What is company culture
Organizations are very complex entities that require proper management so as to thrive in the competitive markets that they exist in. In order to gain competitive advantage, companies have to develop unique and commendable structures and modes of operations internally and externally. Other than putting all the emphasis on their clients, organizations are highly advised also to consider the working conditions of their employees. Having the employees’ interest at heart would mean that the companies have to come up with structures and policies that would benefit both parties. A firm’s culture and leadership are therefore very significant factors to be considered when determining the probable success or failure of a company.
The structure of a company is the essence of its life, and different organizations adopt different organizational cultures. To come up with an organizational culture, the members of the company have to create and share their sense of reality concerning the profitability of the firm. These shared opinions are then molded and integrated so as to come with a concrete mode of operation that is understood and adopted by the employees. Because of the varying cultures, different actions by members of different organizations are interpreted depending on the implemented culture.
Without sound leadership, an organization is bound to fail. Because of this, it is prudent for companies to note that as much as they have a good culture; lack of discipline can lead to failure. Discipline in a company is typically meant to be adopted by the employees as a sense of responsibility and also by their leaders as a sign of their authority. Leadership in an organization goes hand to hand with power and politics. With power, the leaders can compel the employees to do what pleases them. Depending on how the leaders opt to use their power, the employees can result in being resistant, committed or compliant to authority. Organizational politics, on the other hand, can be described as the activities done by an organization to gain, develop and use power to its advantage so as to gain control of uncertain situations.
This paper is going to discuss Funcover Limited, which is a UK-based Insurance company that has adopted a non-conventional mode of operation. The structure of the company and the general organizational culture shows that by implementing these non-conventional approaches in its operations, the company has won the hearts of some of the employees however has also disappointed some. Therefore, this discussion will critically look at the Funcover’s culture together with the aspects of politics and power that affect the organization.
Company culture examples
The existing literature has proposed several models and theories that can be used to evaluate organizational culture. Among these models, Harrison (1993) presented a theoretical model with the aim of evaluating organizational cultures. According to Harrison’s model (1993), the different dimensions of organizational culture orientation are evaluated within two modes which are centralization and formalization. The Harrison’s model (1993) divided organizational cultures into four distinct categories, namely power-oriented culture, achievement-oriented culture, support-oriented culture, and role-oriented culture.
Considering the mode of operation at Funcover, the company seems to have adopted the achievement-oriented culture. This is the organizational culture that aligns people behind a common purpose or vision. Looking at Funcover it is very evident that the company has not followed the conventional ways of marketing itself to the clients or operating in the office. The company has implemented rules and regulations that enable the staff to explore their potential and express their feelings in a manner that makes them appreciate their work and working environment. The management of this company has ensured that its entire staff is involved in decision making. Apart from the casual nature of handling business, Funcover has made sure that its employees are focused on attaining their set goals and purposes by giving them incentives such as the company shares. By being shareholders, the staff of Funcove” is forced to willingly work hard and diligently so as to raise the market share of the company. Adapting this culture has seen Funcover have a balance between the centrality and formality of power shared in the organization.
Having an achievement-oriented culture in the organization encourages the completion of tasks as a team rather than the elevation of individuals’ efforts. This is seen with the formation of groups within the firm so as they might come up with solutions to challenging issues. The culture adapted by Funcover has much emphasis on bringing people together to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Martin (2002) argues that organizational achievement structure in an organization can be equated to team orientation as a feature of organizational culture. Funcover relies on the feedback of their employees rather than on expert decisions made only by board members. The main objective of this culture adopted by Funcover is to integrate the right people so as to have a competitive advantage, an approach that has surely worked out for the good of the company. As suggested by Van Staden (2003) having teams working rather than individuals is a source of high flexibility, high commitment, and high performance in an organization due to the synergy created by a team’s coordinated efforts.
Despite the advantages that Funcover enjoys from the implementation of this culture, the achievement culture typically overshadows individual performances and other bright ideas. Sometimes teams tend to have biases on issues and end up overlooking the validity of contrary points. At Funcover some of the employees are dissatisfied with the policies being implemented despite them being made on teamwork basis. Being recognized as a team is good, but at times it engulfs a person’s abilities and ambitions. Being absorbed in such a working environment can make it quite hard for a person to excel in his or her personal standards.
Politics in a company
From its launch, Funcover has been wisely using its internal and external power and politics to firmly place itself in the insurance market. The company managed to come up with new sales and marketing strategies that saw them eliminate intermediaries in their chain of distribution of services. Using these new approaches has enabled the company to thrive in this industry. To win the hearts of its employees and gain power over them and their favor, this organization introduced social activities that made working for them enjoyable. The games and recreation activities ran by the Captain of Fun ensured that the employees are sometimes diverted from their routine work, hence are even more productive.
Considering Fairholm’s definition of organizational politics (2009), organizational politics is the manipulation of employees so as to get them to perform duties to the desires of the employer. Funcover is enticing its employees by awarding them with shares depending on their performance. However, these shares have attachments as they make the staff work for more years even when they opt to advance their careers in other organizations. By giving them the shares, the leaders of this organization manipulate their subordinates into working harder and become more productive. From the article, it is seen that through this power play, the staff are more motivated to evaluate the insurance claims hence reducing the number of wrong payments.
As much as the politics being played by Funcover can be favorable to some employees, they also affect others adversely. Some employees may need to move to other places of work but are still tied to Funcover because of the terms and conditions placed on them as both employees and shareholders. Vigoda-Gadot and Drory (2006) purports that politics in an organization is bound to increase turnover and reduce productivity and job satisfaction because of its attempt to influence the distribution of advantages or disadvantages in a company.
Funcover has managed to place itself well in the market since it has a competitive advantage over its competition. The competitive advantage enjoyed by this company is attributed to the adaptation of nonconventional organizational cultures together with dexterous power and politics tactics. Funcover has given its employees a lot of freedom in the workplace that they have a sense of belonging which motivates them greatly. The culture adopted by this company encourages teamwork and spirit that has helped in enhancing its productivity. By using the achievement-oriented culture Funcover has been able to encourage creativity among employees. The power and politics tactics employed in this organization though not appealing to all,are fantastic. It is hard to find employers who make its employees succeed by making them shareholders. In Funcover the management rewards excellence with a share of the company which seems to be a very fair approach. Other companies should consider employing such approaches since they benefit both the company and the employee.
Fairholm, G. (2009) Organizational Power Politics. California: Praeger.
Harrison, R. (1993). Diagnosing Organizational Culture. 1st ed. San Diego, CA: Pfeiffer & Co.
Martin, J. (2002). Organizational Culture. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
Van Staden, H. (2003). The Effect of Teamwork on the Individual. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications
Vigoda-Gadot, E. and Drory, A. (2006). Handbook of Organizational Politics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.