Company Culture

Posted: May 27, 2008 in Disney, Organizational Behavior
Tags: , , ,

So I will probably be writing quite a few posts from my Organizational Behavior class because I find it valuable information to any career path I follow in the future. Today we talked about culture and how organizations create and transmit culture. Organizational Culture is “the set of shared, taken for granted, implicit assumptions that a group holds and that determines how it perceives, thinks about, and reacts to its various environments.” This culture which is shared and instilled through several layers and especially passed on through process of socialization, influences peoples behaviors drastically! Today I am going to be looking at Layers of Organizational Culture and I will be using Disney.. of course.. for most of my examples.

Layers of Organizational Culture

Observable Artifacts
These are the most visible aspects of an organizations culture. Some of these include acronyms, awards, manner of dress, myths and stories about the organization, values, rituals, decorations etc. as well as the visible behaviors exhibited by people and groups.  These are also generally how the public views your organization before ever stepping foot inside it. Disney’s is fairly visible! Everything the guest sees is a show, hence the reason their employees are generally called “Cast Members”. Disney also offers great incentives for these employees such as service awards, park tickets, discounts, learning opportunities and numerous others. Also, Disney employees are always seen as happy and courtesy to the guest as this is one of Disney’s strongest values.

Espoused Values
Basically formal values that the company prefers and sets for its self. Disney for example, has several values that are clearly stated such as striving to follow a high standard of excellence, provide entertainment experiences for all generations to share, creating timeless and engaging stories that delight and inspire and a strong tradition of innovation (hey, the first animated film, animitronics, multi-plane camera, 3D animation etc.)….. However, these values do not always represent the actual, or Enacted, values of an organization. Generally employees (and guests) set these values to what they actually observe. In the case of Disney however, most if not all of their Espoused Values also carry over to their Enacted Values. One such case of these not aligning would be if a company has signs promoting trust among employees, but then searches everyone when they enter and leave the building.

Basic Assumptions
These are the core of organizational culture and often unobservable. For instance, Disney’s mission is to provide quality entertainment for people around the world. If for some reason Top Management began straying away from this core mission, employees and guests alike would be completely shocked!

All of Disney’s Culture and Value information can be found HERE

Sorry for the lengths of these posts, but this is something I am really interested in and hopefully others will be also!

Tomorrow I will write about functions of organizational culture and how companies can embed these cultures in their organizations.


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