Common values and competitiveness within a corporate culture and performance model

Meyer, Abel Hermanus (2001-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The utilisation of human capital and its impact on organisational performance must rank as one of the key managerial concerns III South Africa. The message from international competitive studies is clear: corporations become competitive when people and practices change. The global market has exposed the lack of competitive strength and effectiveness of South African corporations. Against this background, managing complex organisations in the private and public sector remains a daunting, pervasive and urgent task. By focusing on issues of organisational behaviour and global competitiveness, the study aims to contribute to the development of competitive (effective) corporations in South Africa. It is important to keep in mind that the present investigation was an exploratory study attempting to add to the body of knowledge about competitiveness. It aimed to enhance existing studies on global competitiveness and organisational effectiveness and open up possibilities for new management strategies and interventions as well as further research. In particular, it builds on previous work on the impact of organisational behaviour on performance. An extremely important development in the study of corporate culture has been proof that that the normative structure (corporate culture) has a significant impact on the performance of an organisation. Because of this impact, corporate culture has to be regarded as one of the key success factors in any corporation. Corporate culture is however no end in itself, but must be regarded as a hermeneutical key (interpretative) to corporate performance. The success of the corporation takes precedence over all other aspects of the organisation, even over its culture. The framework of corporate culture and competitiveness links patterns of behaviour and management practices with underlying assumptions, beliefs and values. It provides a clear description of the integrative mechanisms and dimensions of corporate culture and the way in which they impact on competitiveness. These behavioural factors are key determinants of organisational performance because of the close link between patterns of behaviour and underlying core values and beliefs. The model also defines the elements (people, change, projects, control) that need to be managed, as well as the traits (adaptability and innovation, mission, involvement, consistency) of the culture which determines the performance of the corporation. In terms of the corporate culture and competitiveness framework, the management activity of developing a set of common or core values is therefore a good starting point for any culture intervention strategy aimed at enhancing competitiveness (performance). A shared system of beliefs, values and symbols widely understood by an organisation's members has a positive impact on their ability to reach consensus and carry out coordinated actions. This impact, as well as the nature of the culture of the corporation has to be understood by everybody in the organisation. It also has to assist them in making sense of corporate life in such a manner that it creates opportunities for everyone to impact on the performance of the corporation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die bestuur van menslike hulpbronne en die impak daarvan op organisatoriese prestasie is een van die kern bestuursvraagstukke in Suid-Afrika. Die internasionale boodskap oor mededingendheid is duidelik. Organisasies se mededingendheid verander wanneer mense en praktyke verander. Oor die algemeen vaar Suid-Afrikaanse organisasies redelik swak in die internasional mark weens 'n gebrek aan kompeterendheid en effektiwiteit. Dit is duidelik dat in hierdie lig, die bestuur van komplekse organisasies 'n uitdagende ontwykende maar dringende uitdaging aan bestuur is. Deur op organisatoriese gedrag en internasionale kompeterendheid te fokus, poog die studie om 'n bydrae te maak tot die ontwikkeling van kompeterende (effektiewe) organisasies in Suid-Afrika. Dit is belangrik om in gedagte te hou dat die studie van ondersoekende aard was en om daardeur verdere insig in kompeterendheid te verkry. Dit poog om by bestaande studies oor internasionale kompeterendheid en organisatoriese doeltreffendheid aan te sluit ten einde nuwe bestuursintervensies en strategië te ontwikkel en terselfdertyd rigting vir verdere navorsing aan te dui. Dit bou in besonder op vorige studies oor die impak van organisatoriese gedrag op doeltreffendheid. 'n Belangrike ontiwkkeling in die studie van korporatiewe kultuur was die bevinding dat die normatiewe struktuur (korporatiewe kultuur) 'n insiggewende impak op die prestasie van organisasies het. As gevolg van hierdie verhouding, moet korporatiewe kultuur as een van die sleutel sukses faktore in enige organisasie beskou word. Korporatiewe kultuur bly egter altyd slegs 'n middel tot die bereiking van doelwitte en nooit as die doel self nie. Dit moet daarom beskou word as 'n hermeneutiese (verklarende) sleutel tot organisatoriese doeltreffendheid. Die prestasie van enige organisasie moet voorkeur geniet bo all ander aspekte van die organisasie, selfs die korporatiewe kultuur. Die raamwerk van korporatiewe kultuur en doeltreffendheid verklaar die interaksie tussen die onderafdelings van kultuur en die organisasie se doeltreffendheid. Die aannames, oortuigings en waardesisteme van 'n organisasie vorm die basis van 'n stel bestuurspraktyke en gedragspatrone. Hierdie gedragspatrone is sleutelfaktore tot organisasie doeltreffendheid as gevolg van die noue verband tussen die gedrag en die onderliggende waardesisteem. Die raamwerk identifiseer die elemente (mense, verandering, projekte en kontrole) as die elemente wat bestuur moet word, sowel as vier meganismes (betrokkenheid, aanpasbaarheid en vernuwing/innovasie, konsekwentheid en doelgerigtheid/rigtingaanwysing) van kultuur wat die doeltreffendheid van die organisasie bepaal. Korporatiewe kultuurintervensie strategië, gemik op prestasieverbetering, behoort in terme van die korporatiewe kultuur en doeltreffendheidsraamwerk by die ontwikkeling van 'n stel gedeelde of kernwaardes te begin. 'n Gedeelde sisteem van oortuiginge, waardes en simbole wat deur alle lede van die organisasie verstaan en aanvaar word, sal 'n sterk en positiewe uitwerking op die vermoë om konsensus en gekoordineerde optrede te bereik, hê. Hierdie uitwerking asook die aard van die kultuur van die organisasie moet deur almal in die organisasie verstaan word. Dit moet hulle ook in staat stel om die organisasie se keuse van prioriteite te verstaan en daardeur geleenthede vir almal te skep om 'n impak op die doeltreffendheid van die organisasie te hê.

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