The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Can Britain Have a Payrise?: The Live DebateWednesday, 24th August 2016 20:00 - BBC TwoOne hundred workers representing all levels of pay face each other in a studio to try and work out whether Britain... Read more: Can Britain Have a Payrise?: The Live Debate
Full Steam Ahead: Episode fourAvailable until Thursday, 22nd September 2016 01:15This episode focuses on the most famous locomotive in the world, the Flying Scotsman as well as the railways'... Read more: Full Steam Ahead: Episode four
Jorge Luis Borges: A short reading list"My father's library has been the chief event in my life...the truth is that I have never emerged... Read more: Jorge Luis Borges: A short reading list
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
Fundamentals of accountingLearn about the essential numerical and double-entry skills required for accounting. This free... Try: Fundamentals of accounting now
Start writing fictionHave you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course,... Try: Start writing fiction now
We know that culture guides the way people behave in society as a whole. But culture also plays a key role in organisations, which have their own unique set of values, beliefs and ways of doing business. This free course, Business organisations and their environments: Culture, explores the concepts of national and organisational culture and the factors that influence both.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- identify some fundamental dimensions of national and organisational culture
- differentiate between various national and organisational cultures
- discuss ways in which culture influences organisational environments
- critically apply theories on culture to organisations and the environments in which they operate
- demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which organisational culture affects how organisations deal with diversity and complexity.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Overview
- 2 Culture
- 3 Perceptions and views
- 4 Geert Hofstede
- 5 Conclusions
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Business organisations and their environments: Culture
In very broad terms, ‘culture’ refers to the prevailing norms and values which guide the way people behave in a society or in an organisation. Culture at the level of an organisation is referred to as organisational culture, and culture at the level of a society is referred to as national culture.
Organisational culture refers to an organisation's own values, beliefs and learned ways of doing business. This is reflected in its structure and in the people who work in the organisation. The culture of an organisation is derived from its aims and purpose, its past, its present and its current ways of managing its people and resources. Because every organisation is unique in terms of these features, each will have a culture that is unique. Analysis of culture is important within an organisation because, as we will see in this course, it impacts on everything the organisation does. But very often these values and beliefs are not explicit and people take them for granted. This ‘taken-for-grantedness’ is what frequently makes culture problematic in organisations. People assume that everyone views things in the same way. But as you will see as you work through this course, nothing could be further from the truth.
National culture, in turn, is the culture that exists outside the organisation at the level of a society or country. National culture is made up of the societal values and belief system of a country and is influenced by several factors, including its languages, religions, gender roles, age profiles of its population, socio-economic groups and government policy.
The aim of this course is to look at aspects of both national culture and organisational culture. As you will see, these are closely related to each other.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from an Open University course
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 27th July 2011
Last updated on: Thursday, 11th February 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (1 MB)
- PDF (1.9 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (6.7 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (825 KB)
- Kindle (305 KB)
- RSS (194 KB)
- HTML (6.6 MB)
- SCORM (6.6 MB)
- OUXML Package (25 KB)
- OUXML File (79 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
- Moodle backup (7.4 MB)
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.