This posting is a reprint of an article I wrote for my MBA.  It fills the space and helps set the stage so to speak for future posts.

Organizational culture is a critical aspect of what makes an organization what it is.  It is not the only way in which to define a group or organization, but offers researchers and management a means to classify common values and goals within a certain group of people.  It is one significant issue of concern and study by many researchers (Denison 1996). Aspects of organizational culture include the history, symbology, and myths of an organization.  Along with the tenets and motivations of the founders and or CEO.  The culture is what each employee perceives and experiences and this creates a patter of beliefs and expectations about the culture.  (Ivancevich 2008).
The culture of an organization, good or bad exerts influence on the individual employees.  This can be both a positive influence and a negative influence.  A positive culture can increase worker productivity, customer service, morale, limit turnover, and improve efficiency. (Van Fleet & Griffin 200).  A negative culture can cause strife, counter productive goals, high turnover, moral loss, and even lead to violence in the workplace. (Balthazard, Cooke, Potter 2006)
A corporate culture, whether good or bad, can be strong.  A strong culture is one on which the employees share a core set of values.  These values characterize the nature of the culture.  If teamwork is fostered and an open dialog among colleagues is encouraged, this often creates a positive and collaborative culture.  Whereas secrecy and a top down beratement as values can create a negative culture.  (Wilson & Madsen 2008)
Negative corporate culture can be a firm with no clear goals or mission and a diverse mix of employees who lack fulfillment. (Maslow 1970)  A negative culture can also be dysfunctional.  Dysfunctional behavior falls within the broader definition of anti social behavior.  In extreme cases, it can be directly linked to personality disorders as described by the DSM IV-TR (Goldman 2006).  Dysfunctional culture has often been linked to the individual, as more often the individual is the cause of some sort of anti social behavior.  If many individuals exist in a corporation or the individuals are in high leadership then the entire culture of an organization can take on this dysfunction and present as a dysfunctional culture. (Goldman 2006)  An organization can display dysfunctional behavior in a few ways.  According to Berkowitz (Van Fleet & Griffin 2006) dysfunctional culture leads to bad behavior by “creating social conditions that promote violence by generating aggressive inclinations” or by “lowering the restraints against violent actions”.  Often dysfunctional behavior falls within the category of antisocial behavior as well (Van Fleet & Griffin 2006).
Quantifying culture presents some challenges for researchers and management.  Every member of the company may perceive and interpret the values and signs and symbols of the culture uniquely and thus act and respond based on their own past experiences and predispositions.  (Ivancevich 2008)  There is a lack of concurrence by researchers as to how to classify some of the baseline metrics used to evaluate positive and negative cultures (Hofstede 1990).  Finding a means to classify and qualitatively categorize culture is important.
I began to seek out more information of dysfunctional culture and the impact it could have on a workplace.  In my literature searches, I found that there was little quantitative data on dysfunctional culture and only limited data on how to quantify a positive culture in an organization on common metrics of productivity, efficiency and cost.  I refined my search to journals on organizational management/behavior, psychology, business management, public health/policy and assorted tests and books.  As I have worked for firms with dysfunctional culture and even toxic leadership this was a topic of great interest and value to me.  I have worked at facilities where ex convicts were hired and I had to deal with knife fights and beatings among staff on a regular basis and manage aspects of diversity not limited to race, culture, skill, age, language but locale and gang affiliation.
My proposed research project will focus on methods to evaluate and identify dysfunctional cultures in hopes of determining ways to solve this problem.  From my own personal experience, I hypothesize that working in a dysfunctional culture will lead to loss of morale, productivity, and cause apathy and high turn over.  My study hypothesis is that it is possible to correlate both individual and leadership dysfunction and organizational dysfunctional culture throughout an organization.  All of these results are clearly shown to have a negative impact on the organization ability to achieve its goals (Denison 1996).  With extensive study over the years, there are many indicators that variables can predict effectiveness, but few that have developed a rating system to rank the level of culture or dysfunction (Kotter & Heskett 1992). 
