Effects of Organisational Culture On Employees performance: A Case of selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon
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The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of organisational culture on employee performance of selected MTN service centres. The study was based on the Cameron and Quinn’s competing values framework for evaluation of an organisation’s culture, although not all aspects of the model were used.
The variables investigated pertaining to organisational culture were; market culture, hierarchy culture, communication, teamwork and their influence on performance of employees in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest regions of Cameroon. The study used cross sectional survey research and descriptive research designs with a population 22 MTN service centres.
A statistical sample 15 of MTN centres was selected, using purposive sampling technique. A population of 374 respondents chosen using random sampling. 350 responses were received, giving a response rate of 94%. Primary data was collected using questionnaires.
Data collected was sorted and analysed using descriptive and inferential analyses. Stata was used for data analysis and generation of tables, figures and relationships. Inferential statistics including correlation, analysis of variance and ordinary least square regression model were used to establish the association involving the independent and dependent variables.
Results of the study show that organisational culture in terms of market culture, hierarchy culture and teamwork has a significant influence on employee performance of the service centres.
The study recommends the necessity of management to manage cultural areas in order to achieve sustainable improvement in the provision of services and, hence improved performance.
Further study may consider introducing moderating variables in testing the moderating effect of the influence of organisational culture on performance.
Key words: Organisational culture, Performance, Market culture Hierarchy culture, Teamwork and communication
Employee performance is a vital factor as per the information gathered by the researcher. It could either impact in a negative or positive manner towards an organisation.
Employee performance is frequently the most significant scenario in an organisation. When employees start performing poorly it worries the management as it affects the entire operations of an organisation.
The disadvantage faced by an organisation is that once they realize that employees are performing poorly they should take immediate action to restore it before it affects the company
At these instances managers should sit down and find the root that has caused this. Many companies face theissue of employee performance due to prevailing strict cultures, Martin Otundo Richard (2020)
Organisational culture is considered as the personality of the organisation and it is the aspect of the shapes the way the organisation functions.
It comprises the attitudes,experiences, beliefs, and values of the organisation,acquired through social learning, that control the way individuals and groups in the organisation interact with one another and with parties outside it.
Furthermore,culture highlights attention on the human sides of the organisational life emphasizing on the importance ofcreating appropriate systems to enable employees to work productivity, improve employee morale, affect work attitudes and encourage stronger employee commitment.MdZabid (2018)
Thus organisational culture constraints and direct together in achieving a common goal.
Cohesive business cultures are thought to underpin higher productivity, improve employee morale, affect work attitudes and encourage stronger employee commitment.
Thus organisational culture constraints and direct management behaviour which affects performance through decision making, problem solving and strategy formulation.
Also organisational culture is frequently said to be responsible for all manner of organisational ills and, on occasions, credited with creating positive qualities. A better understanding of the concept would allow people in organisations to solve problems and improve employee performance, Daniel Onyango (2019).
The employee performance would be considered as backbone organisation as it leads to its development effectively.
The loyalty of employee relies upon knowledge and awareness of culture that improves behaviour of organisation. Organisational culture has first time been identified by Administrative Science quarterly.
The value and norms of employee’s basis upon management identification that help in improving employee performance.
The awareness of quality helps in improving organisational culture and employee performance.
A great deal has been written about organisational culture, its impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation and its relevance to strategic issues as well as corporate success.
However, because of its profound role in influencing behaviour, organisational culture can mark out the difference between strategic success and failure hence the need to explore it into detail. Since the organisation‘s source of competitive advantage lies with its employees, what they believe and how they behave influence the performance. It is therefore imperative that managers do well to understand the culture in their organisations.
As said at the beginning, organisational culture in performance is a topic that has received extensive coverage in the literature; although, from different viewpoints and with different findings as to its relevance.
Alvesson (2002) summarizes four views on the relationship between organisational culture and performance: the strong-culture thesis, where a strong culture leads to high performance; the exact opposite, where high performance leads to creation of “strong” culture; the contingency approach, where certain cultures are appropriate and necessary and; and finally the “adaptive cultures”, which are the key to better performance through its ability to respond to environmental changes quickly.
In the mid-eighties Denison (1984) stated that there is little evidence on the impact of an organisation’s culture on performance, but was later going to make new discoveries. Gordon (1985) discovered around that same time that companies in dynamic industries shared cultural values that contributed to increased stability.
By the early nineties; however, a link between organisational culture and performance was established by Denison (1990), although primarily for the short term. He found that organisations with participative cultures were performing better than those cultures that were not.
