Creating a Typology of Organizational Culture Using Cluster Analysis

Creating a Typology of Organizational Culture Using Cluster Analysis

Sunny L. Munn (The Ohio State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5164-5.ch017

Abstract

Grouping methodologies such as cluster analysis can be used to create typologies of organizational culture. An organization's culture is created by the beliefs, values, traditions, policies, and processes carried out by the organization. The focus of this chapter is to deconstruct the common methodology of cluster analysis used to identify typologies of organizational culture in two different studies, which set out to identify the impact of organizational culture on the use and existence of work-life benefits for individuals and organizations, respectively. The chapter discusses the cluster analysis methodology in detail as a means to understanding the place of organizational culture in work-life research. The theoretical contributions of using cluster analysis to create typologies of organizational culture and the implications for workforce research are discussed.
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Creating A Typology Of Organizational Culture Using Cluster Analysis

There are some phenomena, such as employee behavior or organizational culture that can be “represented by a model in which there are distinct subgroups, types, or categories of individuals” (Collins & Lanza, 2013, Section 1.2, Para 1). Organizational culture, according to Shein (1988) is the property of a group and is created by the learning of members over time. As the group learns, what is learned is converted into the beliefs, values, traditions, policies and processes that govern the organization. The organizational culture becomes embedded into all aspects of work and strong organizational cultures bleed over into how employees behave in their non-work lives

For example, organizational culture influences the work-life initiatives available to employees which aim to encourage healthy employees through the provision of organizational programs, practices, and policies implemented to support employee work-life balance (Lobel, 1999; Pitt-Catsouphes, Matz-Costa, & MacDermid, 2007). Knowing more about how organizational culture influences the decisions of employees to use or not to use work-life initiatives and how organizational culture influences the impact of work-life initiatives on organizational performance will help bridge the gap across the work-life system. Each piece of the work-life system is influenced by the various cultures in which they exist.

“The work–life system includes three intersecting forces: individuals, organizations, and government, and three corresponding dimensions: work–life balance, work–life initiatives, and work–life policy. Each dimension in the work–life system has implications for workers, organizations, and government” (Munn, 2013, p. 403). Understanding how the forces and dimensions of the work-life system interact within different organizational cultures can provide insight as to how work-life initiatives might be better provided and utilized (Munn, 2012).

The work-life system was conceptualized as part of two independent yet related research studies, which set out to identify the impact of organizational culture on the use and existence of work-life benefits (Munn, 2012; Munn, 2013). Study A, also referred to as the NSCW Study, focused on individuals and used data from the National Study of the Changing Workforce (Families and Work Institute, 2010). Study B, also referred to as the NOS Study, focused on organizations and used data from the National Organizations Survey (Smith, Kallberg, & Marsden, 2002).

In Study A it was hypothesized that an employee’s characteristics impact the use of work-life initiatives within a defined organizational culture. Similarly, in Study B it was hypothesized that the existence of work-life initiatives impact organizational performance within a defined organizational culture. Linking two of the forces of the work-life system - individuals and organizations (Munn, 2013) - both studies used a common methodology to first identify constructs of organizational culture available in the data and then to classify individuals (Study A) and organizations (Study B) into homogenous groups (Munn, 2012).

To identify types of organizational culture in Study A and B, a grouping methodology, cluster analysis (CA) was used to classify organizations. The result is a typology of organizational culture for each study, which can be used to answer the relevant research questions pertaining to the work-life system (see Table 5). The focus of this chapter is to deconstruct the common methodology of CA used in both Study A and B to create a typology of organizational culture.

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