Organizational culture can be defined as a set of values, principles and ideologies that are followed within an organization and passed to new employees (Farrell, 2018). Organizational culture plays an essential role in contributing to the success of a company. The way employees interact with each other and with clients is driven by the company’s culture ultimately influencing organizational success.
Organizational culture is defined by several elements which include history, valued skills, norms, language and values in an organization (Yanow & Adams, 2018). The history of an organization defines the culture of that company. From legacies left by founders of a company, employees get to know what is valued in that organization. The skills valued by the senior management in a company defines the culture of that company. Such skills are often identified by observing the kind of skills that are evaluated for promotions. The norms of any organization also define corporate culture. The type of dress code, for instance, can identify what a particular company prefers. Law firms are known to have a culture of wearing suits, and this can be deduced from their dress code. Many organizations often develop their different technical terms. However, sometimes, the unique language is developed accidentally. Regardless of whether the language is developed intentionally or otherwise, language is an element of organizational culture which helps employees to feel part of a specific organization. The values of an organization, that is, the goals and philosophies are essential elements of culture.
Good company culture refers to one that motivates members of staff to have a sense of shared purpose. As such, a strong culture influences the behaviour of employees while emphasizing group conformity, harmony and purpose (Tiwari et al., 2010). Conversely, a weak culture only acts as a reference for employees but fails to influence the workers’ behaviour. Unlike a strong culture, a weak culture emphasizes individuality.
Culture in an organization is transmitted to employees via several ways including through stories, rituals, material symbols and through language. Through stories, significant events such as what happened when rules were not followed are passed down to new employees who then learn what values are cherished in an organization. The Rituals of an organization refer to repetitive activities carried out by the organization. Rituals often have special meanings. For instance, best-performing employees may be rewarded or recognized during such ceremonies, and this reflects the culture of a company. Symbols are also used to illustrate organizational culture, thereby transmitting culture to new employees. The company issued vehicles are good examples of material symbols used by organizations to differentiate between senior management and ordinary employees in companies that have adopted a hierarchical organization structure. Different technical language used by specific companies is also used to transmit culture. The language identifies employees that are members of the same culture and new workers show they accept the culture by learning the language used in an organization.
Farrell, M. (2018). Leadership Reflections: Organizational Culture. Journal of Library Administration, 58(8), 861-872.
Tiwari, P., Gupta, M., & Sharma, A. (2010). Changing organisational culture as a result of global recession. Mangalmay Journal of Management & Technology, 4(2).
Yanow, D., & Adams, G. B. (2018). Organizational culture. In Defining public administration (pp. 137-146). Routledge.