Article

Organizational Culture

by rw

An examination of how organizational culture develops, identifies strengths and weaknesses, and can change to advance an organization's success.

 

There is no single definition for what constitutes a "cultural difference" among organizations. Some organizations are successful with cultural differences within the context of their environment or industry. Other differing opinions among cultures result in conflict that hinders the accomplishment of common organizational goals.

 

Cultures are the unique patterns of beliefs, values, norms, and customs that characterize groups of people. Cultural differences vary greatly across cultures. Differences in culture can be natural or may be adopted or learned by agents (individuals) or communities (organizations). Organizations that share the same organizational culture will have similar social norms (customs), expectations, and beliefs. On the other hand, if members of an organization adopt different cultural patterns they may end up having different expectations about how they should behave. They may have different beliefs, which can lead to conflict or misunderstanding.

 

Culture is most often defined as the values of an organization with regard to its interests. It is important to define what constitutes a culture within an organization. Culture is more than just values, especially values about work. Some cultural differences are cultural norms that are deeply embedded into the fabric of an organization's culture. For example, some cultures believe that their leaders should be "strong" with authority, whereas others might consider this "authoritarian. " These norms are learned from birth, so they do not have a major impact upon people when they enter the workforce.

 

Organizational culture is a set of shared beliefs and values in an organization that can either have a positive or negative impact on the organization's performance. Most organizations have a unique culture that is relatively stable over time. Culture is embedded in all human organizations because it is an essential part of how humans relate to each other and to their work environment. Culture can be a significant factor in the survival of an organization. Culture is the "glue" that holds an organization together and creates its identity.

 

Organizational culture has been defined many ways depending on the context in which it is used. Culture refers to what people believe, think, feel, and value. In this article, organizational culture is defined as a set of shared beliefs that have been learned from others in response to environmental influences or from within an organization. It is defined in terms of how people within an organization behave and interact. Cultural differences can be a resource to an organization, if they are positive and recognized and managed effectively. However, there are many ways in which culture can be negative or dysfunctional, since it is learned rather than innate, which makes it malleable.

 

Cultural norms are the behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, feelings ,and other actions that are considered "right" or "wrong" because they have been influenced by an organization's culture.


Organizational culture is a set of shared beliefs and values in an organization that can either have a positive or negative impact on the organization's performance. Most organizations have a unique culture that is relatively stable over time. Culture is embedded in all human organizations because it is an essential part of how humans relate to each other and to their work environment. Culture can be a significant factor in the survival of an organization. Culture is the "glue" that holds an organization together and creates its identity.

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