Organizational Culture in Engineering and Construction Organizations (Archived)

RT-011a Topic Summary
RT 011a


The purpose of this research was to examine the issue of employee performance and identify the factors influencing that performance. The main objectives of the research were to:

  • Define organization culture
  • Develop the means of measuring organization culture
  • Validate the measurement technique for the engineering and construction organizations

The main focus of this research was organization culture. There is a discussion about values framework of an organization as developed by Robert E. Quinn. This framework is suggested to be used to measure organization culture and other concepts like organization effectives, management skills, and leadership styles. Finally, there is analysis about the application of completing the values framework to seven organizational units and the results.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Organizational Culture

There are five basic elements of corporate culture:(SD-52, p. 5)

  1. The Business Environment – The success of an organization in certain business environment will depend on the organization doing things very well. What these things are will be a prime determinant of the organization’s culture.
  2. Values and Norms – It is very important to understand what the organization is rewarding for the person to perform satisfactory to appraisal criteria. The reward need not be always monetary, but something which is perceived of value by the members of the organization. It is also noted that mostly the behavior of manager and leaders is perceived as the model behavior for that particular organization. 
  3. Heroes – Heroes and leaders personify the values which form the soul of the culture and strengths of the organization. 
  4. Rites and Rituals – An organization needs rites and rituals to reinforce the values and norms. Several types of rituals have been identified as of importance to an organization: 
    • Commitment and social rituals – deal with social exchange process & interpersonal relationship within the organization
    • Work rituals – utilized by members to perform work
    • Management rituals – govern the conduct of managers
    • Recognition rituals – illustrate the values and norms organization seek to uphold
  5. Communication – Effective communication depends on the cultural network rather than formal structure of the organization. A diverse group of members form this network and a manager must learn how to use them for proper organization communication. 
Reference: (SD-52)

2 : Competing Values Framework 

The best managers are those that function within a framework of competing values. These values can be described in terms of four models: (SD-52, pp. 25-26)

  1. Rational Goal – preference for a high degree of certainty and for short time horizons. Focus on clarification of goals and independent action.
  2. Open Systems – short time horizons and a low degree of certainty. Decisions are made quickly and modified as new information is received.
  3. Human Relations – long time horizons and a low degree of certainty. Emphasizes human interaction and feelings.
  4. Internal Process (bureaucratic) – long time horizons and high degree of certainty. Information is gathered an systematically analyzed.

These models can be used to describe:

  • Effectiveness 
  • Culture 
  • Leadership 
  • Power and Influence 
Reference: (SD-52)

3 : Management Skills Profile

A management skills profile is presented that indicates the skills required by managers operating in particular (organizational) cultures. (SD-52, p. 40)
Reference: (SD-52)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved organizational integration, Improved managerial staff efficiency

Research Publications

Organizational Culture in Engineering and Construction Organizations - SD-52

Publication Date: 04/1990 Type: Source Document Pages: 330 Status: Archived Reference