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The Importance of Organizational Culture

Discuss about the Foster Information Security Culture In Organization.

Organizational culture is a set form of behavior that is followed by employees of an organization. Each and every organization has their own set of behaviors. It is very important for an organization to define a positive culture as it has the ability to influence whether the company will succeed or not (Gordon, 2017). Cultures that are positive reflect in the perfomance of an organization.  Organizational culture is a way of giving the employees a sense of direction so that they know how exactly to behave while working for the company. Culture distinguishes one organization from the other and therefore no two organizations can have the same type of work culture. Culture is the identity of an organization (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2015). This paper will look at organizational culture and then apply it in the context of British Airways. The importance of organizational culture and the components of a great culture will also be analysed.  The paper further looks at the current British Airways culture and gives recommendations on how the company can make its culture a better one. It also looks at best practice at British Airways and what other organizations are able to learn from this company. It then concludes with a summary of all the previous discussions.

Organizational culture is important for many reasons. It dictates the way employees interact in their workplace. When a company has a culture that is positive, employees become motivated and they stay loyal to the organization (Samovar et al., 2014). Organizations with positive cultures tend to have high employee retention and very low turnover rates. Workplace culture is also importance since it enhances healthy competition among the employees. Each employee wants to stand out since they know they will get recognition and possible other perks. Healthy competition leads to a highly productive organization.

The culture of an organization is of high importance as it defines the way people behave and work. It represents the human resources policies which have been put in place to guide the employees while they are at work (Kvedaraviciene & Boguslauskas, 2015). Due to this, employees are able to know what they should do and consequences of not following the set down rules and procedures. This enables employees to be independent workers who do not need too much supervision as they work. Organizational culture makes a company stand out from the rest. A positive culture enables an organization to be known for the right reasons while a negative culture gives the company a bad reputation. It is therefore important that organizations develop cultures that will make them attract and retain top talent when it comes to recruiting employees. Organizational culture is also synonymous with brand image. Organizations which serve customers well and ensure that they are always putting the customer first are a reflection of the type of culture that has been developed overtime (Kreuz & Roberts, 2017). Organizations that receive constant complaints also reflect an underlying issue as it means the culture that has been developed is negative.

Components of a Great Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is vital as it enhances teamwork in the organizational setting. Since the employees are meant to follow a particular way of doing things, they end up being on a platform that is common. Togetherness enables employees to share ideas and work together for the better of the organization (Ting-Toomey, 2015). It also ensures that employees are treated equally and fairly and none of them will feel neglected. Having a common culture, especially in a multinational organization setting enables employee from different backgrounds to interact and work towards a common cause of productivity (Kraidy, 2017). It unites employees and no one will feel that they are being victimised because of their background, especially if they are from a minority group. Culture is therefore important as it gels the organization together.

The cultural paradigm is the factors that represent the culture of an organization. An organization’s culture can be represented in a number of forms.  The first representation of organizational culture is the organizational structure that has been adopted. The organizational structure varies according to organizations (Gagliardi, 2017). A structure that is tall represents a rigid and strict culture since there is a lot of bureaucracy and there is no freedom within the company. An organization with a flat structure represents a friendly and positive environment, which is depicted through team work, free communication and open door policies.

Cultural paradigm is also represented by an organization’s power structures. Power can be used both positively and negatively in any organisation. Some leaders use their power and position to intimate employees through their dictatorial styles (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2015). This is a representation of an oppressive culture where employees have to do as they are told without questioning. Leaders who use power positively influence employees the right way and this is represented by their democratic style. Such cultures are motivational to their employees.

Stories and symbols are another representation of cultural paradigm. Each organization has things like logos, visions and mottos which spell out the culture of an organization. Stories and symbols help one to know what kind of culture an organization has embraced. Among the cultural paradigms are also organizational processes (Luthans, Luthans & Luthans, 2015). Processes that are efficient and effective are a representation of an organized organizational culture. Processes that are complicated and have underlying issues are a representation of a company that is confused and lacks clear direction.

