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THE EFFECTS OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE ON THE EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ECONOMICS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IKWUANO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ABIA STATE
This study examines the effect of organizational culture on the effective teaching and learning of economics in secondary schools in Ikwuano local government area of Abia state. Five hypotheses were formulated and tested. The literature review examines the meaning of organizational culture, theoretical concepts in organizational culture, the functions of organizational culture, components of organizational culture, assessing the culture of an organization and the methods for changing the culture of an organization. Four schools were taken as the sample for this study. The method of data collection used in this study is mainly through the questionnaire method. Findings indicate (i) a high percentage of teachers who comply to the culture of the organizations, (ii) that rigid operational procedures and policies can inhabit the effective teaching and learning of economics, (iii) lack of good communication is a factor that can prevent the effective teaching and learning of economics, (iv) a strong relationship between “entrepreneurial risk-taking initiative and organizational performance, and (v) a strong relationship between shared values among the teachers of the schools and the performance of the schools. The study recommends that schools should have a clear vision and mission statements and communicate these to their teachers; good leadership skills are essential to manage the organization’s culture; there must be shared values and trust; and opportunities for teachers to progress and develop. Finally, it is recommended that organizations should encourage initiative, creativity and entrepreneurial culture by doing away with bureaucratic practices.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Every organization is affected by its culture and every organization has a culture. It has been shown by several researchers such as Ogbor (2003), Schein (2004) and Alvesson (2003) that the performance of an organization should be explained against the backdrop of its culture. Someone walking into the lobby of Grand Hotel, Favorites Fast-Food Restaurant,
School, all in Asaba will experience a certain atmosphere, feeling, and style that are unique. These companies, be it a school, a hotel or a restaurant, have a personality, a charm, a feel that is unique to it. They have a cultural anchor that influence the way customers respond and the way teachers interact with customers.
At Zenith School, for example, with its over two hundred and fifty (250) branches and business offices nationwide, a visitor experiences a kind of business focus in the ways tellers attend to the customer; there is an attitude among the tellers which exudes passion, energy and enthusiasm, and creativity in its environment. At Grand Hotel, the ambience is not only seductive but customers feel a sense of been in an oasis. The founders or the management of these successful organizations have instilled these cultural values in the companies and have been embedded in the ways business is conducted.
Whether the discussion focuses on a school or a hotel that exudes a culture of passion or friendly customer service, culture is a part of organizational life that influences the behavior, attitudes, and overall effectiveness of teachers. The culture of an organization deserves special consideration because, as Denison (1990) rightly points out, “decisions made without awareness of the operative cultural forces may have unanticipated and undesirable consequences.”
In this project, the aim is to explore how the organizational culture of four schools in Asaba affects their productivity. In this project, I will use the terms “organizational culture” and “corporate culture” interchangeably because the two concepts refer to the same phenomenon. According to Alvesson (1990), “Organizational culture” is a term that is mostly use in scholarly research and organizational discourses while “corporate culture” is practitioner-oriented.
Ogbor (2012) has argued that many organizations in Nigeria, especially in the public sector, are plagued with problems of productivity. According to the researcher, there are several reasons for this, including:
(i) Fuzzy vision: when the corporate vision and mission don’t inspire people; lack of strategic alignment; people don’t know where the organization is going and what it is trying to achieve in the future.
(ii) Lack of leadership skills: when members of the organization are afraid of change. A problem culture in this regard may be characterised with the following features: fear of change, leaders lack entrepreneurial spirit, leadership style on the part of management is either too directive or too hands-off, managers do not lead, they just administrate and micromanage, and weak or absence of leadership development programme;
(iii) Discouraging culture: when there is no shared values; lack of trust; blame culture; focus on problems, not opportunities; people don’t have fun at work; diversity is not celebrated; failures are not tolerated; people lose confidence in their leaders and systems.
(iv) High bureaucracy:A bureaucratic culture is capable of killing creativity and growth in an organization. Bureaucratic organizational structures are characterised with these features: too many management layers; high boundaries between management layers; hierarchical coordination of decisions and actions; slow decision making process; too close monitoring of things and subordinates; rigid operating procedures and policies; and too many tools and documents discouraging creative thinking and innovative approach to strategic actions and marketing initiatives.
(v) Lack of initiative:when the culture of the organization does not promote entrepreneurial and risk-taking initiatives. In this kind of culture, teachers are poorly motivated and dis-encouraged; teachers do not feel their contributions make a difference; management fails to engage the organization effectively; people work defensively and not creatively, they do their job, and nothing more.
(vi) Poor vertical communication:An evidence of a problem culture is when there is poor vertical communication and management insulate themselves from the rest of the teachers in terms of accessibility. In such a culture,people have no clue of the big picture and do not feel that their contributions are important; too much uncertainty; people don’t know what top-managers are thinking and planning. The consequence of such an organization communication system is that management are out of touch with prevailing market conditions and customer expectations.
(vii) Poor cross-functional collaboration:A sign of problem culture may be related tofunctional mindset; lack of cross-functional goals and cross-functional collaboration spirit; functional, no enterprise-wide business process management; no cross-functional management committees; lack of or powerless cross-functional teams.
