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The correlation between organisational culture and security - Essay Example

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Organisational culture, defined as "A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems (Schein,1992, p.12), has a far reaching impact on the role and structure of the macro-security environment…
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Download file to see previous pages The extent to which organisational culture determines nature and perceptions of the security environment is both of practical relevance and theoretical interest. A highly typical scenario exists when choices about security have to be made by the management as an opportunity cost principle (Fennelly, 2003, p.364).
The primacy and immediacy of such choices lie in the fleeting background of real and perceived threat perceptions by the organisation. Thus organisational culture converges on the logical premise that hidden threats to its own existence could be physical and real or/and perceived and unreal. The extent to which these conceptualisations will determine the response of the organisation depends on the organisational culture. When organisational culture is based on "a set of shared values and beliefs among a community or people", then perceptions about security and threats become more formidable because such perceptions acquire a larger dimension in the organisational context, including a costs versus benefits evaluation (MacCrie, 2007, p.230). Above all organisational culture is a theoretical construct with implications for the security of the organisation beyond the definable limits.
Organisational culture presupposes a pattern of behavioural tendencies on the part of both internal and external stakeholders (Driskill and Brenton, 2005, p.12). Mutually beneficial behaviours and a system of corresponding rights and obligations presume that the organisation progresses through a complex network of sub-cultures that seamlessly integrate into a value-centric system. Internal and external relationships that exist at each level and layer, are presumably influenced by the quality and quantum of communications. This in turn has an impact on the organisation's security perceptions. An analogous situation exists in group relations where groups of individuals bound by their own internal rules, rights and obligations will still seek to establish contacts with others. At the individual organisational level this behaviour is subject to a renewed concern for security and an ever increasing awareness of threats. As Schein puts it, "Culture is an abstraction, yet the forces that are created in social and organisational situations that derive from culture are powerful" (Schein, 2004, p.3).
Mullins, on the other hand, states that an organisation pursues its goals based on an underlying ideology or philosophy, based on beliefs, values and attitudes. Within the organisation, culture is a pervasive influence over people's behaviour and actions, and reflects in the performance of work - what is not acceptable and what behaviours and actions are encouraged and discouraged. It can also include traditions, values, beliefs and attitudes (Mullins, 2007, p.531). Mullins places emphasis on the objectivity of culture influence and also attributes some ideological characteristics to it.

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