Organizational Culture Definitions: Complete Guide

Organizational Culture DefinItions: Complete Guide

A strong, broadly held set of beliefs that are backed by strategy and structure form the foundation of a successful organization’s culture. Three things occur in an organization with a strong culture: Employees are aware of the expectations of senior management, they believe that the expected answer is the best response, and they are aware that upholding the company’s principles will result in rewards.

The secret to cultivating the qualities required for commercial success is a great company culture. And you’ll see the results in your bottom line: Companies with healthy cultures have a 1.5 times higher likelihood of experiencing three years of revenue growth of 15% or more and a 2.5 times higher likelihood of experiencing three years of notable stock growth. Despite this, just 31% of HR leaders think their companies have the culture necessary to spur future business. And getting there is no simple process; 85% of businesses struggle to change their cultures.

This comprehensive guide on organizational culture will cover all the topics you need to be aware of.

Definitions of Organizational Culture: What is Organizational Culture? 

Definitions of Organizational Culture: What is Organizational Culture? 

There is general agreement that organizational culture exists and that it is an important factor in determining how employees behave in organizations. However, there is less agreement on what organizational culture actually is, how it affects employees’ behavior, and whether or not leaders can change it.

All team members’ behavior is influenced and guided by the values, expectations, and practices that make up the organization’s culture. Consider it as the assortment of characteristics that define your business. While a dysfunctional workplace culture brings out tendencies that can impede even the most successful firms, a great workplace culture showcases beneficial features that result in enhanced performance.

Organizational culture is manifested in member self-image, inner workings, relationships with the outside world, and expectations for the future. It includes an organization’s expectations, experiences, philosophy, as well as the values that influence member conduct. In order to be regarded valid, shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten regulations form the basis of culture.

Definitions of Organizational Culture By Authors

Edgar Schein Organizational Culture Definition

Organizational culture, according to Edgar Schein (2004), is the “pattern of shared basic assumptions – invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration – that have worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.”

Marcella Brema Organizational Culture Definition

Organizational culture, according to Marcella Brema (2012), is “how we do things around here.” She adds that culture can be seen, “When you walk into a building, you get a sense of corporate culture right immediately from what you see – how the workplace looks, what people are doing.”

Andrew Brown Organizational Culture Definition

Organizational culture is described as “the pattern of beliefs, values, and learned ways of coping with experience that have developed during the course of an organization’s history, and which tend to be manifested in its material arrangements and in the behaviors of its members” in the author’s book Organizational Culture.

Hofstede Organizational Culture Definition

Organizational culture is described by Hofstede (1991) as “the communal programming of the mind that distinguishes a member of one group from another.”

Robbie Katanga Organizational Culture Definition

Organizational culture is the way they “do things.”

Bruce Perron Organizational Culture Definition

A collectively held description of an organization is defined by organizational culture.

Richard Perrin Organizational Culture Definition

The beliefs and practices that act as the “glue” to bind the organization’s members together make up organizational culture.

Types of organizational culture

Types of organizational culture

The University of Michigan’s Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron conducted research on the characteristics of successful businesses. The researchers selected two major polarities from a list of 39 attributes: (1) internal focus and integration vs exterior focus and differentiation, and (2) flexibility and discretion versus stability and control.

These characteristics are graphically depicted in the Organizational Cultural Assessment Instrument’s proven and widely-used Competing Values Framework. If you conduct a fast Google search, you may find articles that discuss five to eight different company cultures. Quinn and Cameron’s four categories, however, are widely acknowledged and seem to have an impact on any variations.

Cameron and Quinn defined four organizational cultures, which are as follows:

  • Adhocracy culture is the innovative, business-minded Create Culture.
  • Clan culture is the sociable, customer-focused Collaborate Culture.
  • The process-focused, organized Control Culture is known as Hierarchy Culture.

Market culture is the competitive, results-driven culture.

Let’s take a closer look at each organizational culture type and the methods for developing them.

1. Clan Culture

A clan culture is people-focused in that it creates a feeling of family within the workplace. Every person is respected in this highly collaborative workplace, and communication is given top attention. A horizontal organization and clan culture are frequently combined, which lowers barriers between the C-suite and staff and promotes mentorship possibilities. These businesses are very adaptable because they are action-oriented and flexible with change.

A “clan” is a group of close-knit families or a collection of individuals that share a significant passion. Small or family-owned enterprises without clear hierarchies frequently have clan cultures. No matter their level, employees are valued, and working conditions are positive.

Clan Culture Advantages

  • In this culture, there is typically a high level of employee engagement, which results in exceptional customer service.
  • Its highly adaptable, making it easy for organizations to quickly respond to change
  • Transparency and straightforward communication are present. Each team member feels free to express their thoughts and opinions.

Clan Culture Drawbacks

  • This type of culture is challenging to uphold as the organization expands.
  • A horizontal leadership structure can make daily activities seem disorganized and unfocused.

