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Assessment of Organizational Culture in a Community College Partnership: A Case Study

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  1. Assessment of Organizational Culturein a Community College Partnership: A Case Study Mary Kathryn Turner, RDH, EdD Dean, Science & Allied Health Sacramento City College SWHOAC Meeting – May 29, 2009

  2. Introduction & Background • Innovative education/industry partnership based on shared goal of addressing nursing shortage • California nursing shortage – impacting both education and industry (Sechrist, Lewis & Rutledge, 1999) • High cost of nursing programs, faculty & facilities • No recognition of the organizational differences – especially the cultures

  3. Introduction & Background Organizational culture “A pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.” (Schein, 2004, p. 17)

  4. Introduction & Background Organizational culture “A pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.” (Schein, 2004, p. 17) “The way we do things around here…..”

  5. Statement of Problem The success of community college and industry partnerships may be adversely affected by the lack of awareness of differences in organizational culture. Culture clash – the primary causal factor in the failure of mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances (Carleton & Lineberry, 2004)

  6. Study Purpose & Significance Analyze the cultural characteristics and sources of conflict in a community college and hospital system partnership If impact of organizational culture is recognized at onset of community college partnership development, appropriate strategies and interventions can be put in place to better ensure success.

  7. Theoretical Framework &Literature Review Organizational ethnography • Organizational culture (Geertz, Schein, Martin) • Higher educational culture (Clark, Dill, Kuh & Whitt) • Culture in healthcare organizations and nursing profession (Senge, Shortell, McNish) • Acquisitions, mergers & partnerships (Cross, Johnson & Tornatzky, Kisker & Carucci, Buono & Bowditch, Radtke) • Organizational conflict (Pondy, Becker & Geer, Wall & Callister)

  8. Methodology Case study - Qualitative & Quantitative • Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) • Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory (WCFI) • Demographic Data • Personal Interviews

  9. Methodology – OCAI Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) Competing Values Framework (Cameron & Ettington, 1988) 4-fold culture typing on 2 axes • Clan (Human Relations) Model • Adhocracy (Open Systems) Model • Market (Rational Goal) Model • Hierarchy (Internal Process) Model

  10. Methodology - OCAI

  11. Methodology - WCFI Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory (WCFI) (Mattessich, Murray-Close, Monsey, 2001) 19 collaboration success factors • General environment • Membership* • Process and Structure* • Communication* • Purpose* • Resources*

  12. Methodology - Participants • Surveys (n = 67; 75%) • 26 Community college administrators, faculty or staff (n = 23; 88%) • 41 Hospital system personnel (n = 27; 66%) • Interviews • 2 Administrators from each organization • Definition of organizational culture • Characteristics of their culture & the partner’s culture • Sources of conflict • Changes in institutional practices • Lessons learned

  13. Participants • Caucasian female • Over 45 years of age • Master’s degree • Over 11 years employment in organization • Involved in partnership 5 years or more

  14. Research Hypotheses & Questions - #1 Organizational cultural attributes, as identified by members of a collaborative partnership are different for a community college and a hospital system. • What are the perceived cultural attributes for each organization? • How are the cultural attributes similar? • How are the cultural attributes different?

  15. Results – Research Hypothesis #1 Clan Adhocracy Hierarchy Market Community College Hospital

  16. Results – Research Hypothesis #1 Clan Adhocracy Hierarchy Market Solid = Community College Dotted = Hospital

  17. Results – Research Hypothesis #1 Organizational cultural attributes, as identified by members of a collaborative partnership are different for a community college and a hospital system. Significant difference in dependent variables of Clan (p = .05), Market and Hierarchy (p = .01).

  18. DiscussionSelf-perceived cultural characteristics Clan Adhocracy Hierarchy Market Solid = Community College Dotted = Hospital

  19. Discussion Self-perceived cultural characteristics College -- Clan/Hierarchy Hospital -- Clan/Market Flexibility & Internal Focus • “Family-like” work environment • Team-work, participation & consensus • Friendly, people share • Leaders – mentors, parent figures • Loyalty & tradition • Human resource development – cohesion & morale • Sensitivity to customers & concern for people

  20. Discussion Self-perceived cultural characteristics College -- Clan/Hierarchy Hospital -- Clan/Market • Internal focus • Consistency, Cohesion, short-term orientation • Structured organization • Efficiency, smooth-running, stability & performance • Secure employment and predictability • Controlled environment • Rules, policies & procedures • External focus • Achievement, tasks, long-term orientation • Competitive organization • Production, goal accomplishment & market superiority • Teamwork focused on achievement • Demanding environment • Emphasis on winning, reputation & success

  21. Research Hypotheses & Questions - #2 The perception of an organization’s cultural attributes is different when assessed by members of the organization versus members of the partner organization. • Do the partners perceive their counterpart’s culture to possess the same characteristics as identified by individuals from within the organization?

