What is the organizational culture?

Organizational culture is defined as the underlying beliefs, assumptions, values, and modes of interaction that contribute to an organization’s unique social and psychological environment.

Organizational culture includes the expectations of the organization, experiences, philosophy, as well as the values ​​that guide the behavior of the members and is expressed in the image of members, internal functioning, interaction with the outside world and future expectations. The culture is based on shared written and unwritten attitudes, beliefs, customs, and rules that have developed over time and are considered valid (the Business Dictionary).

Culture also includes organization, vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs and habits (needle, 2004).

Simply stated, organizational culture is “the way of doing things around here” (Deal and Kennedy, 2000).

While the above definitions of culture express how construction plays out in the workplace, definitions of employee stress components behavior and organizational culture how it directly influences employee behavior within an organization.

Under this set of definitions of organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions that guide what happens in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for different situations (Ravasi and Schultz, 2006). Organizational culture affects people and groups interact with each other, with customers and with stakeholders. Furthermore, organizational culture can influence how many employees identify with your organization (Schrodt, 2002).

In business terms, other phrases are often interchangeable, including “corporate culture,” “work culture,” and “business culture.”


Business leaders are vital to creating and communicating the culture of your workplace. However, the relationship between leadership and culture is not one-sided. While leaders are the main architects of culture, an established culture influences what kind of leadership is possible (Schein, 2010).

Leaders must appreciate their role in maintaining or evolving the culture of an organization. A deeply integrated and established culture illustrates how people should behave, which can help employees achieve their goals. This behavioral framework, in turn, ensures the greatest job satisfaction when an employee feels like a leader is to help them complete a goal (Tsai, 2011). From this perspective, organizational culture, leadership and job satisfaction are all inextricably.

Leaders can create and also be created or influenced by many cultures from different workplaces. These differences can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:

Person of culture and market

How members of an organization conduct business, treat employees, customers, and the community are strong aspects of the person’s culture and market. Culture of the person is a culture in which horizontal structures are more applicable. Each individual is seen as more valuable than the organization itself. This can be difficult to sustain, as the organization may suffer due to competing people and priorities (unlimited, 2015). Market cultures are results oriented, with a focus on competition, achievement and “getting the job” (ArtsFWD, 2013).

Adaptive culture and adhocracy culture

As freedom of decision-making is allowed, developing new ideas and personal expression are vital parts of adhocracy cultures and adaptive cultures. Adaptive value of cultures change and are action-oriented, increasing the probability of survival over time (Costanza et al., 2015). Adhocracy cultures are dynamic and entrepreneurial, with a focus on risk-taking, innovation, and doing things first (ArtsFWD, 2013).

Culture of power, role culture and culture of the hierarchy

How energy and information flow through the organizational hierarchy and system are aspects of energy crops, role cultures, and cultures of the hierarchy. Energy crops have a leader who makes quick decisions and controls the strategy. This type of cultivation requires strong deference to the leader in charge (unlimited, 2015). Role cultures are where functional structures are created, where individuals know their jobs, report to their superiors, and value efficiency and accuracy above all else (Unlimited, 2015). Hierarchy cultures are similar to role cultures in that they are highly structured. They focus on efficiency, stability, and doing things right (ArtsFWD, 2013).

Clan and culture task

How committed employees are towards collective goals are pieces of homework cultures and clan cultures. In a task culture, teams are formed with expert members to solve particular problems. A matrix structure is common in this type of culture, due to the importance of the task and the number of small teams in play (unlimited, 2015). Clan cultures are like family, with an emphasis on mentoring, feeding, and doing things together (ArtsFWD, 2013).


Organizational culture is not stagnant. Members of an organization develop a shared belief about “what right does it look like” as they interact over time and learn what yields success and what doesn’t. When beliefs and assumptions lead to less successful results, the culture of the organization must evolve to maintain its relevance in a changing environment.

Organizational culture change is not an easy undertaking. Employees often resist change and can rally against a new culture. Thus, it is the duty of leaders to convince their employees of the benefits of change and show through collective experience with new behaviors that the new culture is the best way to operate for success.

Cummings & Worley (2004) six proposed guidelines for culture change:

Formulate a clear strategic vision.  This vision gives the intention and direction for the change of the future culture.

Show the commitment of top management.  The upper part of the organization must favor the change of culture in order to effectively implement the change in the rest of the organization.

Culture change model at the highest level.  Management behavior needs to symbolize the kinds of values ​​and behaviors that must be observed in the rest of the company. Agents of change are keys to the success of this process of cultural change and important communicators of new values.

Modify the organization to support organizational change.  This includes identifying what current systems, policies, rules and procedures need to be changed so aligned with the new values ​​and the desired culture can be achieved.

Select and socialize newcomers and end up strayed.  Fostering employee motivation and loyalty to the company will create a healthy culture. Training must be provided to all employees to help them understand new processes, systems, and expectations.

Develop ethical and legal sensitivity.  This step can identify obstacles to change and resilient employees, and recognize and reward employee improvement, encourage continuous change and participation.


Instead of changing the culture of an organization, an organization can be adaptable and agile by allowing certain types of subcultures to emerge. Organizational subcultures are groups whose common characteristic is a shared norm or belief (Boisnier & Chatman, 2002).

Subcultures are classified as improving, orthogonal, or counterculture, each example of a level of congruence with the values ​​of the dominant culture (Martin & Siehl, 1983). Members of Improving Subcultures adhere to the values ​​of the dominant organizational culture with more enthusiasm than members of the rest of the organization. Members of orthogonal subcultures both embrace the values ​​of the dominant culture and contain their own set of different but not contradictory values. Finally, members of a counterculture disagree with the values ​​of the dominant culture and uphold values ​​that directly conflict with organizational values.

While having a deeply rooted organizational culture is generally associated with higher performance, these organizations may not be adaptable enough to ensure their long-term survival. Organizations, therefore, will be more agile allowing subcultures to emerge.


While there is widespread agreement that organizational cultures exist and that they are a key factor in shaping organizational behaviors, pointing to an exact definition of the concept is a difficult undertaking.

An absolute definition allows you not only for a more rigorous study of organizational culture, but also to increase our understanding of how it influences other organizational outcomes such as productivity, employee hiring, and engagement. One thing, no doubt, is known about culture: it is constantly being created, changed, and splintered to ensure the success of its parent organization.

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