represent the deepest part of organizational culture because they are unconscious and taken for granted. Assumptions are the shared mental models,
the broad worldviews or theories in use that people rely on to guide their perceptions and behaviors (see Chapter 3). At Hewlett-Packard, for example, employees expect a high degree of job security and involvement in corporate
decisions. These assumptions are ingrained, taken for granted. In other hightechnology companies, employees might assume less security and involvement.
Because people are aware of them, an organization’s cultural beliefs and values are somewhat easier to decipher than are assumptions. Beliefs represent
the individual’s perceptions of reality. Values are more stable, long-lasting beliefs about what is important. They help define what is right or wrong, or good
or bad, in the world (see Chapter 4).
For example, employees at Sparks.com—
the San Francisco provider of Internet greeting cards—think it’s “cool” to spend
long hours at the office with a fuzzy distinction between work and play. In contrast, the corporate culture at SAS Institute, the Cary, North Carolina–based
statistical software firm, values work–life balance and locking up the office by
5 P.M. each day.
We can’t determine an organization’s cultural values just by asking employees and other people about them. Values are socially desirable, so what people
say they value (called espoused values) may differ from what they truly value
Espoused values do not represent an organization’s culture.
Rather, they establish the public image that corporate leaders want to display.
Enacted values, on the other hand, are values in use. They are the values that
guide individual decisions and behavior in the workplace.
Content of Organizational Culture
Organizations differ in their cultural content, that is, the relative ordering of
beliefs, values, and assumptions. Consider the following companies and their...