II. 1. Conceptual remarks
Studies on organizational culture are not only very recent,
but also relatively few in number. As for the field of organizational
culture, there are even fewer studies.
Organizational culture, as a term, comes from the anthropologic
culture concept, taken as an entire set of values, beliefs, norms and
social behaviors of individuals and groups, as a system of cultural
consensus (ways of thinking and being), that serve as base for various
specific expressions. Most definitions of organizational culture include
basic culture elements, without presenting major differences in fundamental
Organizational culture was given numerous definitions.
- Symbols, celebrations and myths expressing
basic values and beliefs of an organization and its members (W. Ouchi).
- Beliefs shared by managers of an
organization (J. Lorsch).
- Traditions and beliefs of an organization
that differentiate it from other organizations and provide it with
stability (H. Mintzberg).
- A pattern of beliefs and expectations shared
by the organization personnel, norms that describe their behavior.
(H. Schwartz, S. Davies).
- The philosophies, ideologies, values, beliefs, assumptions,
expectations, attitudes and norms shared by the organization personnel.
We consider the definition presented by E. Schein to be
the most precise and comprehensive one: “a number of solutions
that proved to be effective so as to become components in an organization,
to be conveyed to new ones as correct ways of perception, thinking and
Which are the recurrent elements in all previous definitions?
Beliefs, values, norms or regulations, attitudes and behaviors shared
by the organization personnel can be found in most definitions, being
the core of the organizational culture concept. Another important aspect
is that organizational culture represents a reference system for organization
identity. All its elements are expressed in a manner that is specific
for each organization, although it starts from a common base. This is
why we can say that the values, the beliefs and the norms it contains
are the result of subjective meanings and connotations organization
personnel gives to various aspects and situations the organization is
confronted with on a daily basis.
Eventually, an essential aspect is the loyalty its members
show towards the organizational culture, confirmed by the way in which
they share its beliefs and values, a phenomenon reflected in the respective
The increasing interest for organizational culture studies
is generated by the existence of a vital variable – the culture – involved
in the change, innovation and development process taking place in an
The sources of change in an organization can be external
(social pressure) or internal (internal constructive energy). To produce
the desired changes, external pressure needs to be assimilated by the
organization. Thus, culture becomes the essential “filter”, being able
to facilitate and support the change, or to block and alter it.
We can talk about a development culture, taken as a set
of emerging values, governed by an ethos of change and perfecting. According
to this definition, culture can be perceived as a vital component in
the concept of quality educational activities. We can also talk about
a standstill culture – conservative, rigid, imitative.