Sari Yavuz KОRAY
Abstract. Any organization, community of which we are part, more or less consciously has some form of organization, a way of doing things, we all know these “unwritten rules.” Because it seems so complex, important, we are convinced that this concept of organizational culture is difficult to explain, understand and implement. In reality, organizational culture is a concept that is easy to understand and apply especially when it comes to public organizations that serve the citizen. This Article aims to identify these functions at the level of the Romanian public system and more precisely at the level of Romanian public organizations. In addition, consideration is given to how these functions are applied to public security organizations.
Keywоrds: оrganizatiоnal culture, functions, security organizations
In family, at school, in your group of friends, basketball team, football or any other sport you’ve practiced, you’ve been exposed to an organizational culture. Even if you didn’t call it that way. Each of these entities or communities had a special way of doing things. Someone was deciding what we were doing, we knew who had a role in the execution, how the actions were actually performed, or what you were punished or rewarded for, all of these things mean on a lower level, some kind of organizational culture.
In the analysis of an organization we talk about leadership, communication, procedures and structures, systems, reaction to change, stories and myths, rewards and sanctions and a few other elements defining culture. The existence of an organizational culture oriented toward long-term goals, uncertainty avoidance, masculine values, a perceived short distance from power, earning status based on merit, collective values and a sequential / monochronic approach to time are just some of the characteristics of organizational culture in the public system identified by previous studies in the field.
Hofstede defines “organizational culture” in analogy with the “national”; of the latter he states that it can be understood as “collective mental programming, whereby members of a group or category of people differ from others” (Hofstede, 1996, p. 208), and by analogy, the “culture of the organization” reflects “collective mental programming that distinguishes members of one organization from members of another” (Hofstede, 1996, p. 208). Mental programming or “mind software” is the way of thinking, feeling, or acting of individuals, just as software is the operating system (programming) of computers.
Although individuals are programed (or indoctrinated) through education, learning, and socialization, their behaviors are only partially predetermined by them; individuals have the native ability to deviate from their “software” and act in new, creative, destructive, or simply unexpected ways. (1996, pp. 20-21). Hofstede (1996) also emphasizes the role of culture to give members of the organization a certain assumed general identity, but also the conceptual framework through which they will perceive reality (through values, traditions, norms, etc.).
Public officials in these public institutions seem to share similar cultural values (or even organizational cultures), most likely influenced by the type of these (public) organizations or the fact that there is the possibility of developing sectoral cultures.
In the analysis of the external adaptation function of the organizational culture, the functions regarding:
a) organizational mission and strategy
b) the purpose of the organization
c) the means to be used to achieve the ends
d) measuring the performance of the organizational activity
e) correction and unanimous acceptance of the strategies
This Article aims to identify these functions at the level of the Romanian public system and more precisely at the level of Romanian public organizations. In addition, consideration is given to how these functions are applied to public security organizations.
UNDERSTANDING THE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
WITHIN THE ROMANIAN PUBLIC SYSTEM
A number of opinions on a possible definition of “organizational culture” can also be found in the Romanian literature. If the interest in this concept has gained worldwide reach, especially since 1980, Romanian authors are faced with a gap of about a decade, due to the limitations imposed by the communist doctrine and regime. It is hard to imagine a genuine interest in the true culture of an organization (when it comes to public institution) before 1989.
When referring to this shortcoming, in understanding organizations we must take into account the political / economic / administrative nature of the communist system (with emphasis on centralization, planning and politicization), the restriction of social sciences, the lack of modern management knowledge, the indoctrination of scientific literature and individuals with the values of communism.
After the fall of the communist regime, Romanian management specialists formulated their own definitions regarding the organizational culture. Mihaela Vlăsceanu analyzes this concept by referring to the meeting between the culture of the organization and that of the external environment. Culture is determined by the mission it has to fulfill and not by the Community in which it is accomplished, precisely through its own culture, the organization will transcend the Community.
If there is a clash between the values of the organization and those of the Community, the culture of the organization will triumph. If this does not happen, it means that the organization cannot fulfill its mission and therefore cannot make its own social contribution to the support of the Community and society, a contribution on which all its members depend.
Although the proposed definition contains certain original and novel elements, we cannot agree fully with it, whether we refer to public organizations or private organizations.
In the case of public organizations, the two cultures (internal and external) should work together for the social good, or if this is not possible, Community culture should prevail over organizational culture. Otherwise, a public organization foreign to the social framework in which it operates and the Community it serves is obtained. Even if it is not possible for every public institution to fit perfectly with the needs of the Community in which it operates, the imposition of its own culture will not be possible without adverse effects (such as attracting citizens’ resentment, creating a negative public image, deepening the distance between administration and citizen, etc.).
Marian Năstase defines organizational culture from the perspective of its components, its transmission and its importance: “organizational culture is the totality of the values, symbols, ceremonies, myths, attitudes and behaviors that are dominant in an organization, passed on to subsequent generations as the normal way of feeling, thinking and acting, and that have a determining influence on its results and evolution.”
For Nicolescu and Verboncu “organizational culture consists of the values, beliefs, aspirations, expectations and behaviors outlined over time in each organization, which predominate in its framework and which directly and indirectly condition its functionality and performance”. In this definition we can observe the temporal character of the organizational culture, but also its direct or indirect role in influencing the functioning of the organization and its effectiveness.
Amedeo Istocescu captures the complex and evolutionary character of culture: “A universe of ideas, life experiences, beliefs, traditions, customs, the institutions that support and promote them, the exact sciences, the arts, technologies, the humanities; in a common sense, it represents the concrete ways of achieving things that belong to the daily life of each individual within the community to which he belongs.”
