Culture at Work


Culture at workOrganizational culture endures like personality while climate is more like a brief mood. A culture is made up of NORMS governing the actions of members. Norms are a bit like rules, just less explicit. A typical norm is the expectation to work long hours.

Norms are based on values but values alone are not enough to constitute a culture. Your culture could value the development of people but no one may be doing it.

A norm is in effect when people are actually behaving in accordance with it.

Norms imply underlying values, but the latter does not mean norms are operating.

A norm specifies what behaviour will be accepted/rewarded/reinforced in what situations

The only way to cultivate norms is to ensure that the desired behaviours are reinforced and role models exhibit the required behaviours consistently.

Punish deviants, but role models and positive reinforcement are more powerful.

Those who try to change a culture often fail because they stop at exhortation.

They do not consistently reward or model the appropriate behaviours.

Behaviour change can mean compliance - we would like people to WANT to change.

But there is nothing wrong with combining reinforcement with rational persuasion.

The problem is only in expecting rational persuasion to be enough.

While people can comply just to be rewarded or accepted they can change their attitudes after behaving in line with new norms for awhile and getting rewarded for so doing.

The culture concept suggests a uniform set of norms across the entire organization.

You need to be sure that the culture appropriate for one part of the organization isn't imposed on parts for which it would be counterproductive.

A risk orientated culture shouldn't be applied where you need efficiency to ensure profitability.

A "right first time" culture is too risk averse for the entrepreneurial parts of the business.

You might want a single cultural umbrella over a diversity of subcultures.