Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Well versed in etiquette (Queen)

What are the key ingredients of organisational culture?

The following diagram outlines some of the key ingredients that make up the organisational culture.

Everything begins with the core values, philosophy and ideology. These intangibles influence the symbolic outward expressions, which in turn have a number of effects on the school. This is not an exclusively one way process, as the diagram shows.

The intangibles are influenced by National values and priorities. The new priority purpose of school boards – enshrined in the Education Act (amendment 2012) – that a school board will be required to perform its functions and to exercise its powers in ‘such a way as to ensure that every student at the school is able to attain his or her highest possible standard in educational achievement’ is a case in point. This sets the emphasis directly on academic achievement.

The following definition of culture seems to sum up many of the threads and will be used during my inquiry of Woodford House's organisational culture:

Culture is ‘that system of shared meanings, cognitions, symbols, and experiences which are expressed in the behaviours and practices of the members of an affiliated group (a ‘tribe’) and which give them both social definition and a sense of association’ (Beare, Caldwell, Millikan, Creating an excellent school, 1989)

In broad terms school culture is most clearly seen in a variety of tangible contexts:
  • The ways people relate to and work together
  • The management of the school’s structures
  • The systems within the school
  • The physical environment

Features of a strong culture:
  •        A strong relationship between the intangible, foundation elements and the tangible manifestations.
  •     Gaps between espoused values, philosophy and ideology and the actual manifestations and practices may result in a weak culture.

A strong culture has
  •        Shared values via ceremonies and rituals
  •      Widely shared beliefs reflected in distinctive practices or rituals bind the culture
  •      Situational heroes or heroines who represent core values
  •     Rituals for ‘acculturation’ and cultural renewal
  •     Widespread participation in rituals

No comments: