Organizational Behavior – Dominant Cultures and Subcultures

Published December 24, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair

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There is quite a distinguishable contrast in the dynamics between a dominant culture and a subculture atmosphere in both work settings and in society. The dominant culture in an organization demonstrates a shared value at its core. A socially responsible and ethical company with policies that affect the entire organization is an example of a dominant culture in a work setting. In an organizational context, the subculture refers to a group within the organization who share common problems, situations and experiences (Baack, 2012). A subculture within an organization, for instance, would be a group of scientists in a pharmaceutical organization. They have different needs and perform different functions from that of staff members who operate in an administrative position. The scientists represent a specific group within the organization. In order to accommodate their needs to perform their duties effectively, an individual in a managerial position needs to identify the symbols, language, and jargon within each culture to avoid social dramas that may affect the organizational life.


Sulzbach, Germany

I toured extensively as a performing artist throughout Europe so we established a part time residency in Germany as a central European home base. Although their youth is more fluent in English, the majority of local residents in our small village were not. To assimilate into the culture, we did the following: (a) learned to speak their language to enhance the communication process; (b) learned their customs to avoid insulting the locals; (c) familiarized ourselves with the local culture to integrate with the citizens; and (d) familiarized ourselves with regional laws to ensure we were not in any violation. Germany enforces strict environmental laws. Their precise recycling policies have consequences with severe penalties if not adhered. In addition, the culture is predominantly of the Catholic Religion. It is quite common for churches to chime their bells early each morning regardless of one’s beliefs. Our efforts to identify the local customs and communicate in their natural tongue gave us intrinsic satisfaction during our residency in a foreign country.

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational Behavior. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

4 comments on “Organizational Behavior – Dominant Cultures and Subcultures

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