Organizational culture is one of the most ambiguous yet crucial aspects of success in organizational and market performance. Effective culture is what sets successful organizations apart. It predetermines the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of major business operations. It creates a climate of sustainability, motivation, and continuous learning. Most organizations strive to create and sustain a unique cultural spirit that would motivate employees to operate beyond their capacity towards the most ambitious strategic goals. Yet, few businesses have been as successful in establishing a culture of effectiveness as the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando. This paper is to analyze the most important components of the organizational culture at Gaylord Palms and determine its characteristics that are most significant relative to ensuring the hotel’s continuous organizational growth.
Organizational culture is a complex organism. It has considerable effects on everything that happens within the organization. It is multi-layered and multidimensional, comprising artifacts, espoused values, and basic values and assumptions (Dev, 2013). Given the complexity of an organizational culture, it should be closely aligned with the strategic goals and choices of the selected organization, while allowing employees and other stakeholders to make sense of the proposed strategy and their role in making it real. At Gaylord Palms, Orlando, storytelling represents the fundamental component of the organizational culture. It is through stories and effective communication that the organizational culture at Gaylord Palms creates meaning for its members (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). It engages employees in a continuous process of learning, coupled with interactions and fun activities (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). The organizational culture welcomes participation and knowledge sharing, which facilitate strategic learning. The latter makes it easier for the members of the organization to identify their place within the organizational hierarchy and outline the meaning of their work both tactically and strategically.
Here, informal organizational controls also come into play. In essence, informal organizational controls cover a broad spectrum of social processes and structures, which inform and guide employee behaviors (Sitkin, Cardinal, & Bijlsma-Frankema, 2010). Organizational culture is one of the most potent mechanisms of informal controls in companies. At Gaylord Palms, such informal controls operate as a two-way street. On the one hand, the organization controls and manages employee behaviors by offering rewards and punishments (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). On the other hand, employees control their supervisors and managers, by applying to the employment guarantee (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). It means that, once the conditions of work no longer fulfill the promise given to new hirees, they have the right to contact the general manager directly and inform him of the problem (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). The employment guarantee can be regarded as an informal instrument of gaining trust and commitment among employees, while allowing them to maintain regular communication and enjoy easy access to top management in problematic situations.
Actually, it is through trust, commitment, open communication, and storytelling that the organizational culture at Gaylord Palms ensures the success of the organization’s strategic choices. The organizational culture at Gaylord Palms is a rare example of a perfect culture-strategy fit. It motivates and inspires employees to the extent, which reinforces their commitment to the organization and their focus on delivering stellar customer-oriented service. All employees at Gaylord Palms are STARS (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). They work hard to meet the quality expectations of their customers and supervisors. The better they work, the greater bonuses they earn (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). Beyond monetary rewards, all employees enjoy a privileged position within a company that remains one of the best places to work in the hospitality industry. Overall, the organizational culture at Gaylord Palms creates a shared pattern of motivation, passion, and integrity which together enhance the organization’s capacity for external flexibility and adaptation (Dev, 2013). It ensures that the company has sufficient internal resources to anticipate and react to the emerging strategic challenges.
Values play not the last role in maintaining an image of cultural prosperity at Gaylord Palms. The values espoused by the organization include: service, integrity, respect, citizenship, creativity, excellence, and passion (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). Of these, service, excellence and passion seem to be the most salient, as related to the organization’s culture. Service and excellence are at the heart of everything done at Gaylord Palms. Employees adopt a service-oriented stance to become more sensitive and responsive to the needs of diverse customers. Simultaneously, they pursue excellence in their workplace performance. Not surprisingly, the levels of customer satisfaction at Gaylord Palms are among the highest in the hospitality industry (Griffin & Moorhead, 2013). The organizational culture at Gaylord Palms is effective enough to yield outstanding business, financial and customer-oriented results.
Organizations rest on different cultural principles. What unites them is the concept of effectiveness (or ineffectiveness). An effective culture is that, which supports organizational growth and development and minimizes the risks of strategic failure (Dev, 2013). The organizational culture at Gaylord Palms can be regarded as effective for several reasons. Firstly, it has been instrumental in improving the quality of employee and organizational performance. Secondly, it has been uniquely aligned with the goals and priorities of strategic development at Gaylord Palms. Since its inception, the entire business has been committed to making ideal customer service a reality. The organizational culture within the hotel encouraged workers to make a solid contribution to its performance, thus creating the most favorable environment for delivering excellent customer service. Thirdly, the organizational culture at Gaylord Palms is effective as long as it brings employees, supervisors, and general managers closer to each other in the analysis of strategic issues and productive collaboration to achieve the desired result. Griffin and Moorhead (2013) confirm that regular communication among the staff and across organizational ranks improves supervisory responsiveness to organizational and employees concerns. As a result, any issues that could impede strategic growth at Gaylord Palms are resolved before they translate into an organizational disaster.
I believe that the most significant elements of Gaylord Palms’ organizational culture as related to the success of its strategic direction include stories and espoused values. Apparently, the whole atmosphere at Gaylord Palms is about communication, interaction, storytelling, and sense making. Stories remind people at Gaylord Palms that they are talented, valuable, productive, motivated, and effective. Espoused values guide routine decision and everyday activities that aim to satisfy the most demanding customers. These shared values and stories make up a unique cultural environment that underlies Gaylord Palms’ strategic successes. The dynamics of the organizational culture in the hotel reflects a shared understanding of its principles and philosophies among supervisors and employees. It gives an impetus for pursuing continuous growth in the best interests of the major stakeholders.
In summary, the organizational culture at Gaylord Palms is a compelling example of an ideal culture-strategy fit. It is also an example of an effective culture, which facilitates organizational growth and development. Gaylord Palms’ organizational culture motivates and inspires employees to act beyond their capacity. It gives a sense of pride and lays the groundwork for meeting the organization’s strategic points. This culture promotes a shared understanding of the cultural norms and values that inform the direction of competitive evolution within the organization. Through storytelling, communication, and supervisory responsiveness, this culture revitalizes the importance of trust, collaboration, informal controls, passion for work, and customer-oriented service in concert with excellence, continuous learning, and teamwork.
- Dev, S. (2013). Assessing and understanding organizational culture: Various views and theories. Indian Streams Research Journal, 3(5), 1-11.
- Griffin, R.W., & Moorhead, G. (2013). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
- Sitkin, S.B., Cardinal, L.B., & Bijlsma-Frankema, K.M. (2010). Organizational control. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.