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6.1 Variety of business objectives

Most people would agree that the primary objective of a business is to survive and, in order to survive, its revenue must be greater than its expenditure.

Activity 13

What other objectives do you think a business
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5 The characteristics of ‘good’ information

Have you ever seen a set of published accounts for a company? If you haven’t or, even if you have, take a look at some now. (They are often called the annual report.)

A large range of information is available online at your fingertips. Some of it is useful, most of it is not. Accountants are increasingly having to deal with growing quantities of information and many are having to search for relevant information as part of their jobs. Some of these activities are designed to dev
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1 What is accounting about?

Let's start with a question – we shall call questions ‘Activities’. For many of these activities you will need a pen and paper, or you can use the course Forum, to note down your own ideas. Once you have completed the Activity you should return to the text, read the comments that follow the activity, and then think again about your answer. Change it, if you like. Once you are happy that you have understood the comments and that your own answer is alright, you should continue to read the
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • describe accounting's primary objective

  • explain what is meant by inputs to and outputs from the accounting information system

  • explain the relationship between data, data processing, data summarisation and information

  • explain the difference between data and information

  • describe the five main characteristics of 'good' information.


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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

The material acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creativ
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References

Brown, A. (1995) Organisational Culture, London, Pitman.
Crace, J. (2000) ‘Feel at home with a job abroad’, Guardian, 14 October.
Drennan, D. (1992) Transforming Company Culture, London, McGraw Hill.
Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values, London, Sag
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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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4 Conclusion

Culture is just one perspective that can help us to understand more about a business. In this course we saw how the concept of culture developed from research into differences between cultures at a national level. Many cultural elements of a business are not obvious, but there have been some attempts in the academic literature to develop definitions and identify influencing factors. It is possible to see, or ‘feel’, that one business is different from another, and that this involves more
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3 Factors influencing culture

Where the culture of a business comes from, and how it develops, is the subject of much discussion within business studies. Every commentator seems to have their own list of key factors. One example is by Drennan (1992), who proposes twelve key factors that shape the culture of a business. These are:

  1. the influence of a dominant leader – the vision, management style and personality of the founder or leader in a business often has a significant influen
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2.2 Symbols within business

How have academics and managers attempted to diagnose these largely hidden aspects of business? One well-known example is provided by Trice and Beyer (1984), who concentrated on the idea of there being symbols within a business. They divided these into, first, high-level symbols, which are the more obvious ones such as company buildings and logos, and, second, low-level symbols. They suggested four categories of low-level symbols: practices, communications, physical forms and a common languag
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2.1 Culture as socialisation

The cultural perspective has become popular in business studies because it offers a way of explaining performance and understanding difference. It is only one way of analysing business, but it is an interesting one as it focuses particularly on the insider point of view, or on what it is ‘really’ like to work in an organisation. There have been many definitions of organisational culture. One definition that is often cited is:


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1.2 Working abroad

The extract from a newspaper article in Example 1 provides insight into the problems of working abroad.

Example 1

Working abroad is often considered the chance of a lifetime. Living and working in a foreign country with all expenses paid; what more could anyone want?


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1.1 Hofstede's five Cultural Dimensions

A series of perspectives that we might use to achieve a different insight into business was introduced by Morgan (1986) in his book entitled Images of an Organization. One of these was the business as a culture, a type of micro-society where people work and ‘live’ together on a daily basis, with certain rules and understandings about what is acceptable and what is not. The idea of a business having a culture was developed from the work of Hofstede on national cultures (1980). His r
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Business cultures

Why are we studying ‘business cultures’? Culture is a metaphor which can be used to explore the identity of a business. It is about how others see the business, but also how the individuals who work there understand it. Culture offers us a powerful insight into the business and what it is like to work within it.

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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain the relationship between research on national cultures and the development of the culture perspective in business studies

  • describe some of the problems of working in, and doing business with, businesses in other countries

  • offer a definition of organisational culture

  • recognise the factors that constitute or influence the culture of a business.


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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying Business & Management. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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1 What does ‘life sciences’ mean?

During the twentieth century, particularly in its second half, the provision of human healthcare changed significantly because of scientific and technological developments. Before then, medical practice was limited and scarcely differentiated from other trades; in fact, barbers often acted as surgeons or dentists. Throughout the 1900s, there were major advances in most countries in sanitation, nutrition, vaccination, surgery, medicines and medical devices. At the same time, there was an incre
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7.5 Becoming an institutional entrepreneur

While acting in ways that are seen to be legitimate is important for both individuals and organisations, social institutions are not immutable. Some people and organisations seem to have a talent for changing the rules of the game.

Some writers have referred to this as being an institutional entrepreneur. At the organisational level examples might include organisations such as Microsoft or Sun Microsystems working actively to establish industry standards which favour them. At the
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4.1 The context and significance of the historical moments under consideration

The two historical moments we are considering were not chosen arbitrarily; they are both significant times in the overall history of people seeking asylum in the UK. Some important relationships between them give us a starting point for looking at continuities and discontinuities in both policy and experience.

Firstly, Lotte and Wolja were admitted to the UK under the 1905 Aliens Act. This was the first fully implemented legal attempt to control the entry of ‘foreigners’ into the UK
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Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this course:

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creative Commons licence). See Terms and Conditions.

These extracts are taken from DD208 © 2008 The Open University.

Course image: Michelle in Flickr
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