Why organizational culture matters

An organization is a common platform with individuals working in harmony to earn income for themselves and profits for the platform. People enable the pursuit of common goals and individual goals through specific actions within an organization directed by its unique organizational culture.

An organizational culture comprises of beliefs, principles, values, and ideologies that enable a deeper understanding of what is expected of employees and management each work day. The corporate culture promotes how employees and management interact with each other and with those outside the organization.

THE FORMATION OF CORPORATE CULTURE

Organizational and corporate culture often go hand-in-hand. However, the greater of a distinction between the two allows for a more effective implementation of aims and objectives.

Corporate culture consists of:

  • Giving members an organizational identity
  • Creating distinction among organizations
  • Enhancement of social stability through promotion of standards regarding ethics and behavior
  • Facilitation of commitment to organization aside from individual self-interest

When an organization provides clear standards for individuals to adopt as they join to work towards common goals, better outcomes will result. Defining and developing a good corporate culture leads to higher profitability for the organization.

NINE CHARACTERISTICS GREAT ORGANIZATIONS HAVE

Successful organizations possess keen understanding of organizational culture. There are nine characteristics that aid an organization in realizing a cohesive and successful culture. These are:

  1. Detail oriented: Demonstrate precision, attention to detail, and assessment skills
  2. Innovative: Encourage taking risks and development of new ideas
  3. Goal oriented: Aim to produce results by clearing important goals
  4. Team oriented: Emphasis should be placed on teams and teamwork rather than individuals to promote cohesion and harmony
  5. People oriented: Consider the consequences of actions on individuals within the organization
  6. Stability: Maintain consistent work environment and behavioral regularity
  7. Strength: Highlight the strengths of the team, individuals, and organization consistently
  8. Aggressiveness: Healthy competition promotes growth and higher profits
  9. Main culture and subcultures: The main culture should focus on the organization’s objectives and needs. The subcultures should focus on the common situations, experiences, and problems members of the organization face in their respective departments and locations.

HR’S ROLE IN A HIGH-PERFORMANCE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE

HR (Human Resources) leaders and the HR team provide the backbone for any successful organization through effective culture management. They work with senior management to assess and identify problems and solutions for the organizational culture. Approaches to problem solving must consider the organization’s people and how actions affect them in the short and long term.

Working as the ‘caretaker’, the HR department carries out essential roles through:

  • Supporting organizational values
  • Enabling of feedback channels and two-way communications
  • Defining accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities
  • Providing ongoing training and learning opportunities
  • Sustaining appreciation and reward systems
  • Promoting collaboration and encouraging empowerment
  • Reinforcing a customer-supplier work setting
  • Identifying and addressing individual/organizational problems
  • Promoting conflict-resolution strategies

By facilitating communication between members of the organization, HR allows a flow of ideas and social interactions that promote and further the goals of the organization. Without a strong HR department, organizations cannot maintain an effective organizational culture.

SUSTAINING A CULTURE

The HR department is a big part of sustaining an organization’s culture. However, there are also traits or ‘artifacts’ that guide an organization towards promotion and sustaining of a culture. These artifacts consist of core processes, philosophies, and business activities, which characterize an organization’s daily business. Three broad models help to identify traits specific to an organization’s culture. These are:

  1. Material culture- involves examination of everything people in a team/group achieve or make, and how individuals support each other in trading required services and goods.
  2. Social culture- refers to the responsibilities and roles of group members; the study of distributions of power and class distinctions that exist in teams/groups.
  3. Ideological culture- a team’s/group’s beliefs, ideals, and values; what people view as fundamental that include intellectual and emotional guidelines governing people’s daily interactions.

These broad models allow for further identification of common traits or artifacts that promote assessment and implementation of a successful culture management plan. Once traits/artifacts are identified, leaders and HR professionals must summarize their findings to share with all participants for solicitation of additional insights.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE, THE SOCIAL GLUE

Without a strong organizational culture, organizations cannot succeed. The many aspects of organizational culture promote understanding and communication between people in the organization. While it can be daunting and confusing to develop an effective organizational culture, cultivation of it leads to meaningful and long-term success.