A study of organizational culture in a business college using the competing values framework

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering


Organizational effectiveness within academia is an important area of study given the unique benefit institutions of higher education provide. Though many factors contribute to effectiveness, prior research has empirically tied organizational culture to effectiveness within academia. This study explores the current state and preferred future state cultures of an academic college within a research university, using the Competing Values Framework. Organizational culture and subcultures were measured using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, the results of which were explored in more depth using interviews to provide context. The findings revealed that the college has a non-congruent balanced clan and hierarchy type culture and that participants, on average, prefer to transition to a congruent balanced clan type culture by increasing the prevalence of clan and adhocracy characteristics and decreasing the prevalence of hierarchy characteristics. The college can make this shift by building on an existing friendly and caring attitude; bridging group separations by increasing trust, openness, and collaboration; moving away from a work-to-rule culture by creating more mutual support and focusing on student support; and by removing barriers to innovation and increasing the organization's ability to evolve. Though there was general agreement on desired cultural direction, the study also identified several subgroup differences among genders, roles, options, and seniority levels. From these insights, contextually-relevant intervention ideas were generated to support cultural shifts toward clan and adhocracy characteristics -- the two cultural types most associated with effectiveness within academia. The study demonstrates how a mixed methods approach to the Competing Values Framework can be usefully employed to understand cultural complexities within an academic context and support the effective management of the organization.




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