Current British Airways Culture and Recommendations for Improvement

Rituals and routines that are adopted by a company are also a sign of their culture. Different organizations have developed different rituals for their employees. Some organizations for example, emphasize on having meetings with ice breakers frequently so that the team is brought together (O'Neill, Beauvais & Scholl, 2016). This is a sign of an organization with team culture. In other organizations however, employees barely speak to one another and everyone is for themselves hence depicting an organization with a selfish culture.

Control systems another representation of cultural paradigm. An organization’s control systems are a depiction of the type of culture within the organization. An organization that has flexibility in terms of being able to bend a few rules for the sake of ensuring customer needs are met is good since it means they have a caring culture (Ahammad et al., 2016). An organisation which is very rigid and requires a lot of bureaucracy to do a simple thing is a depiction of a culture that lacks flexibility.

A great organizational culture has certain characteristics. The first one is that it is made up of core values. An organization with core values has guided ways of decision making. Values do not change even when the company changes its strategy and they are the core of the company. Frequently discussing values with staff helps them to internalise and live them out (Grant, 2016). A great culture focuses on bringing the team together. This is done through various activities like dress-ups, common lunch and parties. The company creates traditions that are practiced over the decades and this helps to define the culture.

Great organizational cultures are characterised by celebration of one another. Anyone who does a great job or achieves a certain milestone is praised and rewarded. It also means that the leadership encouraged their employees to perform well and celebrate great perfomance in an open manner. Recognition is done by peers, direct-reports and managers since people are free and open with one another (Burke, 2017). Organizations with great cultures are aware and concerned about the community around them hence engage in corporate social responsibility. Such organizations also ensure that whatever activities they carry out reflect sustainability goals and do not harm the community in any way.

Good communication is a reflection of great organizational culture. Communication in such companies is both formal and informal. There are frequent meetings and employees are not afraid of talking out any ideas or issues they may have with their peers and management. An organizational culture that is good is also reflected through caring. In such companies, whenever an employee may be going through a tough time or an even t of their life, the other colleagues show full support. There is also commitment to learning and employees are continuously learning either formally or informally (Hogan & Coote, 2014). Employees are encouraged to keep up with the happenings in the business environment.

Best Practices at British Airways

British Airways PLC is an air transport company that was formed in April 197. The company was owned by the state and became private in 1987. It has subsidiaries like the BA Flyer and Open Skies. The company’s headquarters are in London. The company has been using mergers and acquisitions as a strategy and recently it purchased L’Avion which was a French airline and named it open skies (Mills, 2017). It has also merged with Iberia and in 2011 with the Spanish Airlines to form the International Airlines Group. Each airline however went on operating with their initial names.

British Airways is an organization that has undergone a lot of transformations in terms of culture. The company had a very poor perfomance in the 1970s and 1980s. The organization had an old fleet of airlines and their journeys were very uncomfortable hence leading to the loss of customers (Moon, Uskul & Weick, 2018). There were also issues of punctuality and the productivity of the company was below par as compared to other airlines. All these were a reflection of the poor organizational culture that the company was suffering from. The company was also faced by several industrial disputes and the losses being recorded were very substantial. The staffs at the airline were also not happy and it was even worse than customer dissatisfaction. This had been proved  by a survey that was carried out by the International Airline Passengers Association. This body further indicated the airline as one that was to be avoided at all costs. The company’s culture was a very negative one hence leading to all these problems (Bolman & Deal, 2017). The leadership at the helm during this period did not seem to be doing enough to get the airline out of its mess. Further, they seemed not to focus on things like employee motivation or customer satisfaction hence depicting a company that was not operating on any values. These problems largely spoilt the reputation of the airline and customers therefore preferred to run away and use services of the competitors. The fact that the company was state owned was also a reflection that the state had a poor culture then and this was reflected in the way British Airways was run.

