Define the organization’s culture. What are its dimensions and how cultural dimensions can be combined to differentiate it from other organizations?

Define the organization’s culture. What are its dimensions and how cultural dimensions can be combined to differentiate it from other organizations

CSS Solved Business Administration Past Papers | Define the organization’s culture. What are its dimensions and how cultural dimensions can be combined to differentiate it from other organizations?

The following question is attempted by Miss Nimra Masood, the top scorer in CSS Business Administration papers. Moreover, the answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Topic Breakdown:
Organizational culture is the crux of management that differentiates one organization from another. Culture defines the employee attitude, behaviour and power structure in an organization.   
: organizational culture.
: Management. 


Beyond a doubt, the organization is incomplete without its employees and their performance. Surprisingly, one thing that significantly influences the employees and their performance is the organization’s culture. The organizational culture varies across companies depending on both internal and external factors. On the one hand, some organizations allow employees the luxury of participating in decision-making, while other organizations believe in minimal participation and a very formal culture. Thus forth, organizational culture varies depending on different dimensions and characteristics.

Definition of Culture:

 “A pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adoption and internal integration worked well enough to be considered valuable and, therefore, to be taught to new members as a correct way to perceive, think and feel, in relation to those problems.” Edgar Schein       

Definition of Organizational Culture:     

“The shared attitude and perceptions in an organization that are based on a set of fundamental norms and values and help members understand the organization.” Wagner & Hollenbeck       


“A system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations”.


“Consists of norms, values and unwritten rules of conduct of an organization as well as management styles, priorities, belief and interpersonal behaviors that prevail. Together they create a climate that influences how well people communicate, plan and make decisions”

Functions of Organizational Culture:

  • It gives members an organizational identity:
    Sharing norms, values, and perceptions gives people a sense of togetherness that helps promote a feeling of common purpose.
  • It facilitates collective commitment:
    The common purpose that grows out of shared culture tends to elicit strong commitment from all those who accept the culture as their own.
  • It promotes systems stability:
    By encouraging a shared sense of identity and commitment, the culture encourages lasting integration and cooperation among the members of an organization.
  • It shapes behaviour by helping members make sense of their surroundings:
    An organization’s culture serves as a source of shared meaning that explains why things occur the way they do.
  • It provides a boundary:
    Culture creates a distinction between one organization and the other. Such boundary–defining helps identify members and non-members of the organization.
  • It helps organizational members stick to conformity and expected mode of behaviour:
    Culture ensures that everyone thinks and behaves in a prescribed manner.

Dimensions of Organizational Culture:

How Cultural dimensions can be combined to differentiate it from other organizations:

  • Attention to details:

 The degree to which employees are expected to exhibit precision, analysis, and attention to detail in tasks involved. While in some organizations, employees give great attention to details, in other organizations, it may not be instrumental in their culture. Interestingly, more attention is given to this factor, which means there is a low probability of innovation or risk-taking in such organizations.

  • Aggressiveness:

The degree to which people are aggressive and competitive rather than easygoing in carrying out their tasks. Companies that value individual performance highly witness higher levels of aggressiveness among their employees. The overall environment is more competitive and assertive in such companies; on the other hand, companies that focus on teamwork or collective tasks will rank very low on this indicator. External factors may also influence this indicator, e.g. people in New Zealand and Switzerland prefer consensus and cooperative decision-making rather than being assertive.

  • Innovation and risk-taking:

The degree to which employees are encouraged to be innovative and to take risks is another determinant of organizational culture that differentiates one organization from another. Companies that are involved in technology-oriented businesses are more focused on innovation and risk-taking, while other companies providing products of daily need may not promote this determinant. Therefore apart from external factors and employee attitude, the requirements of the industry and customers also influence culture a great deal.

  • Outcome-oriented:

 The degree to which management focuses on results or outcomes rather than on the techniques and processes used to achieve them. For companies that rate this indicator as of lesser importance, there is a greater emphasis on rules, structure, order, and predictability, while in organizations with a high focus on outcomes, performance is the key indicator. Companies with high-performance orientation value materialism and competitiveness, and they expect to invest in training to promote performance improvements.

  • People Orientation:

The degree to which management decisions take into consideration the effect of outcomes on people within the organization or, in other words, it is the degree to which organizations value kindness, generosity and altruism in performing tasks. Surprisingly, societal norms and culture may considerably influence this determinant, for e.g. companies in Egypt, the Philippines and South Asia may focus on this determinant more than companies in France or Singapore.

  • Team Orientation:

Another determinant of organizational culture that varies from one organization to another is team orientation. It is the degree to which work activities are organized around teams rather than individuals. Companies ranking highly on this indicator witness individuals that express pride, loyalty, and cohesiveness in their organizations or families. A strong distinction is made between individuals who are in a group and those who are not. Power distance is one factor that influences this determinant, countries that rank highly on team orientation will have a weak power distance meaning decision-making is done with consensus and collaboration.

  • Stability:

The final determinant of organizational culture that varies across organizations is stability. It is the degree to which organizational activities emphasize maintaining the status quo in contrast to growth. In other words, it is known as uncertainty avoidance, the tendency to resist change and ambiguity. Generally, in such organizations, the power is concentrated in only a few hands, while the lower staff has a higher degree of tolerance. Internal and external factors, along with the product type, can significantly influence this factor.


Organizational culture has a considerable influence on employee performance, motivation and organizational stability. Organizational culture has eight determinants that vary on the continuum for every organization; thus, organizational culture varies across organizations. Several internal, external and industry-related factors contribute to the formation of organizational culture. Therefore, cultural determinants combine to form a unique organizational culture for every organization.

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