This week as we continue to explore the concept of organizational culture and systems, we start to explore the different dimensions of culture. We specifically looked at the typologies and profiles of culture. We learned that one way to approach to exploring organizational culture is through cultural surveys. Our text this week provides an overview of the benefits and challenges that are associated with cultural surveys or assessments. Our objective this week is to assess how the outlined approaches for cultural surveys can be used to assess organizational culture, while thinking through the challenges and ethical barriers related to the analysis.
I will demonstrate my learning this week by conducting a high-level cultural analysis of the Chicago police department. For the purpose of this assignment I choose to observe the 2nd district police station. The 2nd district is located at 5101 S Wentworth Ave in the inner city of Chicago. My observation included a visual analysis of the physical dwelling, an observation of personnel, and any signs, artifacts, and written policies I was able to see. In this paper I will share my 1 hour observation of the 2nd district and discuss the indicators of their organizational culture. I will conclude by discussing the typologies and elements of culture discussed this week and analyze how they apply to the 2nd district police station.
Schein’s Organizational Culture Model
Schein relates his concept of organizational culture is a phenomenon that represents historical creation, development, managed values and beliefs. Schein approach to defining what culture really is starts with an analysis and using his three levels of culture. Schein divides his analysis using three levels to reach cultural understanding of an organization. Schein’s levels include, 1. Artifacts 2. Espoused Beliefs and Values 3. Basic Underlining Assumptions. Artifacts speak to what we see about an organization, this might include how the organization is visually represented. Espoused Beliefs and Values identities the mission and main purpose of the organization, this might include their philosophy and goals for accomplishing their mission. Basic Assumptions refer to those deeply rooted values that represent the culture but have fallen off unconsciously (Schein & Schein, 2017).
The 2nd District Police Station- A First Look Using Artifacts
According to Schein, artifacts provide a surface level indication about the organizational culture. Using what you see, hear and feel when observing the organization can give you a sense of their underlining assumptions. Schein suggests observing the physical space, any emotional displays and outward appearance of personal (Schein & Schein, 2017). During my process of observing the 2nd district police station, I was defiantly able to gain a sense of the culture and underlining assumption. My observations included the building structure, entrance and the 2nd district lobby. Due to restricted access I was only able to see down a hallway past the front counter and office space behind the counter within the lobby.
The outward appearance was very neutral in color with a beige color pallet. I also took note to two flags hanging in front, the American flag and a city of Chicago/CPD related flag. Upon entering the building my fist observation included a wall of professional photos of fallen police officers who were killed in the line of duty, lining the left side of the entrance. The next thing that caught my attention was the front counter, with four computers sitting directly on top. Directly above the counter was a hand drawn sign that read “God Bless CPD”, written in red marker. I noticed police officers working behind the counter, they all wore uniform style shirts that were light blue and dark blue pants. On each shirt was an actual star shaped badge or picture of a badge with a badge number within the star. Some of the offices wore bullet proof vests and some wore hats which also include a start on the front.
Immediately to the left of the front counter was an employee entrance that led to other parts of the building. My view beyond that point was limited to a wall, with looked to display wanted posters and memos that I could make out. Lining the walls of the hall way were additional memos, posters and announcements that I couldn’t get close enough to make out. Directly behind the employee entrance was a set of elevators. Right next to the elevators was a huge special memorial with a huge red cross, a red heart, flowers, plants and a picture of an office named Samuel Jimenez. On the right side of the memorial was, what looked to be a time clock that accompanied some type of memos on the wall. Other observations included minimal interaction between personal, a big blue recycling bin for used pharmaceuticals sitting in the lobby and the slogan “Protect and Serve noted on borders, display stickers and posters throughout the lobby.
CPD 2nd District-Espoused Beliefs and Values
Schein relates that espoused beliefs and values are driven from individuals values that influence organizational behavioral practices. These values and practices develop define the culture for the organization (Schein & Schein, 2017). My observations of the 2nd district implies that this organization’s core values are centered on professionalism, honor, and a commitment to the mission and courage to take on the dangers of the job. I would also suggest that the organization promotes unity, family and the upmost support for one another.
One of the major artifacts that stood out for me, was the organization’s display of religious beliefs, the 2nd district made it very clear that they seek a higher power as a source of comfort. It seems that when the organization is faced with tragedy and challenges they look to God and religious beliefs to recover from these challenges. Schein contends that espoused beliefs or moral ethical rules serve as a guide for how to deal with uncontrollable difficult events (Schein & Schein, 2017).
CPS 2nd District-Basic Underlining Assumptions
Schein conveys that culture is derived from accumulated shared learning. This learning is observed practices among groups that result in established norms and adopted values within organizations (Schein & Schein, 2017). One of the main underlining assumptions that was observed during my visit to the 2nd district police station speaks to the respect and attention the organizations displays for their fellow fallen officers. The message of unity was evident through their display of support and visual representation though out the space. Another underlining assumption that was conveyed during my observation, included organizational branding.
The CPD branding was represented from the outside throughout the whole building and worn on the personal uniforms. I can image that the cultural branding is a common practice and has become a practice within the organization. I would assume that personal might not think too much about the CPD symbols they wear, it problem has become second nature for them. I meaning behind the star and CPD representation has deeper meaning that deeper meaning speaks to my observations within the 2nd district.
This week we continued to explore the concept of organizational culture and systems, by discovering the different dimensions of culture. Our take away this week is every culture is unique in their own way. We examined the typologies and profiles of culture and also learned how organizational culture can be analyzed through the use of cultural surveys. Using the survey approach we explored the benefits and challenges that are associated with the use of cultural surveys or assessments. Our objective this week was to assess how these outlined approaches while thinking through the challenges and ethical barriers related to the analysis.
In this paper I have demonstrated my learning by conducting a high-level cultural analysis of the 2nd district Chicago police department. I shared my observation by including a visual analysis of the physical dwelling, an observation of personnel, visual signs, artifacts, and written policies I was able to see. My 1 hour observation also included the indicators of their organizational culture. I concluded this paper by discussing the typologies and elements of culture discussed this week and analyzed how they apply to the 2nd district police station.
- Schein, E. H., & Schein, P. (2017). Organizational Culture and Leadership (5th Edition ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.