So often when we think of a company’s strategy, organizational culture is the missing puzzle piece. Instead, attention is focused on customers, competitors, and financial resources. The neglect of organizational culture is unfortunate since leaders are responsible for so many other demands, but an understanding of the organization’s culture and its potential for enabling a positive deviant strategy is important.
Organizational culture is the shared beliefs, principles, values, and assumptions that hape behaviour by building commitment, providing direction, establishing a collective identity, and creating a community. It manifests as the organization’s behaviour that has endured over time and allowed the organization to adapt to the environment. Therefore, culture is the glue that holds together an organization’s strategy and becomes institutionalized as members repeat patterns of successful behavior. The effectiveness of culture depends on its alignment with the organization’s environment, resources, values, and goals.
Moreover, it requires lea ders to understand how the culture can be a vehicle for creating positive deviance. Steve Jobs excels at aligning Apple’s culture with its strategy. Jobs has built a culture that is driven by a vision to make great products. Innovating is the dominant value of Apple’s culture. Employees are rewarded for experimenting, risk taking, and creativity. As Jobs describes in an interview, the challenge to innovate is a norm of Apple’s culture: It was a great challenge. Let’s make a great phone that we fall in love with.
And we’ve got the technology. We’ve got the miniaturization from the iPod. We’ve got the sophisticated operating system from Mac. Nobody had ever thought about putting operating systems as sophisticated as OS X inside a phone, so that was a real que stion. We had a big debate inside the company whether we could do that or not. And that was one where I had to adjudicate it and Just say, ‘We’re going to do it. Let’s try. ‘ The smartest software guys were saying they can do it, so let’s give them a shot. And they did. Going beneath the surface of Apple’s culture, Jobs has infused the quest for excellence as a mantra. Jobs has purposely created a culture where employees are encouraged to treat their work as a calling that is worthwhile and to pursue excell ence in their endeavors. Therefore, a large role for Jobs and his leadership teams is creating processes to recruit and socialize employees into Apple’s culture. When recruiting for Apple senior positions, Jobs contended that intelligence organisation culture.
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