Despite undergoing turmoil in the previous years, by 1996 the company had reversed its trend. The leadership that had taken the helm in the past few years brought new strategies and focused on changing the organizational culture (Chan, 2015). Around the period of 1996 onwards, British Airways was considered to be the most profitable carrier in the world. Further to this, it was voted as one of the best companies to work for as numerous graduates wanted a place in the airline. A survey done in the year 2000 also shows that the company was the second most admired in Europe (Salama, 2016). All these changes were brought about as a result of changes in the company culture. The culture became a positive one and the staff totally changed their attitudes. There was also a shifted focus towards customer service and this enabled British Airways to re-establish itself in the industry and acquire a huge customer base.


As per observation, it is important to note that organizational culture can make or break an organization. British Airways was a company that had dismal perfomance for many years because of the poor organizational culture that led to poor attitudes within the company. This led to very negative effects and the company became synonymous with failure. As per the analysis of importance of having a positive culture, it is evident that the organization suffered because the culture was nowhere near positive (Coller, Mills & Mills, 2016). Culture is important as it leads to employees having one vision with the organization. In this case, employees’ goals were not aligned with the goals of British Airways. Another issue is that due to negative culture, there was no team work and everyone worked on their own (Karyda, 2017). This is evident since there were frequent delays by the airline and no one cared about what the customers felt. This simply means that there was no collaboration in terms of how work was done and the culture had definitely led to people not wanting to be a team.

It is also important to note that it is not easy to turn around the negative reputation that is brought about by a negative culture. British Airways struggled for very many years before it was able to turn around and make customers accept the same (Turner, 2017). The company was a picture of negativity and the cultural paradigms were also a reflection of this. This is a learning point for other organizations.

Another observation made is that since the turnaround, British Airways has really tried to maintain a positive culture and this has led to the company maintaining success over the years. A company with good culture has core values and the company has set core values which are instilled into the employees. The company has been re-inventing working methods and the focus is currently on creating a learning organisation and a high performing culture via their change programme (White, 2017). As previously covered, an organisation with a positive culture encourages employee learning and this is what British Airways are doing. The change programme was launched in 2012 and the company has been ensuring that employees are continuously trained so that they are up to industry standards. There is also a focus on perfomance and employees have been aligning their performance to the strategy of the organization. This programme has also enabled the employees to identify with the British Airways vision of being the world’s leading global premium airline. It has brought a positive effect since there is team work, which is one of the characteristics of an n organization that has a positive culture (Stuart, 2017). The team work has enabled the company to achieve collaboration between employees and this has seen customer service excellence and higher productivity being achieved.

An organisation with positive culture recognised and rewards employees. British Airways now has a programme where employees are recognised for their perfomance or innovation and talent is greatly rewarded. This has led to positive attitudes among staff as they feel motivated to become great achievers. Further to this, the company has met another characteristic of positive culture by ensuring that the environment is cared for and communities are supported through various initiatives.

British Airways has redesigned its structure to accommodate better governance and leadership. Leaders are a great influence on organizational culture and they are the best ambassadors of ensuring that an organization has a positive culture. Th leadership of the company has been a positive influence to the employees. They have brought about change by encouraging and motivating staff. This has led to positive attitudes and staff caring about one another. Due to this, the organizational environment has become a very positive one and employees are happy working for the organisation, Due to this, British Airways has been able to maintain a large number of employees for many years and turnover rate has been low.


In conclusion, organizational culture should be taken very seriously by companies since it can lead to failure or success. Having a positive culture is good and it makes work easier for everyone since things run smoothly in the organisation. Managers should focus on ensuring that values are established and instilled in employees. They should also lead by example in terms of ensuring that they always show positivity and encourage the employees to thrive. The leadership should also look at factors such as culture paradigms so that they can come up with symbols and behaviors that will depict the uniqueness of the organization. This will make the employees proud of being associated with the organization. The company should also have unique events that will set them apart. Just as one can see from the analysis of British Airways, an organization that has a negative culture can also turn around and become a world class organization. So long as the leaders embrace a positive attitude, it is possible to make a turnaround and enable the organization embrace a positive culture.


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