The problem of dysfunctional culture clearly exists and anecdotally one can see how toxic leadership and dysfunctional individuals and leaders could influence the entire corporate structure.  The literature is missing a means to codify the impact of these individuals on the entire organization and a means to codify the extent of the dysfunctional culture and its effect on the metrics of productivity and efficiency.  Answering these questions may allow other managers to make better choices involving retaining staff and dealing with staff that will create a more positive corporate culture.
The costs of living with dysfunction in the workplace can be tremendous.  With a dysfunctional leadership, you loose talented employees and constantly have to retrain and recruit staff.  This impairs stability and hastens the loss of proprietary knowledge to leave the organization (Sutton 2007)(Griffin and O’Leary-Kelly, 2004).  In addition, in extreme cases violence can be the end result of dysfunction (Van Fleet &  Griffin 2006).  According to a study by Northwestern Life Insurance Company in 1993, over 2 million US workers are physically attacked at the workplace annually.  The public safety implications alone make this topic relevant and worthy of further study.
While drawing from multiple sources, the main articles I have based my proposal on are as follows:
Dysfunctional culture, dysfunctional organization: Capturing the behavioral norms that form organizational culture and drive performance.  By Pierre A. Balthazard, Robert A. Cooke, and Richard E. Potter published in Journal of Managerial Psychology.
The authors aim to describe how organizational culture is manifested by behavior and employee expectation.  An early tenet of this paper is the authors believe “The dysfunctional organization, much like a dysfunctional individual, is so characterized because it exhibits markedly lower effectiveness, efficiency, and performance…”  The authors go on to cite examples of how NASA allowed a culture to continue that contributed to both the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters(Vaughn 1996). I was reminded of aspects of Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point in terms of how dysfunctional culture can reach a critical mass and become out of control within an organization (Gladwell 2008).  The authors believe that organizational culture is the glue that holds organizations together.  With support from Gerstner, (2002) they feel it is the paramount aspect of organizational culture.  This paper delves into the use of the Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) a statistically validated and normed assessment used for organizational change purposes. The authors believe this to be the most widely used instrument in the world.  OCI measures 12 distinct but interrelated sets of behavioral norms and expectations that describe the thinking and actions that might be required for employees to fit into the culture.  The authors go on to state that some aspects of organizational culture may be changed while others are intractable. 
I selected this article as it provided statistically valid instrument to help quantify behavior and how to classify it based on expected behavior.  The OCI used 12 norms that are divided into constructive, passive, and aggressive styles.  These also are tied to the basic needs of satisfaction, people contact, security, and task all taking on a Maslow style needs model as well (Maslow 1954, 1970).  It was also helpful to see an instrument designed to quantify culture based on a number of content and process theories of motivation. 
The authors state their paper was written to describe how organization culture in manifested in behavioral norms.  It supports my hypothesis in that is has an instrument and shows outcomes associated with aggressive/negative behaviors and how they impact organizational culture, especially the impact on a dysfunctional culture.  If in my further research, I need to identify key aspects for an organization to change in order to shift from dysfunctional to functional a derivative of the OCI or an extension will be helpful. It has also helped validate my hypothesis that these dysfunctional behaviors do have an effect on organizational culture.
High toxicity leadership: Borderline personality disorder and the dysfunctional organization.  By Alan Goldman published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology.
Goldman aims to assess highly toxic personality disorders in leaders, and the implications for organizations.  He also examines possible interventions and methods to assessment of these dysfunctional and toxic behaviors without being versed in clinical psychology.  The author points to the literature showing a link between high toxicity leadership and its impact on organizational systems.  A pop culture example of this is Steve Jobs from Apple Inc.  In his early years as co founder, he was mercurial and abusive to his staff (Young & Simon 2005 & Rose 1989).  Ultimately his style of leadership burned out talented and creative employees (Landrum 1993) and caused conflicts with his new CEO John Scully and the board of directors.  He was ultimately removed from the company.  Many years he returned to Apple to choreograph its very successful return to a top tier firm.  Employees that lived through the early Mr. Jobs and the later Mr. Jobs have said he is still demanding but now inspiring and motivational instead of abusive (pers. Comm., Young & Simon 2005). While its unknown how Steve Jobs changed his management style from toxic to masterful, base don the past decade of success for Apple he has managed to have a positive cultural effect on the company.
