The influence of organizational culture on the managerial functions of a Christian social service agency in Hong Kong

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The influence of organizational culture on the managerial functions of a Christian social service agency in Hong Kong


Author: Peng, Kin-tak
Title: The influence of organizational culture on the managerial functions of a Christian social service agency in Hong Kong
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1998
Subject: Corporate culture -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
Social service -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
Social work administration -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: iv, [4], 107 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: The study of organizational culture, especially in the business organizations of Western countries is popular. However, study of organizational culture in social service agencies was limited. Organizational culture is a reflection of agency objectives, values, panning, monitoring, selection, mode of recruitment, coordination, and artifacts etc. However, culture is hidden and interactive, when the establishment of culture becomes mature, it will influence agency's managerial functions, for example, planning, recruitment and selection, measurement of performance appraisal, etc. The researcher adopts the Schein's (1985) three levels of culture and the daily managerial functions from working experience, a framework of this investigation. As a result, four main types (planning, personnel, service marketing, and artifacts) were divided into a matrix of twenty three categories. These categories were formulated for exploring the agency culture. Qualitative method was employed to study organizational culture in a Christian social service organization in Hong Kong. Six first-line supervisors participated in semi-structured interviews, to present their perceptions on organizational culture of the agency. It was found that four key factors affect agency's managerial functions. They include Christianity, the leadership style in the top management, Chinese culture, and social work values. These factors can be explained by 'in-group' (internal) recruitment, 'narrow' preference selection, spreading the Gospel as agency ultimate objectives, thrifty and pragmatic thoughts in planning, core values of love, care and concern etc. The findings provide comprehensive understanding of agency's culture under study. Christianity is the most determinate factor of organizational culture of the agency. A new style of organizational culture is produced in the agency. Trained social workers are facing the tension from the organizational culture because of the struggles between Christianity and social work values. Misunderstanding existing organizational culture, mid-level supervisors with social work trained may feel unsatisfactory or even frustrated towards the agency. Organizational culture affects selection and recruitment as a 'in-group' style. It maintains harmony, but the internally recruited staff may difficult to manage. These understanding have important bearings on the social welfare administration in the agency or other social service agencies with Christian background. First, top management's awareness of unique culture is important in formulating agency's policies and planning. Top management should make a balance between these four key factors. Second, first-line supervisors should be aware of the culture so as to adjust their expectation and working attitude towards the agency's standard. Third, for staff orientation and staff development programs, the top management may organize more education programs or informal activities about the culture of the agency, to increase their acceptance and respect to the agency. Finally, formulating a standard form of interviewing guide about organizational culture for further studies, especially for social service agencies with Christian background, is recommended.

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