Organizational culture is so ubiquitous that it affects all areas of group life. Though organizational culture is not always immediately obvious in organizations, its outcomes (e.g., turnover, morale, productivity) can be. Some workplaces require employees to wear business attire whereas others allow employees to dress casually. In some workplaces, formal address is used and in others, people use first names regardless of position. Both examples reflect organizational norms, or “the way we do things around here,” otherwise known as organizational culture. Organizational culture may be subtle yet pervasive and may have a profound effect on employee attitudes and behavior.
Organizational culture affects each of the levels of organizational assessment: individual, small group, large group, intergroup, and organization. As an organizational consultant or practitioner, it is beneficial to have a toolbox of assessments for organizational evaluation for each of these levels. By assessing organizational culture, practitioners and consultants can then develop evidence-based interventions to address the issues identified by the assessment and evaluation processes.
Consider how the information above may be applied to the Greenvale Correctional Facility case study that follows.
Greenvale Correctional Facility is a large, privately-owned, medium-security prison in the southeastern United States. The prison opened in 1988, and, until recently, it employed 300 security, operational, facilities, maintenance, healthcare, and administrative employees.
The prison’s salary and benefit structure are comparable to other prison systems around the country. However, Greenvale is currently experiencing significant attrition, creating an unsafe and unstable environment, both for the inmates and remaining employees. Staff has reduced from 300 to 210 employees during the last 6 months, and attempts to recruit and hire new staff have been challenging. Online recruitment, employee sourcing, and participation in various job fairs have not created a plentiful base of trained, experienced employment candidates, and efforts to retain existing personnel have been unsuccessful. Exit interview data point to leadership issues, and poor working conditions.
Prison leadership is comprised of Warden Bob Jones, who started at Greenvale when it first opened; Sergeant Dave Lee, the senior-level correctional leader with over 15 years of experience; and Officer Stan Phillips, a correctional manager who joined the leadership team in 2015. All three leaders work collaboratively, but they tend to remain siloed away from the other employees. All of the prison’s communications are top-down and authoritative; the leadership team believes this style is necessary given the work environment and inherent risks involved. While the team believes they are fostering a management-by-objectives culture, many employees feel excluded from the process and perceive more of an in-group/out-group mindset. Consequently, several recent attempts to implement new policies and procedures have met with resistance from the current employees.
- Review this week’s Learning Resources. Reflect on how organizational culture can be used to help assess and evaluate organizational needs, develop interventions for different levels, and implement change.
- Read and analyze the Greenvale Correctional Facility case. Greenvale is a large, privately-owned correctional facility facing staff-retention issues.
By Day 3
Post a response to the following:
Identify what you believe are Greenvale Correctional Facility’s key issues. Explain your assessment process and the factors you considered during your analysis. Be sure to include how organizational culture affects assessment in organizations.