Goldman goes into detail with the DSM IV-TR from the American Psychiatric Association manual for dysfunctional and anti social behavior.  He then focuses on a case study of the Sergio Mondo Fashion House in Miami and looks at the toxic leadership, its impact on others and the company.  Goldman also theorizes that aspects of the DSM can be applied to the organization and not just an individual.  While this statement needs extensive research and validation, it is just the sort of tool my hypothesis could use to help examine the problem of dysfunctional corporate culture.
I selected this article because of its use of a quantified instrument, the DSM, and the concept that senior leadership toxicity can impact the entire organization.  I have personally experienced senior leadership behavior in ineffective and borderline dysfunctional ways that have harmed the culture of the company.  The narrative of the article is useful as it shows a real world example of the process of identifying the toxic behavior(s) and how the relate to the dysfunction of the organizational culture.  Applying this approach may prove to be a part of the methods used to study my hypothesis.
Dysfunctional organizational culture: The role of leadership in motivating dysfunctional work behaviors. By David D. Van Fleet, and Ricky W. Griffin published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology.
The authors’ goal was to expand upon the study of dysfunctional behavior and the roles of the organization in influencing these behaviors.  They propose the practical implications of their work is to show that dysfunctional behavior manifestations are most likely to occur as a result of individuals with a high level of dysfunction and an organization that tolerates a high level of dysfunction.  This paper also brings up a very relevant aspect violence in the workplace.  Much dysfunction influences merely productivity and retention and related metrics, but severe dysfunction can lead to violence in the workplace.  If the culture of the organization implicitly condones aggressive actions without recourse, this form of dysfunction can translate to the perception of a dysfunctional employee(s) in acting on the value that aggression/violence is condoned.  The authors point out much of the past research focused on the individual and not the organization in terms of dysfunctional behavior.  This paper goes on to link the role of the organization, group and individual as equal factors in creating a dysfunctional culture.
I found this article helpful in supporting my hypothesis in that is studies the fact that the individual spends more time at the workplace than at home in many cases.  The organization has an obligation to provide a healthy and supportive workspace and deal with the dysfunction.  In addition, the factors of the organization like work hours pressure, stress, flexibility, and needs can influence the individual to become more dysfunctional.  I can use the theory that leaders play a role in eliciting a dysfunctional response from employees.  As leader behaviors are observed and taught and if the leadership ignores dysfunction and fails to act or exhibits toxic leadership this will have an impact on the culture.  My interpretation of the article is that there is a link between individual and leadership roles that can cause dysfunction to spread in either direction.  In extreme cases where both sides of the equation exhibit dysfunction, there is a higher propensity of violence in the workplace.
I also drew from several business texts on management culture and organizational behavior.  Along with the textbook by Ivancevich et al, I used the following texts:
The Dysfunctional Workplace.  By Peter Morris, published by Adams Media.
The author, Peter Morris is a radio personality on business management topics.  In this book, he covers topics ranging from need of a humane safe and secure workplace harkening to Maslow’s Hierarchy (Maslow).  He also explores individual dysfunction and leader dysfunctional and offers strategies for the workplace in hoe to handle these.  He concludes with examples and models of healthy relationships and values and examples of good cultures in his opinion.
While not a peer reviewed journal, I feel Morris is qualified to provide insights to this topic and he helped provide some real world examples from current business.  Aspects that hit home for me were how to deal with an absentee boss and one whom steals ideas. 
My interpretation of dysfunctional organizational culture includes behaviors from management that elicit negative behaviors from the employees, and this text provides some examples of poor behaviors.  I took from this text a general feel for the level of dysfunction that can take place as well as the seeming presence of some dysfunction at all workplaces.
The No Asshole Rule – Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t by Robert Sutton published by Warner Business Books. 
Aside from the rather intriguing title, this book attempts to place a general dollar amount on dysfunctional leadership.  The costs on Human Resource intervention, re recruitment for vacant positions and even defense of employee claims against management.  The book also gives strategies for avoiding and dealing with the ‘asshole boss’. 
The text supports my proposal as I feel the costs associated with dysfunction will help drive my research to be conducted and give management impetus to commit to the research and study the outcomes in hopes of minimizing some of these costs of dysfunction.
