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Organizational culture refers to the shared values and practices of the organization's employees. According to several studies, organizations with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals regularly outperform their competitors. It is important for organizations to define their company culture or decide what it should be, and then move employees toward the desired culture.
Individuals blithely use the term culture; however, it is important to really understand it within an organizational context. Three levels of culture have been suggested by a leading psychologist in this field, Edgar Schein. These include understanding visible artifacts or tangible objects (e.g., dress code, furniture), beliefs and values (e.g., how the members represent the organization both to themselves and to others) and basic underlying assumptions (taken for granted behaviors).
On many levels, this concept is useful to take into account for leaders, current employees, the selection of new employees and those looking to join an organization. It is imperative for an organization to recognize the company culture and align the culture to business goals to avoid conflicts. According to studies, when current employees and leaders have aligned visions of the organization, employee metrics such as satisfaction and commitment are marked higher. Understanding if the company resonates with the future employees' own beliefs and goals is important not only in terms of satisfaction but also in terms of work engagement, productivity and longevity within the company.
Organizational culture is essentially the personality of a company and defines what a company stands for from an employee standpoint. It is important to note that there is no such thing as 'right' or 'wrong' culture, for example, some companies favor a more casual working environment versus a formal one. What matters is the alignment between the company culture and business goals.
• Understand the company culture using available information
• Actively learn as much about a company's culture, style, values
• Leaders should align the company culture to its business goals
Source: Nicola Turner, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is an Organizational Psychologist of HRI&C