Organizational Culture and Nursing Institutes

Afza.Malik GDA

Organizational Culture and Nursing Institutes

Organizational Culture,Importance of Organizational Culture and Importance for Nursing,Importance of Organizational Culture and Importance for Nursing,Responsibilities of Nursing Leaders and Managers or Supervisors,Present Age and Organizational Culture.

Organizational Culture

    An organization's culture is understood by shared beliefs, norms, values, policies, work group rules, shared meanings, expectations, and myths. Organizational culture is often used interchangeably with organizational climate (Sleutel, 2000). Reichers and Schneider (1990) traced the development of these two unique concepts. Organizational climate (the older term, traceable to the 1930s) is the group's perceptions about the organization, whereas organizational culture (dating to the 1970s) is determined by the message inherent in the organization which gives shared meaning. Strength of the culture refers to the consistency of the message/meaning found when examining norms, values, etc. For example, the strength of the research culture in hospitals was determined by a survey that looked for evidence on mission, goals, policies, and activities (Martin, P., 1993). The organizational culture is an important part of nurses' work environment and has been shown to influence the worker, the work, and the outcomes of the work.

Organizational Culture and nursing Care

    The work of Coeling has done most to show the utility of the concept “organizational culture” in nursing. In her 1988 article with Wilcox, she showed how to not only understand the work group's culture, but how knowing the culture should inform management decision making (Coeling & Wilcox, 1988). How culture can impede or be a catalyst for change has been the primary focus of her work (Coeling & Simms, 1993). This body of research stressed the importance of understanding that culture for both the staff nurses and their leadership when implementing change. The work showed not how one must fit into a prevailing culture, but how understanding organizational culture can assist in innovations and other positive changes needed for the good of the work group. Coeling asserted that organizational culture is important to inform plans for moving the organization both in new directions and more efficiently and effectively along the same path.

Importance of Organizational Culture and Importance for Nursing

    Organizational culture is important to assess before a nurse accepts a position or before a nurse manager selects a new employee (Barowsky, 2003, Dowd, Davidhizar, & Giger, 1999). All these authors address “fit” between new employee and the new work group. Employers are looking for indications of shared values and compatible goals; The nurse seeking a position is looking for similar matches. Consistency of message in values and verifying interpretations can lead to the right match from both manager and employee perspectives.

Responsibilities of Nursing Leaders and Managers or Supervisors

    The leader/manager/supervisor has an important responsibility in developing the most appropriate organizational culture (Bruhn, 2001). The leader is in the best position to know the values and group rules necessary for the work important to the organization as a whole. Consistency among workers and in the work towards the organization's mission and goals can be orchestrated through work policies, rewards, and structure. Communication is a critical means of establishing and maintaining the most appropriate culture. A leader may need to change an undesirable work culture, one that contradicts or fights with the organization's mission and goals (Baker, C., Beglinger, King, Salyards, & Thompson, 2000). Crow and Hartman (2002) demonstrated how important it is for the leader to understand, use, and, if necessary, systematically change the culture in order to execute the work and attain the outcomes expected by the organization.

    The relevance of organizational culture to outcomes has been a major topic in research, professional, and management journals the last 10 years (Larson, 2002; McDaniel & Stumpf, 1993). Sometimes the concept “organizational culture” is unnamed, but the research demonstrated that policies and practices which could be conceptualized as organizational culture provide a pronounced effect on outcomes. The outcomes identified include worker retention, quality/nature of the work, success in strategic initiatives, productivity, and quality of the outcomes. Some of these outcomes are direct, and others are indirect. What is clear is that organizational culture and the consistency of the message about key values and priorities is an important and may be the most important responsibility of the administrative/management team. While culture may be a major factor in dysfunction, it can be revised or revived with dramatic positive results.

Present Age and Organizational Culture

    The state of research currently is hampered by the limited availability of empirical tools to measure organizational culture that have good psychometric properties. Anthropology, from which the concept of culture was adopted, uses qualitative research approaches. This qualitative tradition has appropriately followed the concept into the discipline of nursing and organizational research; however, the research to a large degree often omits or does not report the accepted qualitative rigor. A quantitative approach may better link the phenomenon of organizational culture to outcomes in a causal way, clarifying the nature of the relationship. Whether organizational culture is a phenomenon that can be appropriately captured quantitatively could be debated. Because of the promise organizational culture shows for guiding both the practicing nurse and nurse managers/administrators in their interface with the work setting, the concept continues to call for more research to explain how the environment can best be managed to support excellence in practice and quality outcomes.


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