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Culture and Identity Essay

Words: 2420, Paragraphs: 19, Pages: 9

Paper type: Essay

CULTURE AND IDENTITY WORD COUNT: 2,241 28/11/13 Introduction Culture, this is a way that an individual attaches themselves to a certain community from which they are from, a way in which an individual is brought up based on what that community believes in; according to theorists culture is “the shared philosophies, ideologies, values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, attitudes and norms that knit a community together… ” Meek (1988, p. 57) when considering an organisation, the founder of that particular organisation is where the culture will be derived from, for example the Red Carnation Hotel’s culture is to make the guests feel hey are in their own home “home away from home” redcarnationhotels. com, (2012) this concept is embedded in all the RCH hotels. Identity is what an individual identifies themselves to be, for example depending on where they work or their state in which they find themselves in is what they will identify themselves to be.

Identity can be derived from the surroundings; it defines who that person is based on where the individual was brought up; TaJfel (1978) comments on ‘social identity and how an individual identifies themselves based on the ‘social group’ they belong to; In order or this to happen the in-groups of the organisation need to ‘reciprocate’ the corporate culture to the out-groups and allow ‘assimilation’ to take place in order for the culture to be embedded in the individual.

The essay will outline the positive and negative impacts that identity and corporate culture can cause to the hospitality industry if not incorporated correctly by the managers of the organizations, which can then cause a rejection of the culture and therefore affect an individual’s performance, which in the long run will affect the organisations performance when it omes to competition. Literature Review Corporate culture and worker identity have been said to share different values, after extensive research from other theorists it has been said that culture and identity are ‘meta-concepts’ Glenn (1991).

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Which suggest they work very closely with one another and that they are not all that different from one another; Hogg (2000) comments on how certain individuals derive their identity from the organisation, the corporate culture of the organisation is what an individual will identify themselves to be based on the values and beliefs of the corporate culture. In this essay the discussion will focus upon the complexity of corporate culture and worker identity.

The way in which or discontinuous change, this is also because many theorists “have sought to further identify and elaborate the theoretical constructs that underpin the concept in order to develop a more comprehensive theory of culture in organisations” Ogbonna and Harris (2000, p. 33) this is to better serve the individuals who want to adapt the culture of the organisation to their own, but in order for that to happen they need to understand what the culture is.

Culture cannot be defined in one particular way it has different attributes and meanings depending on what context it is used. For example Hofstead (1991, ed. 1994) defines the diversity and complexity of culture using the ‘onion diagram’ which illustrates the different stages of culture and how when applied to an organisation the different practices can affect both the organisation and the individual.

Managers therefore play a vital part in implementing the culture to the individuals, Cameron et al (1999) says in order for culture to be embedded in an individual managers need to reciprocate the ndividual’s occupation to that of the organisational culture in this way managers need to have the ability to ‘confer identity; for example aiding a chef to find similarities between their culture and that of the organisation.

The purpose here is to identify that every organisation has a culture and this culture is what sets them apart in the competing market, in order for the culture to be used as a tool to compete with other organisations that are competing in the same sector the culture has to be embedded in every individual that is part of that particular organisation.

This is because when there is a sense of unitary the organisation can function in an effect way and be able to meet or exceed its goals. Although when it comes to the hospitality industry there is always friction because of the different ‘out-groups’ for example chef culture is one of the ‘out-groups’ in the hospitality industry that has its own culture and deeply rooted values which in many cases will be different from the organisation.

The passionate nature of the chef needs to be taken into consideration; because they perceive themselves to be artists therefore it is difficult for the rganisation to dictate the type of art that should be used that will fall in line with the culture of the organisation. Discussion There have been a number of theorists that over the years try and explain culture, for example Ogbonna (1993) in one of his papers questions whether or not culture is manageable.

This however depends on the organisation that is being discussed and depending on the study it will differ from other definitions of culture; for example the culture of a motor company will differ to that of a hospitality company, he then comments on the concept of Smircich’s (1983) theory of perceiving culture as ‘is’ and has’ “when viewed as something an organisation has, culture becomes a powerful organisational tool. It shapes behaviour, gives organisational members a sense of identity…. “Ogbonna (1993, p. 14) This suggests that culture in this concept is manageable because there is room to adapt and individuals can identify themselves with the culture and therefore can easily ‘affiliate’ to the organisational culture; for example when considering a chef in the hospitality industry, its best to say a chef when given the opportunity they can identify similarities in the organisation and be he in-group and out-group processes because the out-groups will be able to identify themselves with the culture of the in-group, this is because there is room for change and amendments, in doing so the in-group puts processes in place with which the out-groups through ‘amalgamation’ can adapt to in an incremental way. When it comes to describing culture ‘is’ the organisation Smircich (1983) suggest that this is not an ideal organisation in terms of implementing strategies or improvements. Ogbonna (1993) also says if culture ‘is’ the organisation then there is not a lot of room o debate or give suggestions; innovation cannot be implemented in this type of ‘phenomenon’ because of how deeply rooted the culture is.

This suggest that the out- groups of the organisation have no choice but to adhere to the culture, in this type of organisation there is an expectancy of rejection of the culture thus implementing a discontinues change in the company, this will also affect the performance of the organisation and won’t be able to compete with other organisation that are competing in the same sector. When looking at the roots of the organisation Hofstede (1991 , ed. 1994) ‘onion diagram’ best describes culture ‘is’ the organisation. This is because when viewing an onion it has many layers, there is no way of getting to the core of the onion without peeling off the outer layers, unless you cut it in the middle. When applying this concept to an organisation whereby culture ‘is’ the organisation, it suggests how deeply rooted the culture is. The culture cannot be penetrated because of how deeply rooted it is.

