Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Corporate Structure and Corporate Culture

Ideally, corporate structure and corporate culture are aligned so that employees find a cohesive environment where expectations are clear. Unfortunately, corporate structure and corporate culture are often two different realities. The wise manager will recognize this and may even contribute to the alignment of the culture and the structure.

One place that the discrepancy between structure and culture is seen is in the area of security. Consider the following essay on Security Structure Should Match the Corporate Culture found here.

Glen Kitteringham has worked in the security industry since 1990. He holds a masters degree in security and crime risk management from the University of Leicester. He is a member of ASIS International. In this essay Kitteringham discusses 4 models: Functional culture/facilities model; Process culture/operations model; Networked culture/advisory model; and Time-based culture/revenue generation model. These models are helpful in considering the alignment of corporate structure and corporate culture. Kitteringham's view is that structure must follow culture.

Security Structure Should Match the Corporate Culture
Glen Kitteringham

"Often a company's culture dictates whether the security department emphasizes service or focuses on enforcement and control. Understanding a company's corporate culture will help identify how to structure a security department's role within the corporation. This article examines four corporate cultures and corresponding models for shaping a company's security department.

Functional culture/facilities model
The functional culture is traditional and hierarchical where bosses boss and workers work. It relies on proven methods to serve existing markets, establishing clear work processes and respecting the chain of command. In this environment, security departments tend to be primarily concerned with maintaining the status quo. Departments tend to follow the facilities model — energy is consumed in the physical protection of the organization with such functions as guard operations and access control.

Traditionally, security has followed this functional culture with a military command structure. The general role of the security manager is to provide consistency while staff carry out their expected responsibilities. There is little room for advancement or for security to be involved in more than the physical protection of the facility. Whether the functional structure fits in well in many modern companies in a variety of sectors is open to debate. In non-traditional work environments, employees are moving away from — or not participating in — this traditional work setting.

Process culture/operations model
In the process culture, customer satisfaction and continuously improved operations are the primary goals. It relies on increased customer focus with emphasis on providing a number of specialized services.

Within this culture, security departments are designed on the operations model. This model brings added value by assisting in investigations, and providing a system design group, console operations, a safety unit, executive protection and administrative support staff.

The process-based culture lends itself well to the modern security department. It calls for cooperation between management and staff with its team emphasis on work. Staff members are expected to provide a high level of service to customers without constant attention of the security manager. The manager now performs a far different function wherein he or she acts as a two-way conduit between senior management who desire general security precautions and guidelines to be carried out, and the front line security personnel who are charged with the responsibility of carrying out general security duties. This process-based security manager is also expected to keep senior management apprised of upcoming security issues requiring attention. This structure is like an hourglass but instead of sand, information flows from one chamber to the next back and forth on a regular basis. Additionally, security personnel provide expertise in several areas, across departments and ranging from line operations to the boardroom.

Networked culture/advisory model
Networked culture is designed around alliances that bring together the necessary proficiencies and competencies to successfully complete a specific venture. Attributes include emphasis on a core group of professionals concentrating on capitalization of opportunity, creativity, innovation and building alliances with others. The advisory model takes a different approach to security operations in decentralized organizations. It is staffed by professionals involved in setting policy, strategic planning and acting as a referral center for specialized needs of external groups and agencies.

From a professional perspective, the networked culture may be the wave of the future, but it is more suited to senior corporate security consultants who are more concerned with specialized projects and less about the day-to-day operations of providing constant service. In a practical sense, the consultants would be brought in to establish a security presence, evaluate present processes, write procedures, hire the security manager, and make further recommendations to management about security before terminating their contract. Their mandate is to provide a highly specialized service and leave the daily operations to the officers and supervisors.

Time-based culture/revenue generation model
Time-based culture incorporates, among other things, a search to move new products and services to the market. Attributions include developing new products and services, pioneering new methodologies and maximizing a return on fixed assets. The revenue generation model for a security department is based on providing a specific product or service at a price to either internal or external customers. The basis of the model is to provide added value and emphasis on customer service.

The time-based culture is more suited to a highly commercial security service that is already established and capable of providing a variety of services such as contract security in the long term, along with specialized investigations, consulting, and emergency response planning and execution. In one way, it is a cross between the process and networked cultures. These services are what most contract security, consulting and investigative agencies claim to be able to provide but rarely do."

Questions for Consideration

1. Why would employees in modern companies move away from or seek to ignore the Functional Culture/Facilities approach to security?

2. How much authority does a manager have in regards to security in this model?

3. Describe cultures where the Functional Culture/Facilites approach to security works well.

4. Kitteringham uses the analogy of an hour glass to describe the Process Culture/Operations Model. Explain how the manager works in this setting.

5. The Networked Culture/Advisory Model applies more to the executive level of business. Research this approach and name 1 corporation that uses this model.

6. Delivering of a new product to the marketplace ahead of the competition is a real part of doing business today. Time and security is of the essence in the Time-based Culture/Revenue Generation Model. Describe how the manager facilitates fast and secure delivery in this context.

7. Explain why Kitteringham says, "These services are what most contract security, consulting and investigative agencies claim to be able to provide but rarely do." What does he want the reader to do with this statement? (You will want to refer to the original article. Click here.)

8. What ethical issues are typical when there is a discrepancy between company structure and company culture?


Alice C. Linsley said...

BAS 486 students are to answer the Questions of Consideration. Record answers in your BAS Notebook. We will discuss your answers and ideas in class.

Unknown said...

Along with Corporate Culture incorporation of Corproate Governance will help the management keep a Wealthy record. To know more visit the Corporate Governance Website and 600+ resources on Boards and Corporate Governance.