Corporate Culture and the Enterprise Architect

All companies have their own unique corporate culture which is evident in their work environment. Also known as company culture, corporate culture stands for the company’s values, beliefs and behaviors (Kotelnikov, 2009). Usually expressed in companies’ vision and mission statements, it also gives the company and its employees a united identity. Company cultures are distinctive – they are unique to each company’s history.

Similar to a person’s personality, corporate culture is the result of the assimilation of all the values, habits, ethics, and goals that the company has developed over the years (Heathfield, 2009).

The growth experience has enabled companies to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and company goals. From these, they build their vision statements for the company. Thus, whether they describe the kind of customer service their company offers or the integrity and progressive-thinking their company has, vision statements essentially make up companies desired corporate culture. Corporate culture drives the company’s working environment and organizational structure. It is represented in each employee’s language, priorities, work practice and business decisions (Heathfield, 2009).
Every single employee has a hand in shaping the company’s environment and corporate culture. Though company founders and executives draft the desired and beneficial culture, all employees contribute to its actualization. Still, there is not any underestimating work leaders’ capacity for influencing and instructing lower-level employees regarding the proper interpretation and practice of their company’s corporate culture. Even more so if the leader’s opinions and actions are witnessed and followed by many employees. One such work leader with the opportunity to influence fellow employees is the Enterprise Architect (EA).
On paper, the EA works for the company’s Information Technology (IT) side. However, the dynamic roles and responsibilities requires the EA to constantly cross boundaries and priorities between the business and technology processes thereby allowing him or her to have influence on both aspects. Adams described the EA as the technology strategy manager and implementer (cited in Walker, 2007). The EA acts as a project manager responsible for handling a wide p of IT domains such security, infrastructure and information architecture (Walker, 2007).
He or she is also in charge of creating and developing the company’s IT strategy. The EA directs the current state of IT architecture, and plans the needed improvements. The EA defines the future of their company’s technology and also build the transition technology (Walker, 2007). At the same time, he or she should prioritize the business side of the company and consider business cost savings, advance vendor relations and empower his or her staff (Walker, 2007). The EA is also accountable to following the company’s corporate culture and standards.
He or she must be able to successfully and effectively merge the interests and priorities of IT strategies and organizational policies and standards. Being the EA allows one much responsibility and influence over many employees, even crossing the boundaries of the technology and business aspects of the company. It is vital then that the EA believes and is directed by his or her company’s corporate culture. By doing so, he or she identifies with the company visions and goals, and shares its business practices.
Heathfield (2009) writes that company cultures envision and work towards the creation of a productive and enriching environment. Therefore by aligning one’s own values with that of the company, the EA increases his or her motivation for working making him or her more productive and effective. Also, an EA who believes in the corporate culture believes that he or she is working under desirable work environment. Apart from increasing his or her motivation, the EA also has an improved loyalty and therefore longevity with the company.
According to Walker (2007), an EA needs not only to be technology proficient but also business savvy. Knowing the industry and the company culture helps the EA understand how the much and what kind of technology will affect and advance the entire company (Walker, 2007). An EA who is aware and agrees with the corporate culture, the personality of the company, is better suited in building IT processes and executing IT strategies that complement business functions. The knowledge of the corporate culture definitely results into competence and confidence for the EA.
Walker (2007) believes that this consequently adds to his or her credibility and leadership skills. If the EA him or her self believes and behaves according to the tenets of their company culture and goals, then he or she is seen as a credible and trustworthy leader. The EA is able to effectively pass on the vision of the company to the lower-level employees thereby helping them identify with the company and encouraging them to perform remarkable work. As a leader, the EA holds responsibility in training and making sure that all IT staff is performing at top level.
He or she should also be able to foster productive collaborations and intimacies amongst teams and between employees and the company (Kouzes & Posner, 2003). Since value alignment between employees and culture increases efficiency and passion to work, the EA must also inspire all workers to believe and participate in their culture (Walker). Heathfield (2009) asserts that corporate culture is learned and is shared through interaction. Thus the EA must be an effective and reliable model for the team. He or she must inspire others by becoming an example of the virtues and behavior he or she asks of others.
The value of the EA being directed by his or her company’s culture is beneficial for the company, the EA him or her self, and the other employees under the influence of the EA. Their behavior and beliefs shape and actualize the corporate culture. It also improves their motivation for their work thereby increasing their productivity and chances of successfully reaching the goals of their organization. References Heathfield, S. M. (2009). Culture: Your environment for people at work. About. com Retrieved February 27, 2009 from http://humanresources.
about. com/od/organizationalculture/a/culture. htm Kouzes J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2003) The Leadership Challenge Workbook. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass Kotelnikov, V. (2009). What is corporate culture?. Business E-coach. Retrieved February 27, 2009 from http://www. 1000ventures. com/business_guide/crosscuttings/culture_corporate. html Walker, M. (2007 Jul). A day in the life of an enterprise architect. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved February 27, 2009 from http://msdn. microsoft. com/en-us/architecture/bb945098. aspx

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