This is in line with Burt, Gabbay, Holt, and Moran (1994), who hold that a feature of culture important for an organisation’s performance is the extent to which the employees buy into it.
After the initial period of interest around the role of culture on performance, a number of other scholars built on the foundation laid by Daniel Denison through empirical research (Denison & Mishra, 1995; Gordon &DiTomaso, 1992; Kotter&Heskett, 1992; Marcoulides& Heck, 1993; Sørensen, 2002).
Some degree of correlation has also been found by Burt, Gabbay, Holt, and Moran (1994), as well as by Ogbonna& Harris (2000), to mention a few. Rashid and his colleagues (2003) found from studying organisational culture literature that there is a clear link between culture and organisational performance.
However, Lewis (1994) concludes her study of a tertiary institution in Australia by stating that behaviour is the only thing that can directly affect an employee performance. Lewis (1994) points out that “while behaviour may be one embodiment of culture, culture is certainly not the only determinant of behaviour”.
From this range of literature, it appears as the role of organisational culture in performance has received increasingly more interest and acceptance over the years. Although such a relationship is difficult to prove, some of the above mentioned scholars have found different degrees of correlation.
Today, the business world is fascinated by culture. Academics have studied it. Authors have written about it.
Great leaders know how to leverage culture to ensure wildly successful business outcomes. Conversely, well documented case studies demonstrate how incorrect assumptions about organisational values can lead to misunderstandings at best and organisational value systems impact the way change happens, failed projects andlost profit at worst.
In the frenzied quest for a silver bullet to understand what culture tells us about the waybusiness should be conducted, there is little debate that organisational value systems have a powerful influence(Prosci, 2010).
One key fact about culture stands out: What is important to your organisation? How are decisions made? Who is incharge? How does an employee relate to other employees and groups within your organisation? What behaviours are rewarded and recognized? What is compensation based upon? The answers to these questions vary from country to country, from industry to industry, from organisation to organisation and from institution to institution.
It is critical for all managers to understand the underlying values of their companies because these factors directly influence the employees performance and how much work will ultimately be required to ensure successful outcomes for the institution (Prosci, 2010).
It has been noticed that, “an organisational culture is so important to the organisation as in the long run, it may be the one decisive influence for the survival or fall of the organisation” (Hofstede,1998 ), and that “ Culture matters because decisions made without awareness of the operative cultural forces may have unanticipated and undesirable consequences” (Schein,2002).
Further, Schein(2002) has cautioned that researchers have underestimated the extent to which culture contributes to the performance of an organisation, as either an asset or a liability and as the explanatory construct underlying numerous organisational phenomena.
Azhar (2003) asserts that the phenomenon which often distinguishes good organisations from bad ones could be summed up as “corporate culture.” He says that the well- managed organisations apparently have distinctive cultures that are, in some way, responsible for their ability to successfully implement strategies.
He further observes that every organisation has a culture (which often includes several sub-cultures) that exerts powerful influences on the behaviour of employees and managers. Organisational Culture can be one of the most important means of improving employee’s performance.
Organisational Culture has become very important in the last 25years. Even though it is intangible in nature, it plays a role that is significant and affects employees and organisational operations. It may not guarantee success but companies with strong cultures have always,done better than their competitors.
The fact that organisations may have a strong or weak culture affects their ability to perform strategically. Culture affects not only the way managers behave within organisations but also the decisions they make about the organisation’s relationships with its environment and its strategy (McCarthy,Minichiello& Curran, 2000).
A company’s culture influences everything it does. It is the core of what the company is really like, how it operates, what it focuses on, and how it treats customers, employees, and shareholders. As a large body of research internationally proves, culture to be a driver of employee performance. Which culture to introduce and support in any company is a strategic issue.
Why is this issue important now for business leaders? Turnover at the top of the management hierarchy escalated to record levels in 2007, according to Liberum Research, primarily because executives have not altered their paradigm on how to compete successfully in the new century.
It’s the HR executive’s lead role to work with the CEO and other C-level executives to define and mold the company culture. Specifically, this study describes how an organisational culture can help companies outperform the competition and achieve unparalleled employee performance.
The world’s most successful business leaders agree that culture, if correctly aligned with the external environment, is the glue that ensures long-term organisational success. Former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, who led its spectacular transformation from a products company to a services organisation, says:
“I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game it is the game.” Jack Welch, former head of GE, regarded by many as one of the most successful and enduring CEOs of the twentieth century, observed:
“To be a winner we had to couple the ‘hard’ central idea of being first or second in growth markets with intangible ‘soft’ values to get the ‘feel’ that would define our new culture. The sentiments of Gerstner and Welch are recognized by Ritz-Carlton, which had become synonymous with luxury high-end company.