If for example changes had to be made to the organisation for example the out-groups of the organisation wanted to e innovative, that would be nearly impossible because if the out-groups innovation does not fall in line with the corporate culture of the organisation it will cause a disruption, and the innovation will be rejected. This is dangerous for an organisation because in order to stay in the competing market the organisation has be innovative; it’s also dangerous in the competitive market because the strategies can be copied by other competing markets, therefore the organisation will not have any competitive advantage in the market and in an economic downturn it will not be able to survive. In the case of culture ‘is’ the organisation it is best to use a reciprocal strategy between the in-groups and the out groups. Cameron et al, (1999, p. 225) comments on the fact that “a reciprocal and adversarial relationship between occupation and organisation culture… is very much needed and it is the duty of the managers to implement this strategy this is also because managers are in the best position to incorporate this strategy to unify the organisation. Before the strategy is implemented there needs to be an understanding that culture and identity are two meta-concepts’; a chef is in itself an identity and a culture. The question is how a manager reciprocates a chef into the organisational culture. Turner (1982) suggests a way in which ‘reciprocation’ can happen, he says in order for an individual to associate themselves with the organisation that individual needs to stop perceiving themselves from a ‘self-perception’ and perceive themselves from a ‘group- perception’.

Another way is ‘Self-categorization’ this is a way in which a chef needs to affiliate with the organisational culture; furthermore the chef will be able to see imilarities between the organisational culture and its own which will then lead to the chef not thinking of himself as an individual but rather thinking as a group or as group’ of the company which has a different culture but instead they will share the same culture as the ‘in-group’ in so doing the process of ‘depersonalisation’ takes place. This is the way in which chefs of an organisation assimilates themselves to the ‘in-group’ ‘prototype’ and thus begin to share the same culture as the organisation. Not only does culture play a major role in the organisation so does identity, which rings us back to the point made earlier that culture and identity should be viewed as ‘meta-concepts’ this is because culture can be viewed as an individual’s identity; this is because when referring to a person’s culture it is the same as referring to their identity.

When it comes to an organisation many theorists comment on the fact that individuals need to assimilate to the organisations culture, part of the reason this needs to happen is because in simple terms the individual is in need of the Job because at that particular moment the Job is what is paying for that individual’s eing. Another reason is that in hospitality there is a lot of competition when acquiring a Job therefore individuals need to be highly skilled and also multi-skilled which increases their probability of getting employed. In rare cases where the individual does not assimilate to the organisation’s culture is where the organisation is in need of that individual because of the skills that come with that individual, for example a Michelin chef would be an example of this.

The reason being if the organisation wants to have a competitive advantage in the market the Michelin chef s very much needed in that organisation because of what that particular chef will contribute to the entire organisation. Conclusion In conclusion culture and identity are two concepts that are very complex and diverse, in that they need to be treated with delicacy. Both ‘meta-concepts’ of the other which means are very similar to one another, there cannot be reference to culture without thinking of identity, in some cases that can happen for example when the culture ‘is’ the organisation in this case it is the culture that is considered more than identity.

Whereas when an organisation ‘has’ a culture this is when the two oncepts work together because changes can be made to the organisation based on an identity for example having a Michelin chef changes the culture from a regular restaurant toa Michelin restaurant based on the identity of the individual. In order for the organisation to work as one unit or to become unitary, the in-groups need to ‘reciprocate’ the out-groups to the corporate culture. In doing so this not only builds a strong organisation but it makes the organisation work simultaneously, thus increasing its capability in the competitive market. When it comes to the values and eliefs of the organisation that have been rooted deep within the corporate culture, this in a way can help the organisation in terms of competing in the competitive market, however it can only be effective in a case whereby it cannot be copied by another organisation.

A prime example of this can be The Ritz Carlton hotel, compared to other five star hotels its one of the major hotels that does extremely well in the competitive market and has been doing so for a long time. At the end of the day theorist have tried to give a definition of the word culture and they each have not ound a meaning to it because depending on what context culture is used the meaning automatically changes, it is safe to say that culture and identity is to do with origin and from that can we apply it to different contexts to try and find its definition collected. References Journal articles Cameron, D. , Gore, J. , Desombre, T. , et al – An examination of the reciprocal affects of occupation culture and organisation culture: the case of chefs in hotels. n International Journal of Hospitality Management (1999) Glenn, S. S. , 1991. Contingencies and metacontingencies: Relations among behavioural, cultural and iological evolution. In: Lamal, P. (Ed. ), Behavioural Analysis of Societies and Cultural Practices. Hemisphere, London, pp. 39}71. Hogg, M. A. and Terry, J. D. – Social identity and self categorisation processes organizational contexts in Academy Management Review (2001) Hofstede, G. , 1991. ed. 1994. Cultures and Organizations. McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead, I-JK. Meek, L. M. , 1988. Organizational culture: origins and weaknesses. Organization Studies 9 (4), 453}473. Ogbonna, E. , 1992/93. Managing organisational culture: fantasy or reality?

Human resource Management 3 (2), 43}54 Ogbonna, E. , 1992/93. Managing organisational culture: fantasy or reality? Human resource Management 3 (2), 43}54 Smircich, L. , 1983. Concepts of culture and organizational analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly 28, 339}358. TaJfel, J. , 1978. Di! erentiation Between Social Groups. Academic Press, London. Turner, J. C. 1982. Towards a cognitive redefinition of the social group. In H. TaJfel (Ed. ), Social identity and inter- group relations: 15-40. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer- sity Press. Website Redcarnationhotels . (2012) . The RCH story. Retrieved from http:// www. redcarnationhotels. com/about-us/the-rch-story

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