Therefore, the analysis of organizational culture is a complex process consisting of several independent components; it is a phenomenon that constantly requires reconstruction and evolution. “Organizational culture is a way of business management that reflects the thinking of managers, ethical standards, the set of managerial policies, along with the traditions, attitudes, events and events a company has gone through. Part of an organization’s transformation also involves changes in organizational culture, a major aspect of an organization’s internal environment.”
Organizational culture is, in conclusion, the specific and unique imprint of the values, beliefs, traditions and behaviors of the people of an organization that determine its functioning and performance. For organizational culture, the defining elements are conscious and unconscious, rational and irrational, group and individual human elements.
THE IMPORTANCE AND FUNCTIONS OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
IN THE NATIONAL SECURITY COMPONENT
Beyond being just an approach to understanding the concept of organizational culture, this paper also aims to reveal its importance for organizations and society, as well as its role in creating a successful organization (private, public or non-governmental).
The values it promotes, the internal environment it creates, and how it determines the organization’s relationship with the external environment are the basic elements necessary to achieve the organization’s goals. A strong, positive culture (goal-oriented, promoting values such as understanding, innovation, collaboration) will create an effective organization, while a weak, negative culture (procedures-oriented, individualistic, closed) will prove to be a hindrance to the proper functioning of the organization and the achievement of its goals.
The culture of the organization directly influences the decisions and actions of leaders on an almost subconscious level (that of the basic assumptions) by suggesting the various ways of action supposed to be correct and appropriate to the context. Although hierarchical leaders or superiors have the task of building a culture that reflects the mission of the organization and ensures its success, they (like their subordinates) are influenced by the culture in all their activities, even in terms of the way they think or perceive reality. Referring to the importance of culture for mana-gement, managerial philosophies are deeply rooted in culture, and management practices and theories that have proven successful in one cultural context may fail when transferred to another without being adapted to it.
We believe that the success of an organization is not just about the existence of a strong culture, shared by all members of the group. A strong culture is beneficial for an organization’s efficiency and performance only if it promotes values and behaviors that are directly oriented toward this goal, positive values from a managerial point of view. The more such values an organization proposes, the greater its chances of achieving its goals and thriving, otherwise it risks more than acting inefficiently and risks not acting at all. Leaders have the duty and obligation to create, promote and maintain these values that are considered positive and desirable for the organization; in the case of public institutions they must be coordinated with the expectations of citizens and with the main purpose (of achieving the public good) that justifies the existence of an institution financed by taxpayers’ taxes.
The national security policy, the result of a process that falls within the constitutional powers of the President of Romania, is built on fundamental values and benchmarks, being the expression of the common national consensus and effort. In a dynamic, turbulent and unpredictable geopolitical context like today, we need to have an adapted and effective response to the risks, threats and vulnerabilities we face. The President of Romania promotes the national Defense Stategia, based on which national security organizations create and manage their organizational culture and embrace their values.
Figure 1. The external and internal functions of organizational culture
External strategy is crucial to the success or failure of a public organization, but the role of organizational culture in creating assumptions (fundamental values) that directly affect the internal environment and the performance of the organization should not be neglected. In the analysis of the external adaptation function of the organizational culture of public bodies responsible for security, we can identify the following five categories of presumptions:
Mission and strategy refers to achieving a common understanding of the organization’s core mission, tasks and functions; the core mission is often a “multi-functional complex – a set of strategic missions” that is not fully public to protect the public image of the organization.
Consensus on the “goals” derived from the mission is necessary because, although the mission (for example, solving the problems of the citizen) can be known to all members of the group, it remains an abstract one, which is not quantified; the lack of a common understanding of how this mission should be carried out can lead to serious conflicts within the group.
The “means” that will be used to achieve the goals refer to the members’ daily behavior and require a high degree of consensus and acceptance from indi-viduals. These means may refer both to the actual patterns after which the members of the group act, and to internal elements such as the granting of status or their identity. By agreeing on the means used to achieve the goals, a series of behavioral patterns and most artifacts are created that will then be recognized as visible manifestations of the culture.
“Measurement” of performance and activities refers to establishing a common understanding of the results to be measured and the means by which this operation is carried out. The methods of measuring the activities and results of the organization, the criteria by which it is carried out and the communication channels developed in this process become the central elements of the culture, and their clear knowledge will allow the members of the organization to act according to the requirements and expectations thus created.
The “correction” or unanimous acceptance of strategies and means that can be used if goals or mission are not achieved can only be activated following a process of measuring the organization’s activity and performance. The answer offered in these situations offers the opportunity to create new cultural elements and reveals hidden aspects of the culture, ignored or unaware. Once agreement is reached on how to respond to such situations, members of the organization can act to remedy the defects and restore the organization to the right track.
In the last 30 years, Romania has evolved greatly through the individual and joint action of its citizens. Romania has achieved national objectives essential for internal development and strengthening its position on the external level: Integration into NATO and the European Union. On numerous occasions, Romanians have affirmed their attachment to the defense of the rule of law and democracy, the independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption, their attachment to involvement in the public space, an indication of the development of a participatory political culture.
Public policies in the field of national security will be designed and implemented with the citizen as the final beneficiary, but from having a strategic objective and implementing a modern organizational culture in the public system is a long way. Therefore, Romanian public organizations face a huge challenge, namely to be able to identify the mission and organizational values, modern Euro-Atlantic values. In addition to having to identify them, managers of national defense organizations must be able to implement them, thus creating a culture of values to be embraced by all national security and defense employees.
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