South-Western - Management  
Is Your Company Two-Faced?
Topic Internal Environment and Culture
Key Words Corporate culture, communication
InfoTrac Reference A112799811
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News Story

When companies give inconsistent messages to their employees, it does not go unnoticed. This can increase turnover, as well as hasten decisions by investors to sell a stock because management is not perceived to be following its own messages. Conflicting messages may also create distrust and cynicism, a factor in helping employees to justify actions like embezzlement. Experts say that cultural inconsistencies may cause employees to doubt higher-ups and be less inclined to give their best efforts.

One reason for cultural inconsistencies may be that culture is hard to define, meaning different things to different people. Local managers provide a vital link in the culture chain between employees and top management. They most directly affect the tone, values, and operating principles of a department. To have cultural consistency it is important that managers are not treated differently than their employees.

Employers have several ways to determine if their company has cultural inconsistency:

  1. cultural assessment instruments
  2. organizational surveys
  3. 360 degree feedback
To ensure cultural consistency, employers should:
  1. do a "cultural fit assessment" to determine if a potential employee's belief system meshes with your company
  2. use surveys to ask candidates to describe their style, then compare the answers to the company's style patterns
  3. conduct a cultural fit interview
  4. pair new hires with employees who have a good attitude

Questions
1.

Define the term "cultural inconsistency." Name three ways it could negatively impact a company.

2.

How might 360 degree feedback identify cultural inconsistency?

3.

If you were conducting a cultural fit interview, what are 5 questions you might ask a prospective employee?

Source "Is Your Company Two-Faced?" HR Magazine, Jan. 2004, p. 42.
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