Diane Oreck, vice president and director of its Leadership Centre, says: “We don’t think culture is part of the game, we think it is the game. Everything we do is aligned with our Gold Standards.” When Ritz-Carlton saw a change in its customer base from an older, more formal clientele to younger, more diverse and individualistic customers, it realized it had become misaligned with its market.
It needed to change the meaning of its core value of “elegant service” and how it is implemented. This meant changing the approach of employees from a formal and scripted approach for all its guests to a more natural, authentic, and individualistic style.
This was recognized as a “culture shift” and required a great deal of planning, communication, and training. Oreck explains: “The training around our culture is an absolute non-negotiable. It’s the most important thing that happens absolute sacred cow.”
The observations of Gerstner, Welch, and Oreck support the importance of culture as the driver of competitive advantage and performance.
They also illustrate that all business leaders need to see their central job as proactively leading their firm’s culture for sustained superior performance. Our experience indicates that few CEOs are like Gerstner and Welch, who intuitively understood that organisational culture drives business performance.
This is understandable, as most CEOs come to the position through backgrounds other than human resources. They are experts in finance, marketing, manufacturing, and the like, and have limited formal knowledge of human psychology.
This presents a great opportunity for HR executives to influence business performance by educating CEOs on the importance of culture and how to manage it to deliver superior performance.
What distinguishes a company that has a strong culture? Leaders and staff of such companies exhibit different beliefs, values, and assumptions from inwardly focused firms. These beliefs, values, and assumptions cause every decision within the firm and all of its functional groups to begin and end with the customer.
Such an organisation has the deeply held belief that the entire company must create and deliver superior value to customers, profitably. The word profitably is strategically placed at the end of the sentence because profits are a lagging indicator of the superior value that companies create and deliver to buyers.
All employees and business functions play an important role in creating and delivering value to customers good or bad. This means that any misalignment of functions such as procurement, recruitment, finance, and operations can severely limit value created and delivered.
Let us be very clear, culture is a far more encompassing concept than simply customer focus. In my experience, customer focus is too often a platitude repeated by executives who don’t realize that customer focus is the manifestation of culture. Practice particularly by MTN is a customer oriented culture and this was chosen among other cultural types such as clan, hierarchical, adhocracy.
This dimension of culture was adopted by the company following their own ways and practice through different ways and approaches, in other to suit the environment in which the company is found and keeping in mind performance.
In this study a simplified way of measuring performance is used which leaves out measures of financial performance. This aspect was not included because of the difficulty in collecting this data from employees who would not necessarily have access to it. However, our approach includes cultural aspect of the study, which are more of market culture, hierarchy culture, teamwork and communication in nature.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
According to MTN database Performance has dropped in the number of subscribers and the number of employees of the company. The performance of the company in June 30, 2018, MTN Cameroon’s subscriber base was indicating 6.6 million subscribers while at the end of December 2017, it was 7.1 million, showing a drop of 500,000 subscribers.
Under these circumstances, the subsidiary’s EBITDA dropped by 44.1% by the end of June 30, 2018, and a counter-performance that is due to a decrease of 7% in its turnover during this period of time. The only positive performances on the list of MTN Cameroon’s counter-performances in the first six months of 2018 and 2020 are namely, an increase by 15% of its data services incomes and a surge by 71.2% of the incomes generated by digital services.
They is a drastic fall in performance which calls for concern. The MTN Group, thinks that this drop by 5.9 % of the Cameroonian subsidiary’s subscriber base is due toa difficult operation environment, impacted by frequent cultural dimensional changes, within the organisation.
According to Hilary (2020) the performance issues in the service centres just like in the new digital world, is in the midst of a significant transformation. The way that customers communicates is evolving to suit an environment that demands more agility, opportunity and flexibility.
In 2020, the first year of a decade, the environment is rife with disruption and changes in the service centres are everywhere. The frequent changes in cultural dimensions caused by putting in place strategies to face Anglophone crisis and COVID19 pandemic with its frequent shutdown in major towns.
For performance to be achievable, the service centers in this two regions rely on the input of the top management who are often referred to as the lifeblood of every organisation. So for the business operation to be conducted efficiently, it is imperative for the management to put in place good cultural dimensions for the company.