(viii) Poor teamwork: Another evidence of a problem culture is when there is no organizational commitment to team culture; lack of shared and worthwhile goals; weak team leaders; team members who don’t want to play as part of a team are tolerated; teams are too large; and lack of shared rewards.
(ix) Poor Idea and Knowledge Management:Finally, a problem in the culture of the organization may manifest itself whencross-pollination of ideas is not facilitated; when there are no strategies for managing knowledge in the organization; when there is the predominance of management’s “know-it-all” attitude; and an attitude of “not invented here” syndrome.
As pointed out above, the purpose of this study is to examine the effect of organizational culture on the performance of selected schools in Asaba.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Organizational culture affects the performance and productivity of organizations in a tremendous way. The Governor of the Central School of Nigeria, SanusiLamidoSanusi (2010) argued that poor corporate governance and poor corporate culture were responsible for the problems faced by Nigerian schools in the post-consolidation era. In several instances, it has been shown that most teachers in the organizations (schools) do not have the knowledge of its vision, mission and strategic goals.
Studies have indicated that the leaders of most schools in Nigeria lack the necessary skills for their schools to compete effectively and teachers do not share values expressed in the organization’s mission statement. Secondly, many of the schools have bureaucratic culture and do not promote entrepreneurial and risk-taking initiatives. Thirdly, there is no appropriate communication between management and teachers Fourth, cross-functional collaboration and team work in the schools is poor.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to achieve an understanding of how the culture of an organization affects the performance of the organization. This is done by examining the organizational culture of some selected schools in Asaba. Specifically, the study aims at achieving the following five objectives:
(i) To know if there is any relationship between an organization’s shared vision, mission and strategic goals and its performance and productivity.
(ii) To know if there is any relationship between the culture of an organization, the skills of its leaders and its competitiveness and performance and productivity.
(iii) To know what extent shared values among members of the
(iv) To know if there is any relationship between entrepreneurial and risk-taking initiatives (entrepreneurial culture) and organizational performance and productivity.
(v) To know if there is any relationship between open communication, cross-functional collaboration and team-work and organizational performance and productivity.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For the purpose of this study, five research questions are formulated, which centered on the vision, mission and strategic goals of the organization; leadership of the organization; shared values of the organization; entrepreneurship and risk taking (entrepreneurial culture); communication, cross-functional collaboration and team-work.
(i) Does every member of the organization have the knowledge of its vision, mission and strategic goals?
(ii) Do the leaders of this organization have the necessary skills for the organization to compete effectively?
(iii) Are there shared values among members of the organization?
(iv) Does the organization promote entrepreneurial and risk-taking initiatives?
(v) Is there appropriate communication between management and teachers and cross-functional collaboration and team work in the organization?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Ho: There is no relationship between organization members’ knowledge of its vision, mission and strategic goals and its performance.
Ho: There is no relationship between leadership skills and the competitiveness of an organization.
Ho: There is no relationship between shared values among members of an organization and organizational performance.
Ho: There is no relationship between entrepreneurial and risk-taking initiatives and organizational performance.
Ho: There is no relationship between team work and organizational performance.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers four schools in Asaba. The questions asked were restricted to how corporate culture affects the performance of the teachers and productivity of these schools. Furthermore, questionnaires were distributed to junior teachers and those at the managerial levels.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study can be seen in two ways. First, it brings insight into the role of corporate culture in organizational performance, especially in the context of Nigeria. This is an area that has not been seriously looked at. Secondly, the problems that many schools faced after the consolidation era was due to the culture of these schools. I think that a study of this nature will help other schools to look seriously into their corporate cultures and understand how their cultures affect the performance of their teachers and the competitiveness of their organizations.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The major limitations I have in this study bordered on time and financial constraints.
First, my studies and class work and other University commitments did not permit me to carry out this study covering more than four schools. Secondly, as a result of financial constraints, the research was geographically restricted to the four schools in Asaba.
1.9 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
1) Organizational Culture: Organizational culture is the workplace environment created or enacted from the interaction of the teachers in the workplace. Organizational culture is defined by all of the life experiences, strengths, weaknesses, education, upbringing, and so forth of the teachers as they are played out in the organization.
2) Mission Statement: The mission of a firm is the purpose or reason for its existence. It tells what the firm is providing to its customers, what they benefit from it and how it is provided.
3) Vision Statement: The vision statement of a firm is what the company is trying to achieve over the long term as formally declared in the dreams or purposes of their owners or management. The vision statement of a firm answers the question: “What do we want to become”?
4) Bureaucratic Culture: This is the centralization of decision making in the top-hierarchy of the organization and is characterized with rigidity.
5) Entrepreneurial Culture: This is an organizational culture that typifies high levels of risk-taking, dynamism and creativity.
6) Cross-Functional Collaboration: This is the ability of teachers in the different functional areas to collaborate and work together for the benefit of the organization.
7) Observable Culture: The observable culture is made up of stories, rites and rituals, celebrated people in the organization’s history, and symbols and artifacts.
8) Unobservable Culture: The unobservable culture consists of the underlying values, beliefs, and philosophy pervading the organization.
9) The values of an organization, provides the beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors that are shared by the members and guide their behavior.