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An Organizational Culture Perspective on Role Emergence and Role Enactment (Management Project)

Organizational culture has received ample attention both in the popular and scholarly press as an important factor predicting organizational effectiveness by inducing employees to behave effectively. The assertion that culture leads to behavior, however, has received only limited empirical support.

The purpose of this study is to explicate the impact of organizational culture on employees’ roles and subsequent role behaviors. I propose that four types of cultures (clan, entrepreneurial, market and hierarchy) exert different and at times competing pressures, thus, creating distinct role schemas regarding the range of expected employee behaviors, which in turn, guide distinct forms of employee role behavior (e.g. helping, innovation, achievement and compliance).

In addition, I examine boundary conditions on the relationships between culture and role perceptions and role perceptions and behavior. I propose that in the process of role emergence, culture strength as an organizational level characteristic, cognitive self-monitoring, and perceived person-organization (P-O) fit influence the degree to which individuals interpret and incorporate the organizational culture’s norms as part of their roles at work. I also suggest that culture strength, behavioral self-monitoring as well as P-O fit have an impact on the extent to which employees enact the expected organizational work roles. Data from about hundred different organizations were collected to test the proposed relationships.

The empirical results provide support for most of the proposed relationships between culture and employee roles, thereby validating the role of culture in establishing what is expected and valued at work. In addition, culture strength had moderating effect on the linkages between culture and employee roles for two of the culture dimensions (clan and hierarchical). Surprisingly, self-monitoring (cognitive) had a significant moderating effect but in a direction different from the predicted. Perceived fit moderated the relationship between market culture and helping role. Innovative role exhibited a negative significant relationship with compliant behavior while market strength intensified the negative relationship between achievement role and helping behavior. Thus, the results lend some support to the overall framework. Implications for theory and practice, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
Source: University of Maryland
Author: Marinova, Sophia

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