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Organizational Culture

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We know that culture is a way of life of a group of people in every system and in the same vein, we can say organizational culture is the way that organization

https://www.shrm.org/ defines organizational culture as the proper way to behave within the organization. This culture consists of shared beliefs and values established by leaders and then communicated and reinforced through various methods, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviours and understanding.

The key to a successful organizational culture is to have a culture based on a strong shared set of beliefs and values that are supported by strategy and structure.

When an organization has a strong culture, three things happen:

  • Employees know how top management wants them to respond to any situation,
  • Demonstration of an organization’s value system is to reward
  • Employees believe that the expected response is the proper one.

So what are those beliefs, habits, values, routines that contribute to the work process in an organization?

HR has a vital role in ensuring a strong culture, starting with recruiting and selection of applicants who will share the organization’s beliefs and thrive in that culture.

HR also in charge of developing orientation, training and performance management programs that outline and reinforces the organization’s core values; and ensures that appropriate rewards and recognition go to employees who truly embody the values.

When the workplace culture aligns with your employees, they’re more likely to feel more comfortable, supported, and valued. It is believed that if organizational culture is going to improve the organization’s overall performance, the culture must provide a strategic competitive advantage.

A strong culture is a common denominator among the most successful companies.

Levels of Organizational Culture

In the 1980s, psychologist Edgar Schein of the Sloan School of Management developed a model for understanding and analyzing organizational culture. Schein divided an organization’s culture into three distinct levels: artifacts, values, and assumptions.

Artifacts: are the overt and obvious elements of an organization. They’re typically the things even an outsider can see, such as wallpapers and mantras. Artifacts can be easy to observe but difficult to understand, especially if your analysis of culture never goes any deeper.

Values: These are an organization’s declared set of standards and rules. Values affect how employees interact and represent the organization.

Assumptions:  are the bedrock of organizational culture. These are the beliefs and behaviours that are deeply embedded that they can go unnoticed sometimes.

Basic assumptions are the essence of culture and the aligned line that values and artifacts square themselves against. Basic assumptions manifest themselves in a variety of ways; But when these assumptions don’t align with the organizational values, trouble arises.

Reasons Why Organizational Culture is Important

  • It defines your company’s internal and external identity
  • Organizational culture is about living your company’s core values
  • Your culture can transform employees into advocates (or critics)
  • A strong organizational culture helps you keep your best people
  • Your culture transforms your company into a team

Types of Organizational Culture

According to Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron, at the University of Michigan Arbor, there are four types of organizational culture: Clan, Adhocracy, Market, and Hierarchy.

  • Clan oriented cultures are family-like cultures with a focus on mentoring, nurturing, and “doing things together.”
  • Adhocracy oriented cultures are dynamic and entrepreneurial, with a focus on risk-taking, innovation, and “doing things first.”
  • Market-oriented cultures are results-oriented; with a focus on competition, achievement, and “getting the job done.”
  • Hierarchy oriented cultures are structured and controlled, with a focus on efficiency, stability and “doing things right.”

There’s no correct organizational culture for any organization. All cultures promote some forms of behaviour and inhibit others. While some are suited to rapid and repeated change, others are to slow incremental development of the institution.

For example, Quinn and Cameron associated the lower two cultures (Market and Hierarchy) with a principal focus on stability and the upper two (Clan and Adhocracy) with flexibility and adaptability.

An organization who uses a Hierarchy culture-based culture will focus more on the control which leads mainly to incremental change; while a focus on Adhocracy will typically lead to more breakthrough change.

The right culture for an organization will be one that fits the direction; and strategy of the organization as it confronts issues and the challenges.

Challenges That Affect Organizational Culture. 

  • Employee Diversity: Employee Diversity is one of the challenges of organizational culture. It is very common to see a diverse field of employees in an organization. As this diversity is an added advantage in every company, it may also have an effect on the culture of the organization.
  • Internal Irregularities: It is essential to know that an organization who is continually changing its internal rules and regulations is likely to motivate its employees. The structure of an organization does not need to change irrespective of management.
  • Company culture must not be irregular in order to allow employees to truly feel like we can be ourselves; after all, how would it be possible to engage and motivate employees if the overall vision of an organization is constantly changing?

However, constant reinforcement of organizational culture does not mean that it can’t be improved; On the contrary, tailor your organizational culture to adapt to the situation; rather than being selective and changing due to certain factors.

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