According to Handy (1999) “Each organisation, each part of an organisation, has a culture, and a structure and systems appropriate to that culture” showing it is essential to have a strong understanding of how the cultures work. Enz (2010) and the OECD (1998) believe that an organisation’s culture can be an immense strength or an impactful weakness which is why creating a good culture can be critical to the success or failure of an organisation. This academic personal reflection will discuss and critically evaluate many concept theories on an organisation’s culture whilst focusing on my two placements, the first being BAA and the second ARIV. The purpose of my placement was to utilise and maximise my time whilst putting theories into real practises (Tse 2010; Chon and Maier 2010). “Organisational culture consists of intangible attributes of an organisation such as attitudes, values, beliefs, norms and customs” according to Pizam and Holcomb (2013) so my research concentrates on mission statements, values, structure and ethics.
Mission Statements and Values
Mission statements of a company should define its identity and how it sets it apart from other corporations (Pearce and David 1987; Bouchikhi and Kimberly; Rao and Krishna 2009). The mission statement defines what the company is according to Enz (2010) and that of BAA (see appendix 1) is an excellent example. It maximises the use of flavour words, words which when you hear them begin to create an image. The trend throughout is very clear with the use of words such as “luxury”, “dreams”, “shine”, etc. It reinforces that BAA will do their best to create an ultimate experience. They implement this through regular “Creating Ultimate Experiences” (also known as CUE) talks and training sessions. Another method of implementation is via their 11 Golden Rules and Jumeirah Hallmarks (see appendix 2). Staff are required to have a copy of this small handbook with them at all times and to be able to recite them on demand. Whilst the concept is good, it puts pressure on staff, who already have busy work schedules, to be constantly studying these and other training material in their spare time. BAA is a prime example of the infamous long hours that is part of the Hospitality Industry that leads to low staff satisfaction and a low staff retention rate, 24% whilst I was there. Nevertheless, many of my colleagues had been there for a long time which also shows a degree of loyalty.
Some hotel employees that had been there for 7 or 8 years were often still a waiter (or other bottom levelled job) or had just moved up to a supervisory role and led me to question the guiding principles of the company, specifically, “continuous growth” (see appendix 2 and 3) which is based on the concept of an employee growing within the company. This clearly wasn’t happening at the bottom level staff with not much evidence of it occurring at management level either. A pattern seemed to emerge of people in this position mainly that they were from certain countries, mostly India or the Philippines. I was interested as to why this was and was told that they were content to live here, spending very little of their salary and sending most of it home to their dependent families. It is beneficial for the migrants as they are getting paid much more than they would in their home countries for the same position and, in turn, it also benefits the hotel. It could be argued not to be ethical as it could be said to be a form of exploitation. Chan and Siu (2010) point out that managers often hold the view that the more overtime given the better as the immigrants are all eager to earn more money to send home. There may be some truth in this, but to what extent? There isn’t a clear line as to when it becomes exploitation, for example in my opinion a 90 hour work week came as a surprise to me as it is considered normal during the peak season in BAA’s Banquets team. The advantages to the hotel