Again according to Hilary (2020), Artificial intelligence is now a standard of everyday communication, supplementing and enhancing the discussion between customers and brands. 5G technology is growing, paving the way to richer mobile experiences. There has also been an unprecedented rise in demand for new network service thank to substantial growth in these unique markets.
According to a pilot study, performance issues in the two service centres should not be attributed to the crisis or to the pandemic. Instead, the response strategies of the company should be our point of focus. It will be of greater benefit to look into other practices of the organisation before giving untested conclusions for the reason behind a geometric rate in the fall of employees in MTN and arithmetic rate in the fall of subscribers.
The inherited culture practices from MTN South Africa needs to be closely checked, as pilot study among employees gives clarity though without statistical evidence for the need of proper practicing of the inherited culture in our Cameroon context which can result to fall in performance.
According to a pilot study conducted on 10 respondents, findings reveal that workers in some selected service centres, experience cultural dimensions such as hierarchy culture,market culture, teamwork, communication, collaboration and same ideas in company activities are existing techniques to curb culture in the selected MTN service centres.
They are still rising need for continuous improvement in these cultural strategies and administration as demands on employees to perform efficiently have been prevalent in contemporary management.
The experience of culture is certainly not new in Cameroon and in MTN southwest and littoral particularly. Employees in MTN continue to experience cultural dimensions as a result of poor environmental condition, political uncertainty, poor working condition and extreme level of poverty Denison (2012).
Recently, with the outbreak of the Anglophone crisis in 2016 which has stroke Cameroon and the COVID19 pandemic whose effect was greatly felt in the world, employee’s job performance has been on a decrease during this period, due to changes in cultural dimensions to suite them.
A company’s culture is something that is being increasingly highlighted as a crucial element of a business strategy, and getting it wrong can be an expensive mistake and can be very detrimental to performance.
However, each business is different and will need to adopt a specific type of culture to suit the industry, business goals and strategy. The early writer has given to company’s roads of four main types of company culture and where you may find them in the business world and among these four types is the notorious market culture, hierarchy, clan and adhocracy.
Practicing the culture needs great understanding of what it takes, not to use every tool which may not work well for your performance. The decrease in performance of MTN maybe as a result of wrong practices in their culture.
A wrong composition of team members during advert or promotion sale, may have negatively influence performance. Market culture is not conducive or not good for the service centre and not accepted by all employees, some employees are being forced to follow a particular approach which they do not see very necessary and forcing them to it may negatively influence performance.
Hierarchy culture may be neglected by some of the levels of management in the organisation, some employees look at themselves to be old. Statements always made by these long serving are “going out for door to door advert and promotion is for new employees and not for employees with high longevity.” this may result in bad performance.
Every employee may not be at the same level in terms of communication, some may cherish ideas sharing among colleagues (extrovert) while others may be introvert. The two dimensions of people may either help the organisation to perform and stay competitive or may tarry performance.
Having the same ideology in market, being involve in market practices from top to lower level in the company, working in teams and putting in place a communication attitude, maybe assumed practices of the company.
The assumed practices may need the addition of some neglected values into the organisation; likewise, some of the assumed practices may need adjustment or complete removal for a better performance. To perform well and to stay competitive, need a proper understanding of which cultural values an organisation has to put into practice and what is needed in the practice of the culture.
This is missing in must literature under culture in the selected service centres and leave the management with no choice than to try what they think can be correct. This may be costly as it reduces the rate of performance and the competitive advantage which the service centres are seeking to gain.
The interest of the researcher at this level was not to produce a framework for the company to practice, it is to examine some of the cultural dimensions use by the service centres and to produce a clear relationship with performance which is rapidly falling, so that screening, maintenance and search for other culture tools may come up in the company to enhance performance.
The basis for the selection of the cultural values are explained in the background and in the problematic.
The research seeks to answer the following questions;
The main research question is;
How does organisational culture affects employees’ performance of selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest regions of Cameroon?
Specific research questions are;
1-What is the effect of market culture on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon?
2-What is the effect of hierarchy culture on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon?
3-What is the effect of teamwork on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon?
4-What is the effect of communication on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon?
The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of organisational culture on employees’ performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon.
The study has the following specific objectives;
1-To determine the effect of market culture on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest regions of Cameroon.
2-To determine the effect of hierarchy culture on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon.
3-To determine the effect of teamwork on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon.
4-To determine the effect of communication on employee performance in selected MTN service centres in Littoral and Southwest Regions of Cameroon.