual styles and behaviours were assessed and classified into clusters of behaviour according to the success of the teams:

Action-oriented roles Shaper ... Implementer ... Completer/Finisher
People-oriented roles Co-ordinator ... Teamworker ... Resource/Investigator
Cerebral roles Plant ... Monitor/Evaluator ... Specialist

Reference: Belbin® Home > Team Roles > History and Research, http://www.belbin.com/rte.asp?id=3, accessed 24 july 2014.

The Culture of Organisations

Trompenaars [1] considered how cultural (national) differences affected the process of doing business with international organisations.  The book attempts to do three things:

He suggests that "every culture distinguishes itself from others by the specific solutions it chooses to certain problems" and groups these issues under three headings;

People within a culture do not have identical basic assumptions (implicit), norms and values (tribal attributes) or artefacts and products (explicit).  The variation in each of these may have a wide spread and could be perceived as a statistical distribution.  The assumption of a single common characteristic for any culture leads to stereotyping.  In relationships with other people, Trompenaars identifies five dimensions (value orientations) which greatly influence business, management and moral responses:

While cultures can generally be described in terms of the above paired options, Trompenaars divides organisations into four groups as in the quadrants of the Figure below, and [his Figure 11.5] ascribes national patterns of corporate culture to each of the four categories.  Wherever they are located, smaller companies are more likely to  take the family/incubator forms whereas larger companies tend to choose the Eiffel Tower or guided missile forms.

Fulfilment-oriented culture
Project-oriented culture
USA, Canada, UK
Power-oriented culture
France, Belgium, India, Spain Japan
Role-oriented culture
Netherlands, Denmark, Germany
Trompenaars' categorisation of corporate images, with national patterns indicated ("interpret this cautiously") [1]

Avery [2] identified 19 criteria for sustainable leadership practices from Rhineland (Germany/Switzerland) companies (Table 1).  The book argues that the "Anglo/US approach to capitalism and business is seriously flawed and does not bring the quality of life to individuals and societies that many people seek" and thus by shifting to embrace the Rhineland criteria in the Sustainable Leadership Grid (Table 1) companies can become financially, socially and environmentally successful.

Table 1: The Sustainable Leadership Grid comparing Rhineland and Anglo/US models (from Avery (2005) [2]),
subdivided into Management and Decision Making (yellow) - Focus on People (pink) - Systems and Processes (blue).

 Grid Elements  Rhineland  Anglo/US
 CEO concept  top team speaker  decision maker, hero
 Decision making  consensual  manager-centred
 Ethical behaviour  an explicit value  ambivalent
 Financial markets  challenge them  follow them
 Innovation  strong  a challenge
 Knowledge management  shared  a challenge
 Long-term perspective  yes  no
 Management development  grow their own  import managers
 Organisational culture  strong  a challenge
 People priority  strong  lip-service
 Quality  high is a given  difficult to deliver
 Retaining staff  strong  weak
 Skilled workforce  strong  challenged
 Social responsibility  strong  underdeveloped
 Environmental responsibility  strong  underdeveloped
 Stakeholders  broad focus  shareholders
 Teams  self-governing  manager-centred
 Uncertainty and change  considered process  fast adjustment
 Union-management relations  co-operation  conflict
  1. F Trompenaars, Riding the Waves of Culture - understanding cultural diversity in business, Economist Books, London, 1993.  ISBN 0-85058-428-0.  Third edition, 2012: ISBN 978-1-904838-38-8. PU CSH Library.
  2. GC Avery, Leadership for Sustainable Futures - achieving success in a competitive world, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2005.  ISBN 1-84542-173-6.  PU CSH Library

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Created by John Summerscales on 05 May 2005 and updated on 23-Dec-2014 14:31. Terms and conditions. Errors and omissions. Corrections.