Few companies would willingly allow a controlled scientific study involving control and experimental groups to be conducted.  Knowing the past literature and the impacts including violence (Goldman 2006) no firm will take on that risk.  All research will have to come in the form of a retroactive study or be done dynamically though a network of executive coaches or consultants.  Often companies experience dysfunction hire coaches and consultants to help identify the problems and help devise a means to solve the problem.  My proposal will rely on a trained network of these consultants to evaluate and quantify the behaviors at the employee and management level. 
Expanding upon the OCI model and the Denison model of culture (Dennison 1996) it can be determined how organizations empower their staff and where they fall on the OCI model.  The ideal candidate to participate would be organization experiencing allow productivity, high employee turnover, low morale and generally a poor culture that could be classified as dysfunctional.  Within the organization, all aspects of the staff and management should be assessed as the dysfunctional culture is pervasive and cab ne found to have an impact at all levels of the individual, human resources or management (Hall 2007).
I have successfully conducted retroactive studies in other disciplines and feel there is some possibility to use historical data from interviews and notes from consultants.  The flaw to this approach is inconsistency between various field observers and their findings.  Sending in trained observers to help assess the organization is the better approach but requires both finical and academic resources to properly fund, train and place the researchers.  This would be the best approach as these trained researchers could use a rubric for observations and provide standardized observations among many facilities. Values like personal fulfillment, responsibility, trust, team spirit, adaptation, communication, and the corresponding managerial processes are the best aspects to study in a quantitative fashion (Kotter and Heskett).
Analysis of the data will prove interesting as no other studies evaluating the level of toxic leadership or individual and the correlation to dysfunctional culture has been conducted.  Statistical analysis of the data looking for significance based on population size and consistency of data will need to be done before any conclusions may be drawn. While the OCI model does not fully permit quantification of dysfunction, it does allow the quantification of aggressive tendencies that are related to dysfunctional culture.  This instrument can be correlated to the other findings to help draw conclusions between OCI results and the tendency to have a dysfunctional culture.
Assessing corporate culture by looking at individual and leader dysfunction will hopefully lead to a direct correlation between the extent of dysfunctional individuals and the extent of dysfunction in the organization.  Further study could further refine and validate a construct or model to evaluate this type of dysfunction and make correlation to limit workplace violence and manage the dysfunctional culture.
The literature shows dysfunctional individuals are omnipresent in nearly every workplace (Morris 2008 ).  Literature also shows that toxic leadership can influence corporate culture causing loss of productivity and efficiency and increasing costs (Sutton 2007). Looking at all of this research, it may help managers make courageous decisions to better manage the human resources whether they be workers or leaders that contribute to the dysfunction and toxic environment.  It has been shown that many business decisions are affected by cognitive biases and if management can see the impact dysfunction plays in the bottom line they may be more willing to make tough decisions (Hall, 2007 ).
With knowledge of how the organization is dysfunctional, management could socialize new employees begin a successful cultural change in an attempt to reverse direction.  In terms of some of the individual toxic behaviors, enhancing spirituality in the workplace may mitigate some of the stress and pressure that leads to dysfunction.
Balthazard, Pierre A., Cooke, Robert A., & Potter, Richard E. (2006). Dysfunctional culture, dysfunctional organization Capturing the behavioral norms that form organizational culture and drive performance. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(8), 709-732.
Denison, D.R. (1996). What is the difference between organizational culture and organizational climate? A native’s point of view on a decade of paradigm wars. Academy of Management Review, 21(3), 619-654.
Gladwell, Malcom (2002). The Tipping Point How little things can make a big difference. Little Brown and Company.
Goldman, Alan (2006). High toxicity leadership Borderline personality disorder and the dysfunctional organization. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(8), 733-746.
Hall, Kath (2007). Looking beneath the surface The impact of psychology on corporate decision making. Managerial Law, 49(3), 93-105.
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Ivancevich, John M., Konopaske, Robert, & Matteson, Michael T. (2008). Organizational Behavior and Management. (8th ed.) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin
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Vaughn, D. (1996). The Challenger launch decision: risky technology, culture and deviance at NASA. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
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