What is Organizational Culture?

Organizational culture is a system of shared value and beliefs held by organizational members that unite the members of an organization and determine how they act. Culture indicates a common perception held by the members of an organization and it governs how its members should behave. Since the concept of organizational culture is frequently used to describe the internal environment of major corporations therefore it is also known as corporate culture. Every organization contains different values, rituals, symbols, myths etc. These shared values are very important for the success of an organization because behavior of individual is greatly influenced by these values which ultimately influence the organizational effectiveness. Here we should note that culture may have positive or negative impact on the effectiveness of organization depending upon the nature of culture i.e. whether the culture supports the organizational goals or not. 

 

What are the important Aspects of Organizational Culture?

 

There are three important aspects of organizational culture which help to determine the potential impact of culture on a given organization. The explanation of these aspects is given below.

 

  • Direction

 

Culture can help the organization to achieve it goals. The aspect of direction indicates the extent to which a culture supports the organization in reaching its goals.

 

  • Pervasiveness

 

Pervasiveness shows the degree to which a culture is widespread among the members of an organization. If the organization has culture in which the key values are widely shared then it shows that the culture is widespread among the members.

 

  • Strength

 

The aspect of strength shows the degree to which members accept the values and other aspects of a culture. If the key values are deeply held in an organization then we can say that strength of culture is high.

 

How employees learn culture

 

There are different ways through which culture is transmitted to employees. Some of significant ways are: stories, rituals, symbols, and language.

 

  • Stories

 

A story is a narrative based on true significant events. The corporate storytellers such as senior executives tell stories about the company’s past. Such stories help to shape the future of company and exemplify what is important for the company.

 

  • Material Symbols

 

Symbol is a vehicle for conveying meaning and it could be an object, event, act or quality. When a person walks into different business he gets a feel for the place. For example casual, formal, serious, fun etc. such feeling represents the power of material symbols. Similarly the dress of employees, size of offices, transportation and resort facilities etc are examples of material symbols.

 

  • Rituals

 

The repetitive sequence of activities that indicates the values of organization are known as rituals. It shows the most important goals as well as most important people in the organization. Rituals convey the cultural values to participants and usually an audience by performing different rites and ceremonial activities. 

 

  • Language

 

Many a times, language is used to identify members of a particular culture. By learning this language, members of organization develop unique terms to describe different things such as equipment, suppliers, customers, or products that are related to their business. For example in Microsoft facemail refers to actually talking to someone face-to-face.

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