According to Schein (2004),culture is essentially an established pattern of behavior built on shared basic assumptions generated by tackling crucial external adaptions and internal integration challenges. Healthy cultures form when the pattern of behavior has been successful enough to be considered rationally valid and then taught to new comers...and which is extended and both deepened and broadened by the commitment of its members. The nature of external opportunities and challenges, and nature of internal structure, size and other elements, determines the assumptions and behaviours needed there is no universal culture. It is vital to change the culture/environment to promote respect, value opinions of employees, managers and employees' training and development, to encourage involvement and innovation.Culture is often overlooked when change is proposed, and yet it is by far the most influential factor in any organisation regarding the management of people, its customers, suppliers, stakeholders and shareholders.
Charles Handy (1985) identified four types of culture constructed on power, role, task andpersonality;
1. The entrepreneurial structure and power culture - this places emphasis on centralisation of power, for example the power islocated at the core of the business.Power and authority flows outward from the centre with controlexercised by appointing loyal individuals to key positions.it can, however, lead to dysfunctional competition and disaffection inlower levels.
2. The bureaucratic structure and role culture - is based on logic and rationality rather than personality and it focuses on roles with corresponding decentralisation of power,authority, tasks and responsibilities. Role cultures are better suited to predictable conditions and find itmuch more difficult to adapt to changing conditions.A role culture is therefore potentially frustrating for the ambitious whowish to exercise discretion.
Organisational researcherssuch asHodgetts and Luthans (2003:486),Kotteret.al, (1992),Johnson (1988:75), Harrison & Stokes (1992) found five characteristics helpful to the understanding of culture are;
1. The nature of leadership - this refers to the way that power andauthority are exercised in the organisation. An authoritarian culturewould see major decisions taken at the centre with little or noconsultation with lower levels.
2. The values of the organisation - the values of an organisation such asToyota International produced a distinctive culture based onrespect for the environment and living creatures.
3. Dominant behaviour patterns - of key position holders such as themanaging director for example their behaviour will help determine what isexpected and whether actual behaviour lives up to expectations.
4. The mission statement and vision: this will have an important impactto the extent to which it is clear, communicated and embraced by alllevels of the organisation.
5. Receptiveness to change-Environmental Influence andDemand forchange, create an organization culture that makes adaptation to changes in the environment easy.