Creating an Organisational Company Culture

What is Organisational Company Culture?

The term “company culture” or “organisational culture” has only been used since the 1980s. It simply describes how an organisation works and expresses itself. There are three elements to organisational company culture:

  • Values: a company’s mission, what it does and how it represents itself.
  • Assumptions: the attitudes formed through company processes that inform how employees think.
  • Artifacts: what a company represents (products, publications, dresscode, location etc)

Organisational company culture can be difficult to define but has far-reaching consequences on management, employees, productivity or reputation.

Diagnosing your Organisational Culture

Companies should be able to diagnose and understand their own company culture, as it is an essential first step towards change and growth. A cultural assessment can be important even for organisations that are globally satisfied with their existing company culture.

A cultural analysis can help identify differences between existing and desired culture and can provide a common language about the current culture and the direction for the future.

Because culture can vary so much from company to company, it can be useful to lay out values, assumptions and artifacts and create a framework. Sometimes, employees can benefit from external help to help them define that framework.

Managing the Change Process

There are generally three ways cultural change can occur:

  • In this approach, change is allowed to happen slowly over time with sights set on a global transformation.
  • This approach involves measures and processes that are based on specific elements of the organisation culture.
  • This approach forces the organisation to drastically go through the changes.

The revolutionary method involves a lot of risk as it can come with high costs, low employee morale or high employee turnover. Changing company culture too quickly or too abruptly can put too much pressure on the business and employees and lead to failure.

Different Culture Types

There are many indicators that can make up an organisational culture but two major ones can be identified. The concept, called Competing Values Framework, emerged from a link between culture types and organisational effectiveness.

  • Flexibility vs Stability: This dimension opposes order and control to adaptation and dynamism. Organisations can prefer managers that are consistent or adapt quickly.
  • Internal vs External: This dimension differentiates a focus that is either internal (collaboration, unity) or external (competition, differentiation). Organisations can prefer harmonious internal relations, and some prefer to focus on establishing a market niche.

These 2 dimensions define 4 quadrants that each represents a set of factors to categorise workgroups, individuals or even the company as a whole. These quadrants are collaborate, create, control and compete.

By understanding and accepting the different types of cultures, business owners can define a dominant culture for their business, but may also have different subcultures. A sound company culture greatly helps engaging employees which in turn can improve business productivity. If you need external support in identifying and implementing change for your organisational culture, don’t hesitate to talk to us and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can help.

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