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Most organizations’ managers have been faced with the hard task of fostering the goals of the organization in the modern day management practiced. The nature of organizations has evolved from the traditional organizational oriented approach to a modern customer oriented (Al-Aameri 89). More stakeholders have been added to the organization and it is the duty of every manager to strike a balance and ensure that all these stakeholders’ interests are satisfied by the organization in the best manner possible.
Today’s organizations are characterized by revolutionary leadership styles that have resulted from alignment to the prevailing industry conditions and market requirements (Ambrose and Schminke 129).
It is usually said that change is inevitable and as such, the sure way to die is to purpose not to embrace change. One of the organizational attributes that relates to change is the organizational culture (John 212). Organizational culture is defined as those set of practices and procedures that characterize the organization and those that an organization can be identified with.
The study of organizational culture has become so much important in today’s organizational management and leadership. Some Organizations’ cultures have been a source of success while others have been a source of failure (Newstrom and Davis 69).
It is therefore important to ensure that an organizational culture is modified in such a way that it positively impacts the organizational goals and objectives. This paper will highlight some cultural practices seen at Nordstrom that have aided it to remain a top organization for over one hundred years since its inception.
Nordstrom is an American company dealing with trade in clothes accessories, jewelry and shoes. Its headquarters is based in Seattle, Washington D.C. The store was founded in 1901 by John Nordstrom and ever since, it has managed to open over 25 branches across the United States of America. The company has constantly featured among the best companies in the US managing to shake off the competition from its peers such as the Bloomingdales, Von Maur, and the rest.
The company’s revolutionary leadership style and corporate culture can be said to be largely responsible for this great success. It has for over a century managed to maintain a customer focused culture. This culture coupled with the right leadership styles have enabled the retail outlet to remain among the best in terms of customer service culture oriented organizations in the country and the world at large. Creating and maintaining a positive culture is a hard task yet a manageable one among many organizational managers.
Teaching core values
Strong cultures are preferable in that it is asserted by many organizational behaviorists that they are great performance facilitators among employees (Hellriegel and Slocum 178). Nordstrom should therefore adopt some steps in order to teach its cultural values to the employees. One way of doing this is by organizing ceremonies or rites. Ceremonies and rites are the occasions that are regularly repeated in organizations that become a routine with time.
The company can use such ceremonies as bi-annual training workshops for employees. By doing this, the organization will be establishing the rites of renewals where top performers during training are appraised and subsequently promoted. During this time, the employees are taught company core values and are allowed to interact with the management freely and ask questions. This would help a great deal in instilling confidence among the employees and as such, enhancing their embracing of the company’s values.
Other ceremonies that could be used to teach the company values are the annual general meetings. This can be done through setting an award system that recognizes employees who have upheld high levels of company values. The boon in such a ceremony is that other employees will be enlightened on the importance that the management puts in upholding the company values. This would inspire and motivate other employees to uphold such values so as to get rewarded as well.
The other rite that the organization can set to enlighten its employees about its values is the rite of passage. This is a rite that is organized either as an induction seminar to new employees or an in-house training for employees who acquire certain status within the organization. Such a rite is made mandatory and requires all employees at some point to pass through that rite and as such the organizational values are taught.
Assumptions that guide Nordstrom
Assumptions are referred to as the deeply held thought patterns among the organizational members that provide a rationale behind their perception of situations and circumstances. They are the strata that underlie the organizational culture and as such, a congruent assumption between the management and the employees usually provides a strong organizational culture (Ambrose and Schminke 108).
The different members of the organization may hold different assumptions with regard to their level of operation among the organization. The management’s assumption about the organization may be totally different from the employees’.
In Nordstrom, there are several assumptions that guide the organization. First, their culture is customer minded and has remained like this for the past one hundred years. The company operates under a policy that requires employees to do whatever they can in their capacity to ensure that the customer does not leave without making a purchase. Employees customarily go an extra mile to cause the customers to purchase a commodity and as such, this has become the norm of the company.
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The company also maintains a customer focused culture. There is a common old adage that says that the customer is always the king and is always right. Organizations that have managed to articulate this aspect of satisfying the customers’ needs have found it easier to deal with their customers and as such, have reported increasing revenues from sales. Nordstrom therefore keeps a close look at the customer’s needs and it ensures that the customers are attended to the best of their expectations. As expected, this assumption of enthroning the customer has ensured a continued strong organizational culture that is customer minded.
These assumptions have helped reinforce the values of the organization. This is because when employees possess certain behavioral patterns over a considerable length of time, these behaviors are subsequently articulated in their subconscious minds. This is an important aspect of promoting the organizational culture and values since the behavior is articulated and as such, repeated by all the members of the organization.
The culture of Nordstrom has been built and maintained over a decade. Its aspect of prioritizing the customer has remained unchanged since the organization was incepted in the year 1901. The managers and leaders in the organization have led by example and as such the culture of Nordstrom has been cemented and is widely known and upheld by the employees as well as the management.
A culture is considered a strong one if the organization has a consensus of values that are recognized even by the outsiders (Newstrom and Davis 118).
The importance of a strong culture is that the goals, objectives, and the cultural values are known by all the employees and as such, widely practiced throughout the organization. Strong cultures are preferred in organizations since they promote shared values among the employees. They also help in enhancing motivation among the employees and enhance proper adherence to the set procedures without necessarily having bureaucratic rules in operation.
Nordstrom can be said to have a strong culture. This is depicted by the way employees share the organizational values to each other and also the way that they congruently treat the customers. It is commonly said that the employees of Nordstrom Inc. write up ‘heroic’ stories of customer service and teamwork through going the extra mile and surpassing the job description and the call of duty. This is commonly seen among many employees through their innovative methods of reaching out to customers.
The other indicator that Nordstrom Inc. has a strong culture is the way they have managed to remain customer focused to the last one hundred years. This aspect ensures that they remain top of the list of the best companies in the United States of America through their customer service. This aspect is shared among all the employees of the organization and as such, the culture can be referred to as a strong one.
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