2. Adhocracy culture

The adhocracy culture encourages taking risks. Here, corporate leaders use a unique and imaginative strategy. They are inspiring innovators who welcome challenges, take chances, and are willing to challenge conventional wisdom within organizations. The emphasis is on continuous innovation and development, the pace is typically quite quick, and the status quo will be questioned even if it appears to be functioning. 

Adhocracy cultures respect individualism in that they empower staff members to think creatively and contribute their ideas. Since this sort of organizational culture falls under the category of external focus and distinction, new ideas must be connected to market expansion and business success.

Adhocratic cultures are what fuel the majority of start-up and tech companies, including Amazon, Google, and Tesla, since they provide them the freedom to be creative. This is essential to their brand and performance in a field that is dynamic and cutthroat.

Adhocracy culture Advantages

  • This culture encourages innovation, enabling the organization to stay relevant. 
  • A welcoming atmosphere that accepts all viewpoints
  • Motivates employees

3. Market Culture

Profitability is prioritized in the market culture. Each position has a goal that is in line with the organization’s overall mission, and there are frequently numerous tiers of separation between employees and leadership roles. Everything is evaluated with the bottom line in mind. These are performance-driven organizations that prioritize external success over interior fulfillment. In a market culture, getting things done, hitting goals, and achieving quotas are important.

The success of these businesses depends on having high-quality goods or services, thus there is a constant need to be more inventive and introduce new or enhanced products to the market before their rivals. Employees frequently experience burnout as a result of the high expectations and ongoing pressure to achieve, even while this type of culture may ensure the survival of the company. There can also be less focus on employee pleasure or experience.

4. Hierarchy culture

Everyone has a place, and each person has a place. This particular organizational culture has a formality to it, with leaders at the top and a set chain of command. It is essentially the standard company structure.

Employees in this culture are perfectly aware of their position in the hierarchy, who is responsible for them, to whom they report, and what the rules are. 

Operations are frequently streamlined, and duties are well defined. Organizations in the financial, health, and oil and gas industries all have hierarchical cultures. They are able to effectively manage risk, to be stable, and to operate with efficiency thanks to this type of organizational culture. However, it can make it more difficult for them to be creative, adaptable, and receptive to quick changes in their markets and sectors. They might not have the adaptability required in the markets of today and tomorrow.

Other Types of Organizational Cultures

Purpose Culture

To change their industry, businesses with a purpose culture emphasize tolerance, compassion, and generosity. A purpose culture is focused on a particular purpose or higher objective, usually one that has to do with altering the world and making resources accessible to all. These businesses place a strong emphasis on global citizenship, sustainability, and impact. Employees make a commitment to the long-term objectives of having a worldwide effect and recruit team members that consider employment to be more than just earning a paycheck.

Learning culture

To advance the company, a learning corporate culture emphasizes research, innovation, and creativity. Employees thrive in this kind of setting because management supports skill growth and discovery. A corporation with a learning culture encourages ongoing learning and development. As a result, goods and services are continuously improving and winning over new clients. In this cultural setting, employees who appreciate education and learning opportunities flourish.

Authority culture

Employees that follow orders and processes benefit from strong leadership provided by an authority culture. Supervisors who use a top-down management approach set out specific goals and expectations for their employees. Employees are able to execute competently within the constraints because they are aware of the different levels of authority. Employees who work hard and go above and beyond the call of duty might get promotions in an authority culture, which also promotes internal competitiveness.

Characteristics of Organizational Culture

Seven factors that range in importance from high to low make up organizational culture. For each of these qualities, every organization has a unique value.

Organizational culture traits include;

  • Innovation (Risk Orientation).
  • Attention of Details (Precision Orientation).
  • Focus on Results (Achievement Orientation).
  • Focus on People (Fairness Orientation).
  • Teamwork (Collaboration Orientation).
  • Aggressiveness (Competitive Orientation).
  • Stability (Rule Orientation).

Importance of Organizational Culture

Importance of Organizational Culture

Candidates seeking a long-term role and the chance to advance are drawn to businesses with great work cultures. Organizational culture fosters a productive, orderly workplace that aids in business success. In this post, we’ll talk about the value of corporate culture and how to enhance it at work.

These are the top 5 factors that make organizational culture important:

  1. Enhanced Recruitment Initiatives
  2. Decline in turnover
  3. Increased brand identity
  4. Successful onboarding
  5. Positive work atmosphere

Enhanced Recruitment Initiatives

Finding quality employees can be difficult, especially with so many emerging companies. Many people have adjusted their hiring standards as a result of this. In the event if the business culture wasn’t right for them, more over a third of workers said they would turn down their ideal employment prospect. Your recruitment efforts will be strengthened and you’ll attract the attention of top prospects by developing a strong company culture. Each person is unique, therefore what one person perceives as the perfect corporate culture may not be the same for another.

