Microsoft Corporation’s Organizational Culture & Its Characteristics (An Analysis)

Microsoft Corporation organizational culture, corporate culture characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, computer technology case study and analysis
Defense Secretary Carter at the Microsoft Cybercrime Center in Seattle, March 3, 2016. Microsoft Corporation’s organizational culture’s characteristics enable global competitiveness in the computer hardware and software market. (Photo: Public Domain)

Microsoft Corporation’s organizational culture ensures workforce resilience and capability to address business needs in the dynamic market for computer hardware and software products. A company’s corporate culture refers to the values, traditions and behavioral expectations among employees. Microsoft uses its organizational culture to facilitate innovation and customer satisfaction. As one of the leading firms in the IBM PC-compatible operating system market, the company must maintain cultural characteristics that suitably promote innovation and high quality output. Microsoft’s long-term success partly depends on its organizational culture and the corresponding competence of the company’s human resources.

Microsoft Corporation benefits from its organizational culture, which facilitates human resource competence. This organizational culture is essential to Microsoft’s success in the computer hardware and software market.

Features of Microsoft’s Organizational Culture

Companies have distinct cultural characteristics based on the nature of their businesses, industry situation, labor market conditions, and internal business processes. Microsoft Corporation’s organizational culture has the following main characteristics:

  1. Accountability
  2. Quality and Innovation
  3. Responsiveness to Customers
  4. Growth Mindset
  5. Diversity and Inclusion

Accountability. Microsoft describes its corporate culture as a culture of accountability. This cultural feature ensures that every employee understands that his actions have consequences in the company’s context. To ensure accountability, this characteristic of Microsoft’s organizational culture is applied in the form of all-employee surveys and reward and recognition programs. For example, an employee is evaluated for accountability based on Customer Partner Experience (CPE) criteria and related feedback. Such institutionalized accountability contributes to the ability of the organizational culture to motivate workers to adhere to Microsoft’s rules and objectives for its computer hardware and software business.

Quality and Innovation. As a technology business, Microsoft needs to innovate to maintain its competitiveness against other computer hardware and software firms. Innovation and quality are features integrated in the company’s organizational culture. For example, Microsoft heavily invests in research and development efforts for product improvement and new product development. Such efforts are linked to the company’s organizational culture through emphasis on quality standards and innovativeness among employees. In addition, Microsoft rewards workers for their innovative contributions, based on feedback from customers and business partners. This characteristic of the corporate culture supports the company’s needs for innovation-based competitive advantage. This cultural characteristic facilitates Microsoft’s generic strategy for competitive advantage.

Responsiveness to Customers. To ensure customer satisfaction, Microsoft Corporation includes responsiveness as a feature in its organizational culture. Responsiveness is achieved through training, so that employees effectively consider feedback from customers and partners. For example, Microsoft maintains feedback systems to allow employees to know what customers think and experience in using the firm’s computer hardware and software products. In addition, the company trains employees to listen to such feedback, instead of just reading or delegating them. To ensure that this cultural feature is integrated in its human resources, Microsoft uses a variety of tools, such as product support services and social media. The resulting information is applied in innovating product areas, such as the Windows operating system and Bing. This feature connects the organizational culture to Microsoft’s mission and vision statements, which focus on empowering customers and business partners.

Growth Mindset. Growth is a necessary part of every business. Microsoft uses its corporate culture to grow its computer hardware and software business. For example, the company trains employees to identify potential avenues for new business growth, such as new ideas and solutions. Workers are rewarded based on their contributions in this regard. This characteristic of its organizational culture affects Microsoft in terms of continued growth and resilience despite competitive rivalry in the global market.

Diversity and Inclusion. Diversity and inclusion is now seen as an essential factor in business development. Microsoft applies these factors in its organizational culture through appropriate training programs. Also, the company’s human resource policies for recruitment and hiring ensure a high level of diversity and inclusion in the organization. This organizational cultural characteristic provides a means for Microsoft to maximize human resource competence based on diverse ideas and unity among employees.

Microsoft’s Corporate Culture – Implications, Advantages & Disadvantages

Microsoft’s organizational culture supports business goals for continuing global success. Such success is based on innovation and responsiveness to customers’ concerns. These corporate cultural advantages show that Microsoft has what it takes to maintain its market position, based on satisfying needs in the computer hardware and software market.

A disadvantage of Microsoft’s organizational culture is the lack of institutionalized support for adequate autonomy. Autonomy encourages employees to contribute new and innovative ideas. Based on such disadvantage, a recommendation is for Microsoft to integrate considerable autonomy in its organizational culture.

References
  • Alvesson, M., & Sveningsson, S. (2015). Changing organizational culture: Cultural change work in progress. Routledge.
  • Guiso, L., Sapienza, P., & Zingales, L. (2015). The value of corporate culture. Journal of Financial Economics117(1), 60-76.
  • Hartnell, C. A., Kinicki, A. J., Lambert, L. S., Fugate, M., & Doyle Corner, P. (2016). Do similarities or differences between CEO leadership and organizational culture have a more positive effect on firm performance? A test of competing predictions. Journal of Applied Psychology101(6), 846.
  • Huhtala, M., Tolvanen, A., Mauno, S., & Feldt, T. (2015). The associations between ethical organizational culture, burnout, and engagement: A multilevel study. Journal of Business and Psychology30(2), 399-414.
  • Microsoft Corporation, Form 10-K.