An organization may be defined as a social arrangement which seeks to attain collective goals through the control of its own performance, but with a clearly defined boundary that stipulates its operations. In the social sciences, the study of organizations is integrated into various disciplines such as sociology, psychology, economics, organizational communication, management and political science. The broadest area in the study of organizations is normally referred to as organizational studies, organization analysis or organizational behavior. As such, the study of organizations involves the analysis of different organizational perspectives and theories (Black, 2003).
Organizational culture may be defined as a pattern of fundamental assumptions that are invented, developed or discovered by an organization as it tries to cope up with the crises that emerge from the external environment and its own internal integration. Organizational cultures differ significantly from one organization to another and they are a source of competitive advantage to any organization. They are developed through factors such as the history of an organization, through nurturing a sense of unity among the members of the organization, through promoting a sense of ownership in the members towards the organization, and promoting the idea of exchange among the members.
On the other hand, organizational socialization may be defined as a process that seeks to promote and perpetuate an organizational culture. It is the process through which newcomers within an organization come to learn about their assigned roles and the required behaviors so as to become effective and team players within the organization. Despite the fact that there is a lot of research work on organizational socialization, very little attention has been directed to the process of socialization and its usefulness in assessing the organizational process. It is also important to note that no empirical study has ever been carried out to examine the effectiveness of socialization within an organization. Theoretical paperwork has associated the effectiveness of the socialization process with individual success and favorable organizational outcomes. Nevertheless, this relationship has not been empirically investigated (Phegan, 2000).
The theoretical framework of organizational socialization suggests that it is strongly related to organizational culture. This is particularly true when the socialization process emphasizes on well stipulated rules, roles, values and routines; and if it is reinforced with both intrinsic and extrinsic systems of reward in addition to the conditioning experiences. An organization that exhibits a strong culture and a well defined socialization process is likely to bring forth participant behavior that is very compatible with its values and objectives. This paper looks at the organizational culture of the Microsoft Company in relation to IBM (International Business Machines), a multinational corporation that deals with computers, technology and IT consultation, whose headquarters is located in New York, USA. It also examines the roles of technology, tradition and environment in the Microsoft Company and the impacts that an organizational change might bring to its employees and management.
The IBM and Microsoft are probably two of the most well-known companies in the entire world. This example seeks to explain the organizational culture of the Microsoft Company which it adopted in the 1980’s after its main competitor, IBM used a terrible culture that made it fall and become stagnant thereafter. During that period, the Microsoft Company was a moderately established company that earned a lot of revenue but definitely not the same as what it earns today. On the other hand, IBM was boasting of its huge market share of more than 80% of the entire market. At that period of time, the IBM Corporation invested so much money and time in a software system called OS/2 that was meant to grasp the whole market. However, this did not come to be. IBM made a mistake of distributing this software without testing it and unfortunately, the software became memory heavy and not as functional as it was thought to be. The Microsoft Company took advantage of this situation and took over the market from IBM (Black, 2003).
The mistake that IBM made was its failure to analyze its corporate culture. The corporation had reached a point where it believed on a terrible culture that everything it was doing was right. Meanwhile, the entire organizational culture of the Microsoft Company was not based on bureaucracy but on getting things done well. The result is that it produced better products from then henceforth and thus increasing its market share.
As IBM got entwined with more and more programming and bureaucracy, the Microsoft Company concentrated on their corporate culture and produced products that were aimed at satisfying their customers’ needs. The result is that they completely became dominant in the computer market. With an increase in technology, Microsoft has continued to produce top quality products and thus attracting more and more customers. The socialization process within the Microsoft Company has also enabled its employees to stick to the company’s corporate culture of producing top quality products and thus attracting more and more customers. On the other hand, IBM encountered a series of problems which led to the tumbling of its stock such that it decided to hire an outsider to re-establish the company.
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Changing an organization’s culture might lead to the downfall of that company or to an augmented growth. If the change is successful, the company might as well reap from the merits of the new culture. However, if the change brings with it some setbacks, the company might fall as a result of its competitors taking advantage of its undoing. Changing an organization’s culture involves preparing the employees and training them adequately and this might be too expensive to the management of any organization (Phegan, 2003).
In conclusion, it is important to note that strong organizational cultures and socialization processes do not only provide mentoring and training programs which bring new talents into an organization but also, they produce employees who are much devoted to the organizational culture. Such employees help in transferring the organizational culture to new employees.