The Types of Organizational Culture

After reading Chapter 3 of “Organizations and Organizations”, I chose to write about organizational cultures as one of my concepts.  Organizational culture shows a “group’s shared values, attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, artifacts, and behaviors” (Tharp 2).  Organizational culture reflects a broad spectrum of internal and external relationships and “guides individual actions even to the extent that members are not even aware they are influenced by it” (Tharp 2).  Chester Barnard believed that organizational cultures should have “motivating power and purpose” and use structure and procedures so that they become infused with value (Scott and Davis 72).  Barnard also recognizes “the importance of organizational cultures shaped by zealous managers supplying strongly held values to members” (72).  Strong organizational cultures include good environments and open communication.  Organizational cultures should function to support the organization in implementing its goals.

Organization theory scholars recognize that organizational cultures directly correlate to the performance of an organization.  In studying various organizations, scholars have determined that, in general, there are four types of organizational culture types, including control, complete, collaborate, and create (Tharp 2). Continue reading

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Save your paperclips!

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When we became bloggers for this class, I’m sure many of us did not realize the power of the blogging world.  The internet community brings opportunities that I never really thought possible.  As I was stumbling around for a topic to write on this week, I came across the story of the “one red paperclip”.  Kyle MacDonald, a Canadian blogger, sought to use his blog to trade a single red paperclip for a house.  Yes, a HOUSE.  Through a series of online trades, MacDonald finally accomplished his mission. MacDonald’s trading began on July 12, 2005 and ended exactly one year and fourteen trades later on July 12, 2006.

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Kenneth Lay: Dead or Alive?

Kenneth Lay was the founder and CEO of the Enron Corporation.  After receiving numerous awards for excellence, Lay was found to have been at the head of one of the largest corporate scandals in history.  But what did ever happen to Kenneth Lay after the collapse of one of America’s largest companies?  Many people aren’t quite sure.

Lay was indicted by a grand jury on July 7, 2004 for 11 counts of securities fraud and other charges.  Lay was eventually found guilty on 10 counts on May 25, 2006 and was scheduled to be sentenced to between 20 and 30 years in prison in October of that year.  During this time gap, Lay went on a vacation in Aspen with his wife and died of a heart attack on July 7th of that year…or did he?

Following the announced death of Ken Lay, people all over the country have had trouble accepting his fate.  A crop of conspiracy theories have surfaced in the years following the end of his life.  One theory in particular assumes that Lay escaped the country during his Aspen trip.  The theorist finds it highly suspicous that then current Secretary of State Colin Powell was treated in the same hospital Lay died the prior day for altitude sickness.  They believe Powell brought Lay a passport and IDs to flee the country. 

Others have chosen to question the autopsy and hospital reports and cite them as evidence to prove Lay is still alive while others wonder if Lay is dead but not from a heart attack.  Perhaps Lay poisoned himself? Or the government intervened? 

Whatever the case, if you see Lay in your local grocery story, you can report your sightings! Ken Lay is quickly becoming the new Elvis.

Doesn’t everyone love Dot?

Dot proved to be a very helpful source for me.  I met with her earlier this week in order to refine where I should search for information on my paper.  I had been having trouble finding information on the idea of the lovable fool versus the competent jerk and Dot steered me in the right direction so that I would have better outlets to look for information. Continue reading

The Rise and Demise of Competent Jerks at Enron

I am particularly interested in the power dynamics that occurred at Enron.  Enron was a formal organization.  Power in formal organizations is determined by the design of the organization: certain power is attached to positions, which becomes available to any individual who fills that position.  Enron’s top executives all assumed these powerful positions but the dynamics between the group seemed to reflect the theories of power in informal groups. Continue reading

12 zeros gone and Zimbabwe continues to struggle

Winner of Best of International Week (Week 6 of Blog)

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Zimbabwe, home to one of the seven wonders of the world Victoria Falls, is a country in turmoil recently in the news battling an inflation crisis.  The country just recently slashed 12 zeros from its currency to fight hyperinflation! Zimbabwe began as part of the British colony, Rhodesia.  From the 1930s to the 1960s, Black opposition to the colonial presence began to grow forming two African groups , the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).   In 1965, Ian Smith, a British Rhodesian Front party man, signed the Unilateral Declaration of Independence which declared Rhodesia separate and independent from the U.K., which the U.K. would not fully recognize.  The Rhodesian Front party fought for white minority rule which further angered the Black majority.

The ZAPU and ZANU did not stand for this type of governance of their nation and began guerilla war tactics to fight back.  After much violence and negotiation, ZANU finally won British-supervised elections in 1980.  Robert Mugabe (ZANU) stepped into the role as prime minister with ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo in his cabinet.  On April 18, 1980, Zimbabwe gained international recognition.

The celebration does not last long as Mugabe kicked Nkomo out of his cabinet on suspect of him trying to overthrow the government.  Guerilla warfare broke out yet again killing thousands in the country.  In an attempt to stop the deaths, Mugabe and  Nkomo reconciled and merged their parties to form Zanu-PF in 1987.

Zimbabwe continued in this manner until 1998 when the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) stepped in to urge action on the rising interest rates and inflation that began to occur in the country.  This crisis sparks support for the  ZCTU and further spurs the Movement for Democratic Change.  At this time, the World Bank and IMF, who provided aid for the people of Zimbabwe, suspended funding over disagreements in government policies and despite increasing economic hardships, companies closing, and national hunger, the World Bank had not yet returned providing aid in May 2009.

According to the World Bank, “[t]he lending program in Zimbabwe is inactive due to arrears. The Bank’s role here is now limited to technical assistance and analytical work focusing on macroeconomic policy, food security issues, social sector expenditures, social service delivery mechanisms and HIV/AIDS.”

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Until the right conditions are met in Zimbabwe, the World Bank cannot continue its lending program there and aid must be channeled through NGOs.  The World Bank also states “[r]e-engagement (a resumption of lending) with the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must be preceded by the government developing a credible economic development program, building consensus and support nationally for the program, demonstrating sustained progress in implementing reforms and clearing debt arrears to international financial institutions.”

With such an unsecure government, however, how can Zimbabwe develop the credible development program the World Bank requires in order to regain their support?  Zimbabwe has been struggling for years at stabilizing the country—will the World Bank’s hold on the lending program really give them the push they need to change?

World Cup 2010: Dream or Disaster?

Development and Dreams: The Urban Legacy of the 2010 Football World Cup discusses the probable consequences of having the World Cup in South Africa this summer.  The authors of this book, Udesh Pillay, Richard Tomlinson, and Orli Bass, are a nice mix of a social development specialist, professor in urban planning, and professional in African race and identity.

This World Cup will be the first one ever to be hosted in Africa in a rather unstable region for an event of this magnitude.  Having the World Cup in South Africa is expected to have effects on “the economy of South Africa and its cities, on infrastructure development, and on the projection of African culture and indentity” (Development and Dreams).  The book is said to cover “debates over venue selection, investment in infrastructure, tourism, and fan-park sites” as well as covering “the less tangible hopes, dreams and aspirations associated with the World Cup” (Development and Dreams).  Development and Dreams begins with South Africa securing the World Cup hosting position for 2010 and goes on to cover the probable aftermath years later.

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