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An Analysis of the Culture of an Organization - Essay Example

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This report defines an organization, and culture, and then focuses on the analyses of +organizational culture. This process will employ Schein’s analytical model in examining the organizational culture of Medecins Sans Frontier’s (MSF)…
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An Analysis of the Culture of an Organization
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Download file to see previous pages An organization is a social unit of people that is structured and managed to meet a need or to pursue collective goals. All organizations have a management structure that determines relationships between different activities and the members and assigns roles and responsibilities to actualize different tasks. Since time immemorial, human beings had to organize the activities that were paramount to their survival. According to Hatch (4), as organizations evolve and become more dynamic, coping systems and methods of how to manage change continue to be refined. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) is a renowned, independent international non-governmental organization that responds to emergency humanitarian situations by delivering emergency aid to people afflicted by natural or man made catastrophes, armed conflict, epidemics, and healthcare exclusion.This organization combines medical, charitable, witnessing or (temoignage) and advocacy in a unique way. Since its inception in 1971, MSF has grown from a small, charismatic lobby group into a large institution comprising of 19 sections, and 25,000 staff members, 20 presidents, 20 directors, and more than 200 board members. It operates in not less than 77 countries, with 365 projects. Culture The term culture encompasses the primary values, attitudes and regulations that make a society what it is. A community’s customs, the self-image of its people and the attributes that distinguish it from other societies are its culture. Culture is strongly personal and mirrors the meanings that are naturally linked to situations, and the solutions, that resolve common problems. Schein (1985) argues that culture includes the fundamental assumptions that any given group of individuals have formulated or gained while learning to deal with its issues of exterior or internal adjustment and can be considered suitable enough to be imparted to new members as the acceptable way to perceive and react to these problems. Since an organization comprises of people from different backgrounds and exists in an environment, certain behaviors emerge consequently forming the culture of that organization. At the same time, an organization can define or create its own culture based on its circumstances and endeavors. Furthermore, people enter organizations from the surrounding community and bring their culture with them. It is still possible for organizations to have cultures of their own, as they possess the paradoxical quality of being both ‘part’ of and ‘apart’ from society. They are embedded in the wider societal context but they are also communities of their own with distinct rules and values. MSF includes a work force recruited from all over the world that blend well to breed a unique culture. The fact that MSF offers its assistance worldwide, it encounters people with a wide range of cultures causing it to align itself with different cultures to enable it integrate and achieve its purpose. At the same time, MSF is not alone in the field of international non-governmental organizations. Despite this background, MSF is envied for its ability to remain steadfastly independent. Organizational Culture Schein (1992) defines the culture of a group or organization as a model of shared basic statements the group acquires as it works out its dilemma of external adaptation and internal integration, which has worked well enough to be adapted and entrenched as the blueprint and accepted mode of socialization within an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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