  22. Results – Research Hypothesis #2 Clan Adhocracy Hierarchy Market Community College Hospital

  23. Results – Research Hypothesis #2 Clan Adhocracy Hierarchy Market Solid = Community College Dotted = Hospital

  24. Results – Research Hypothesis #2 The perception of an organization’s cultural attributes is different when assessed by members of the organization versus members of the partner organization. Significant difference (p = .0005; .001) in mean scores of given organization and mean scores of partner organization for Clan, Adhocracy*, Market & Hierarchy. * Hospital partner -- Adhocracy “my” vs “partner” T-test not significant

  25. Discussion Self-Perceived Culture Partner-Perceived Culture Adhocracy Clan Hierarchy Market Solid = Community College Dotted = Hospital

  26. Discussion Partner-perceived cultural characteristics College – Hierarchy Hospital -- Market External focus Achievement, results, long-term orientation Competitive & goal focused Results oriented Competitive organization Leaders – innovators Production & market superiority Winning • Internal focus • Consistency, Cohesion, short-term orientation • Formalized & structured • Procedure oriented • Controlling organization • Leaders – coordinators • Consistency, uniformity & efficiency • Stability

  27. Research Hypotheses & Questions - #3 Higher level managers who initiate a partnership will have a different perception of the two organization’s cultures than those individuals at the operational or implementation level. • Are there any differences between how higher level managers view their organization’s culture and how individuals at the operational level view the culture?

  28. Results – Research Hypothesis #3 Higher level managers who initiate a partnership will have a different perception of the two organization’s cultures than those individuals at the operational or implementation level. Management vs. operational employees demonstrate a significant difference (p = .25) in mean scores on Hierarchy – partner organization.

  29. Research Hypotheses & Questions - #4 Perceived sources of conflict will be related to differences in organizational culture. • What are the perceived sources of conflict as related to success factors within the partnership? • How are the perceived sources of conflict related to the organizational cultures?

  30. Results – Research Hypothesis #4Perceived sources of conflict • Membership • Trust (77%) • Willingness to compromise (55%)

  31. Results – Research Hypothesis #4Perceived sources of conflict Membership Trust Willingness to compromise Process & Structure Participants not able to speak for organization (71%) Lack of flexibility in decision-making (68%) Unwillingness to consider different approaches (66%) Clear roles and responsibilities Clear decision making process

  32. Results – Research Hypothesis #4Perceived sources of conflict • Communication • Open communication • Participants not always informed • Leaders don’t always communicate well

  33. Results – Research Hypothesis #4Perceived sources of conflict Communication Open communication Participants not always informed Leaders don’t always communicate well Purpose

  34. Results – Research Hypothesis #4Perceived sources of conflict Communication Open communication Participants not always informed Leaders don’t always communicate well Purpose Resources Leaders don’t possess necessary skills for working with people

  35. Results – Research Hypothesis #4 Perceived sources of conflict will be related to differences in organizational culture. • How are the perceived sources of conflict related to the organizational cultures? No significant difference in mean scores on conflict constructs of Membership, Process/Structure, Communication & Purpose* between community college and hospital partners. *Resource construct unable to be analyzed.

  36. Discussion Conflict Membership Trust (Clan) – “us” vs. “them” Process & Structure Lack of flexibility (Hierarchy) Decision-making (Hierarchy/Market) Communication Open dialogue (Clan/Hierarchy/Market) Resources Leadership skills (Hierarchy/Market)

  37. Cultural Properties/Elements for Organizational Language, Communication, and Decision-makingArtifacts & Creations

  38. Cultural Properties/Elements for Organizational Language, Communication, and Decision-makingValues

  39. Cultural Properties/Elements for Organizational Language, Communication, and Decision-makingBasic Assumptions

  40. Cultural Properties/Elements for Organizational Measurements of SuccessArtifacts & Creations

  41. Cultural Properties/Elements for Organizational Measurements of SuccessValues

  42. Cultural Properties/Elements for Organizational Measurements of SuccessBasic Assumptions

  43. Discussion Conflict “Just the way we work . . . is very different and . . . it was almost like a one-night stand and we decided to get married in Vegas. Had we spent more time exploring what that marriage looked liked, I think we might have structured the project a little bit differently.”

  44. Implications for Practice • Practice cultural “due diligence” • Partnership = Merger or acquisition • Self-identified and perceived cultural characteristics • Identify potential sources of conflict • Facilitate conversation between partners including all participants • Monitor speed of implementation

  45. Acknowledgements • Los Rios Community College District • Sacramento City College • Sutter Health, Sacramento Sierra Region