Establish a strong corporate culture with the goal of luring the people you want to work for your organization, and the appropriate personnel will eventually follow. For instance, although some people would enjoy the steady pace of a more established, traditional firm and culture, others could prefer the quick speed of an entrepreneurial culture. It’s crucial to remember that no two people are the same.

Decline in turnover

People are less likely to leave a firm if they feel appreciated and valued there. Brands must therefore cultivate a successful organizational culture that upholds their basic principles and mission statement. Less turnover results from contented workers, which saves businesses time and money throughout the hiring process. Companies that develop a great culture must take action to keep it that way and make it even stronger.

Due to the fact that 60% of workers have left or would leave a job due to poor leadership and 38% of workers say they want to quit their jobs as a result of the company’s negative culture, it is crucial to take the time to develop positive cultural values that are consistent with your company’s goals.

If their business culture were to degrade, 74% of respondents in a Glassdoor multi-country poll in the U.S. stated they would search for employment elsewhere. Organizational culture must be a dynamic process that is fostered over time if it is to continue reaping the benefits of high staff retention.

Increased brand identity

The organizational culture of a corporation reflects its reputation and public image. Based on their interactions both inside and outside of the organization, people form assumptions about businesses. Customers may be hesitant to do business with anyone who is linked with the brand if it lacks organizational culture or has a poor reputation. Strong brand identities help businesses draw in more customers and job applicants who share their ideals and support their objective.

Successful onboarding

Experiences during onboarding are generally more seamless at organizations with strong organizational cultures. This is due to the fact that there are repeatable mechanisms in place to make sure new hires have access to the tools they need to adjust to and blend into your office’s culture during the transitional phase. Improved onboarding practices frequently result in greater employee retention and longer career spans. New hires will gain a better understanding of key principles and daily operations during this process with the aid of culture communication.

Positive work atmosphere

Workflows can be made more efficient, and organizational culture influences how decisions are made. It also aids teams in overcoming ambiguity-related obstacles. Team members that are aware of and knowledgeable about certain procedures are frequently more driven to complete tasks. People can work together with purpose when there is a defined culture that unites employees and supports organized work arrangements.

Elements of Organizational Culture

Elements of Organizational Culture

1. Recognition 

A successful corporate culture is largely influenced by recognition, which is also the main factor in employee engagement. Recognition helps team members feel supported and like they are a part of something bigger, even through the most trying moments, like many organizations around the world experienced when adjusting to the new normal. Every worker wants to feel acknowledged for their efforts. When they do, important performance factors like as worker retention, productivity, and engagement increase.

While some businesses view employee recognition as something that should only be given during exceptional occasions like anniversary celebrations, this strategy falls flat with staff members. Instead, strive to establish a culture of regular financial and interpersonal praise from the top down and the bottom up. Another excellent strategy is to identify particular behaviors that fit the culture you wish to promote. Your business will be on the right track to creating a successful employee recognition program if you adopt an employee recognition platform that enables all team members to interact with one another’s recognitions and award redeemable reward points.

2. Unified Purpose

Because employees in firms frequently work on various projects or employ distinct skill sets, communication between them can be difficult. They occasionally have isolated processes and methods of thinking. The IT staff may not understand what the Marketing team works on a daily basis, and vice versa.

But this is irrelevant to a business that has a strong sense of purpose. Because everyone in a good culture shares a sense of purpose, the group is united despite its diversity. They comprehend how their work contributes to the company’s long-term objectives and why it is important, and management makes this evident.

3. Community

This is that sense of belonging to a group of people that shares similar principles, goals, and values. Community is a place where there is camaraderie.

Focus Lab is a branding and design agency. They have company standards instead of values. Their argument is that you can’t change a person’s values when they walk into your company, but you can keep everyone accountable to specific standards. Those standards include: work to live, ask more questions, and never stop learning.

Building community can be as simple as hosting company events, designating specific hangout times, and even planning team trips.

4. Communication

Although it seems obvious, effective communication is not often done in this way. It entails establishing process consistency and devoting time to getting to know the personalities and communication styles of team members.

In a study named Project Aristotle, Google discovered that teams with equal access to the microphone and frequent interactivity are the most productive. They count to make sure that everyone is speaking at the same rate during meetings within many of their teams. Just as crucial as who is on the team is how the members of the team work together.

5. Leadership

The leader must consistently push the organization’s mission, standards, community, and procedures because they are the foundation of its cultural dynamics. The other four components cannot succeed without strong leadership.

People desire moral and compassionate leadership. People seek sincerity. A leader who sets clear expectations is what the people want. People want to believe that their leader has their best interests in mind.

The components I just listed are not brand-new. Purpose, ownership, community, competent leadership, and efficient communication have always been popular among people. It’s a part of who we are as people. But now we understand that in order to create high-performing cultures, we must concentrate on these norms. The key is to intentionally build a business that will be profitable and sustainable in the long run.

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