An observable artifact is the physical manifestation of an organization’s culture. Examples of these artifacts include acronyms, manner of dress, awards, myths and stories told about the organization, published lists of values, observable rituals and ceremonies, special parking spaces, decorations and so on (Kreitner ; Kinicki, 2010, p. 65). The most obvious physical manifestation of Cisco’s culture is their use of cross functional teams, councils and boards to enhance innovation and collaboration which can expedite decision making. According to CEO John Chambers, the benefits of this team oriented management systems are skill, speed, and flexibility (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010, p. 89).
According to Cisco’s website their culture is one that is fun, open, innovative, collaborative, built on teamwork, inclusive, and one of giving back to the community. The website’s published lists of values are collaboration, customers, employees and community (cisco.com). Espoused values are the explicitly stated values and norms that are preferred by an organization. They are generally established by the founder of a new or small company and by the top management team in a larger organization (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010, p. 66).
Cisco’s culture places value on collaboration through teamwork and compensates staff based on this premise. Communication and collaboration are at the heart of Cisco’s working environment. They promote flexible, cross-functional teams that work together to enhance business opportunities. A good example of this practice is given in the case study. Senior VP Manny Rave is a member of a nine-person council that Cisco created to replace its chief development officer in 2007. Seventy percent of Ravel’s compensation is based on the councils’ ability to meet revenue targets and collaborate.
According to Cisco’s website, Cisco values and fosters diversity, development, and growth opportunities for staff through employee networks. These networks join employees to help reinforce the value of all aspects of each member’s personality. Valuing the differences in each person increases individual and team performance, productivity, and satisfaction. Cisco believes that engaged, talented and motivated people are critical to their success and they inspire employees to feel that their work is more than just a job. Management communicates the company’s long term strategy and aligns employees with Cisco’s r vision to change the way people work, live, play and learn (cisco.com).
Cisco’s culture is one that values collaboration, customers, employees and community (cisco.com). Basic assumptions are unobservable and represent the core of organizational culture. They constitute organizational values that have become so taken for granted over time that they become assumptions that guide organizational behavior. They are highly resistant to change. When basic assumptions are widely held amongst employees, behavior that is contrary to these values would be inconceivable. For example, Southwest Airlines operates on the basic assumption that employee welfare and customer needs are a priority. If management were to act contrary to these basic assumptions, employees at Southwest would be shocked (Kreitner ; Kinicki, 2010, p. 68).
Basic assumptions about Cisco are its approach to decision making through collaboration and teamwork, the compensation system based on collaboration and teamwork, the value it places on its employees, customers and community and the open, inclusive, trusting, and innovative culture it encompasses (cisco.com). Use the Competing Values Framework to diagnose Cisco’s culture. To what extent does it possess characteristics associated with clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy cultures? Discuss.
The Competing Values Framework (CVF) provides a practical way for management to understand measure and change organizational culture. It was originally designed by a team of researchers who were trying to classify different ways to assess organizational effectiveness. This research showed that measures of organizational effectiveness vary along two fundamental dimensions or axes. One axis pertains to whether an organizational focuses its attention and efforts on internal dynamics and employees or outward toward its external environment and its customers and shareholders.
The second is concerned with an organizations preference for flexibility and discretion or control and stability. Combining these two axes creates four types of organizational culture that are based on different core values and different sets of criteria for accessing organizational effectiveness. It is important to note than organizations can possess characteristics associated with each culture type, however, organizations tend to have one type of culture that is more dominant than the others (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010, p. 71).
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