Edgar Schein’s 3 Levels of Organizational Culture
Edgar Schein, of the Sloan School of Management, was interested in understanding organizational culture. He analyzed organizations into three distinct levels of organizational culture: artifacts (the surface manifestations of culture), values, and assumptions.
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The Nature of Organizations
This video is part of course module number 6.1.4
Program 6: Managing within Organizations
Course 1: The Nature of Organizations
Section 4: Organizational Culture
Other videos in this section include:
🎬 Introduction to Organizational Culture https://youtu.be/F_jEJBjE_J4
🎬 Cultural Web: Johnson & Scholes on Where Culture Originates https://youtu.be/i9hVuurBvh4
🎬 Quinn and Cameron: Competing Values Model of Organizational Culture https://youtu.be/eOnCetNa7Zc
🎬 National Culture within an Organization: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions https://youtu.be/eygJtngcqMs
🎬 How we Work: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cross-Organization Cultural Dimensions https://youtu.be/U8CZE1LXpv4
Edgar Schein analyzed organizational culture into three distinct levels: artifacts (the surface manifestations of culture), values, and assumptions.
They are kind of like an iceberg, with the most important elements most hidden from view
Visible, surface elements of an organization’s culture, that an outsider would notice. They’re typically the things even an outsider can see, such as furniture, decoration, dress codes, rituals, stories.
They can be easy to observe but sometimes difficult to understand, especially if your analysis of a culture never goes any deeper. Often they can have a deep and meaningful history.
The company’s declared set of values and norms. They set out ‘how things should be done’ and what choices we should make.
Values affect how members interact, behave, and represent the organization and are often reinforced by public values statements, such as branding straplines, or lists of core values.
Shared basic assumptions
These are the bedrock of organizational culture. They are beliefs that people take for granted, rarely question, and therefore tend to go unnoticed.
Understanding these shared assumptions will help explain seemingly confusing artifacts and values.
Schein (1985) described six types of assumptions that form what Johnson and Scholes would describe as the paradigm for an organization. These are assumptions about:
1. the ‘truth’ and how it is determined
2. the importance of time
3. how space is owned and allocated, and what it means to people.
4. human nature, whether it is fundamentally good or bad, and whether it can be perfected.
5. the organization’s relationship with its environment, and how the organization’s staff should relate to it.
6. Social power and how people should relate to one another. This dictates a lot of organizational behavior, like:
a. how power and responsibilities are allocated
b. the balance of cooperation vs. competition,
c. individualism or group collaboration
d. the styles of leadership
e. ways of resolving conflicts
f. approaches to decision-making
For your current organization – or one you know very well – write a short description of each of its:
1. Artifacts (2 MC CPD Points)
2. Values (2 MC CPD Points)
3. Assumptions (2 MC CPD Points)
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– Understanding Organizations https://geni.us/oB774Do
– Images of Organization https://geni.us/hrOemEs
– Inside Organizations: 21 Ideas for Managers https://geni.us/YwwL
– Gods of Management: The Four Cultures of Leadership https://geni.us/bpPeC5
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