Organizational Culture Definition

The organizational culture definition relates to the structure of an organization such as a company or non-profit and the values, sociology, and psychology of that organization.

Some examples of organizational culture include philosophy, values, expectations, and experiences. Typically, the people within an organization try to develop and maintain similar customs, beliefs and attitudes, even if all of this is unwritten.

Other examples of organizational culture include how the company treats its customers and employees and how the company does business overall.  Companies that have good organizational culture generally tend to have employees who are happier and will stay with them longer. Organizational culture is important because it has a direct influence on how well the organization performs.

Why You Should Care about Organizational Culture

Culture is a necessary part of how an entity operates. There is also a consistency about culture that makes it easier to track patterns, observe behavior, and draw conclusions on the accumulated data. A big part of what develops culture is having incentives for employees. Company culture is necessary to make sense of things and appropriately gage the level of contentment of the employees and the productivity of the entire company. Good organizational culture is upheld through shared values and specific rituals. In a way, having a good company culture is like having a strong, healthy immune system. When the culture is compromised, so is the company.

Understanding Organizational Culture

If you go to a concert, sports game, or other event that draws a crowd, it won’t take long for you to notice there is a similar way that people behave and dress at those events. If a newcomer enters a certain arena where many like-minded people have gathered, that newcomer should take note of the behavior and rituals and learn to assimilate to them. Fortunately, humans are very observant and adaptable creatures and fitting into a culture is something most people can do quite quickly.

The Characteristics of Organizational Culture

Every entity has a distinct organizational culture. Some companies highly value risk-taking, innovation, and creativity. In an organization like this, slow, methodical processes wouldn’t easily fit into the company culture. Even though every company culture is unique, the companies with the best culture value important characteristics like attention-to-detail and accuracy. Many companies put a lot of the emphasis on results and what is achieved by the company. Other common characteristics of a company culture include fairness, healthy competition, and collaboration.

How to Create Company Culture

People in leadership positions within the company play an extremely important role in developing productive, healthy company culture. In addition to leaders of the company building the culture, the culture of the company also influences the leaders. Great leaders have a thorough understanding of the importance of shaping a company culture that steadily evolves and flourishes and that also easily adapts and modifies its characteristics whenever it is necessary.

The How and Why of Changing Company Culture

Company culture never stays the same and that is a good thing. The cultures that survive are the cultures that make progress and evolve. While core beliefs should remain steadfast, careful review of goals, procedures, and the company image should be conducted incrementally. There are incredible benefits that can come with change and a huge part of a company leader’s responsibility is to remind employees of these benefits and persuade them to recognize the benefits of the right changes.  With that said, although change is good and necessary, before you decide to change something about the company culture, you need a precise, strong vision and strategic plan put in place beforehand. Additionally, your employees need to see that management sees the change as good and important and that management is confident in that decision before they too can be confident about the decision.

Important Principles for Good Company Cultures

  1. Work cooperatively with the current cultural model your company has while slowly introducing new changes.
  2. Introduce informal, yet influential leaders to your employees to set the tone for how your company culture will be created.
  3. Stay active when managing and maintain the current culture of the company.

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