Volltext: Organisational culture

This paper seeks to both define culture, from an organisational perspective, and then compare and 
contrast organisational culture across two different countries. This comparison will take into the key 
components that define culture at the national level and within organisations and considers two very 
different countries — Australia and the European microstate of Liechtenstein. 
Whilst not the sole determinant of organisational performance, organisational culture can influence 
the performance of organisations in terms of the value they deliver, the engagement and stability of 
their workforce and the end customer experience (Alvesson, 2002). This paper, by analyzing the 
literature related to organisational culture, seeks to build a greater level of understanding about the 
drivers of effective organisational cultures, across two distinct national identities and geographic 
Setting the context — a comparison of two different countries 
Australia and Liechtenstein are very different countries. Australia is geographically large and culturally 
diverse whereas Liechtenstein has an ethno-nationalistic culture built arounds its monarchy and 
distinct identity within Europe (Beattie, 2004). Australia has significant regional presence and national 
Defence interests whilst Liechtenstein has no military forces at all (Sara, 2017). However both enjoy 
high standards of living (Beattie, 2004) (Smith, 2017) and both have similar views of foreign policy 
matters and strong bilateral ties (Bishop, 2017). 
Undertaking a head to head comparison on any series of common attributes of nations demonstrates 
the stark differences between these two states. These differences are illustrated in Appendix 1. 
For reference, included at Appendix 2 is a map of central Europe showing the location of 
Liechtenstein and its near neighbours — Switzerland, Austria and Germany. 
Defining organisational culture 
Based on a review of the literature, there are several ways in which culture can be defined. Schein 
(1985) considered that culture was made of three dimensions or elements which are assumptions, 
values and artefacts (Schein, 1985). The table below, adapted from Schein's work, further explains 
these elements of organisational culture: 
Table 1 - Explaining the elements of organisational culture 
Element: Description: 
Assumptions Commonly held beliefs, attitudes or biases 
Eg: "This is how we do things here" 
Values The defined attributes of an organisation 
Eg: "Resilient, Responsive, Customer Focused" 
Artefacts The rituals, traditions and key messages that are evident 
within an organisation 
Eg: "Parades and drill within the Military" 
Derived from (Schein, 1985) 
An alternative model for describing organisational culture is based on the work of Handy which is 
based on four types of culture — Power (power vested with the leaders), Task (organisations focused 
on solving problems), Person (a focus on the individual) and Role (where accountability is vested in 
specific roles) (Cacciattolo, 2014). The types of organisational culture are also considered by Douglas 
Organisational Culture — a contrast between Australia and Liechtenstein Page 3 


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