Just as having a strong personality can define a person, the organizational culture gives the company a special and exclusive identity.
It helps to create cohesion between all levels of the company.
What happens is that people share values and beliefs equally among themselves, absorb the spirit of teamwork and end up increasing productivity and profit.
So, if your goal is to create a more productive and enjoyable work environment, you are in the right place.
We have prepared a complete article, in which we will explain what a company’s organizational culture means, its types, benefits and how to build this process in your company.
Is that what you were looking for? So, have a good reading!
What is organizational culture?
Organizational culture is the sum of the values, practices, behaviors and beliefs that serve as a kind of link to integrate and guide all members of an organization.
As we know, culture carries meaning.
That is, it provides not only a shared view of “what they are” but also “why they are” things.
And, as human beings who live in society, we are always reinforcing this vision through language, our actions, fashion and other elements.
In this context, organizational culture is about “the story” in which a company’s managers and employees are inserted, as well as the values and practices that reinforce this narrative and also for which it really lives.
And that goes far beyond the beautiful words that a manager and his team choose to display on a company wall.
What does organizational culture exercise?
Among the functions that the organizational culture can perform within a company, we can highlight the following:
• The definition of limits and consistency in the actions of employees
• Create a feeling of identity and belonging among employees, stimulating motivation and commitment to collective and corporate interests
• Reduce noise in communication, determining exactly what, how and by whom each thing should be done
• Help both employees and managers to stay united through shared values and beliefs
• Influence and modify society while it is also influenced and modified by it and the external environment.
Characteristics of organizational culture
A successful organizational culture needs to indicate growth and upward momentum.
In addition, it is typically characterized by a high level of teamwork and engagement.
Thus, it needs to manifest seven main characteristics to capture its essence.
Although all of them are, at some level, part of any company, the importance and the individual interpretation of each one differ from business to business, making each really unique in its own way.
Let’s check out what they are:
• Innovation and Risk Taking: the level of how much the business allows to innovate and how much it stimulates risk taking
• Attention to detail: attention to detail defines how much importance a company attaches to precision and detail in the workplace
• Results Orientation: attention is directed more to the results than to the processes used to achieve them
• People Orientation: the focus is more related to creating a better work environment for employees to work
• Team orientation: the effort turns to creating teams that have complementary skills and work together, believing that teams with good synergy enable better results
• Aggressiveness: relates to the level of aggressiveness and competitiveness with which employees work
• Stability: for these organizations, the key to growth is to make themselves and their operations stable.
The 3 levels of organizational culture
To understand the culture, we can compare it like an onion. Yes, the metaphor may seem strange, but you will understand.
In the first layer, we have the most external and most visible part, which is more closely related to the way we speak or dress. That is, with what we appear to be.
The beliefs and values are in the inner part. In other words, they represent what we are and what we believe.
The closer to the center of the “onion”, the more difficult it is to change or transform these beliefs and values.
In organizational culture, it is no different. There are easier components and others that are more difficult to notice.
Thus, these components have been systematized at three main levels: artifacts (what we see), shared values (what they say) and assumptions (what they believe).
We will explain each one so that you can better understand what the organizational culture is.
This is the level closest to the surface, being considered the first level of the organizational culture.
Basically, artifacts boil down to the things you can see, touch, smell and, that’s typically what we think about when it comes to company culture.
In addition to the products themselves , the symbols and the language, the artifacts are the layout of the office, that ping-pong table, the happy hours with the team after hours or your company’s holiday party, for example.
All of this helps us to define how we see the company.
The values and beliefs shared and defended, in turn, already represent a deeper level of the onion layers, however, they are not yet imperceptible.
They boil down to the things you think you believe or say you believe.
It is the mission statement that you wrote together as a company, the code of conduct that is in the employee handbook or the main values and philosophy that the CEO or managers speak during a meeting
This is the last layer of the culture.
The basic assumptions are the premises you really believe in and the basis of culture, which grow from values until they become part of your unconscious.
As they are at the deepest level, it is more difficult to change them.
So, if we can influence those assumptions, we can influence culture.
It is worth mentioning that, most of the time, there is a misalignment between this final layer – the things that you really believe – with the values, beliefs that you say you believe and the artifacts, which are the things that you do to show this in fact.
If you really want to change your company’s culture, you need to focus on that last layer.
Changing the culture of your company is not just changing the artifacts or the values and beliefs adopted. It requires addressing the beliefs of each individual, understanding what are the basic assumptions and creating an environment in which they can be heard, brought together and reacted to.
Types of organizational culture
The values and beliefs of any organization form their culture, right?
They decide how employees interact with each other and with external parties.
Thus, it is vital that everyone adjust well to your organization’s culture to enjoy their work and avoid unnecessary stress.
Several models have been proposed to date to explain organizational culture, with Charles Handy’s model being one of the most popular and widespread.
According to Handy, there are four types of organizational culture. Let’s understand them in detail:
Culture of Power
One way to see how the culture of power is transmitted in an organization is to think of a spider in the middle of a large web.
Like the spider in the center, the key to the entire organization is in the center, surrounded by increasingly broad circles of departments and people with different levels of influence.
So, the closer you are to the spider, the more influence you will have.
This is what happens in some organizations: power remains in the hands of a few people and only they are authorized to make decisions and delegate responsibilities to other employees.
In such a culture, people at a lower level have no choice but to strictly follow the superior’s instructions.
Thus, if applied incorrectly, this type of culture can cause discomfort and an unpleasant working environment.
The culture of tasks is one in which the company’s teams are formed to achieve goals or solve critical problems.
In such organizations, individuals with common interests and specializations come together to form a team and are trained to work around any situation.
There are usually four to five members on each team, where each member has to contribute equally and perform tasks in the most innovative way to achieve success.
In this culture, the individual is the main point and the organization exists only to serve and assist, in addition to promoting the interests of individuals within it.
Control mechanisms and even management hierarchies are only possible in this type of culture through mutual consent.
The influence is shared and people do what they are good at and are heard for their knowledge.
Obviously, there are not many organizations that can exist with this type of culture, or produce them, since most of them tend to have a corporate goal in addition to the personal goals of each individual.
In the paper culture, each employee is delegated roles and responsibilities according to their specialization, educational qualifications and interest in getting the best out of them.
Teams are formed to deal with specific problems or ongoing projects.
Therefore, power within the team often changes depending on the combination of team members and the status of the problem or project.
The team’s dynamics dictates the success of this type of culture.
With the right combination of skills, personalities and leadership, teamwork can be incredibly productive and creative.
Benefits of a strong organizational culture
The size of the company doesn’t matter when it comes to organizational culture.
Every business, regardless of how many people are employed in it, can enjoy the benefits that a strong organizational culture has to offer.
Shall we find out more about them?
Greater Employee Retention
When employees are excited about their work and their daily responsibilities, they are less likely to resign or seek another job, which reduces costs and efforts with training and qualifying new employees.
Improves the Hiring Process
Intentionally, creating a strong culture that is concerned with the opinion of employees makes those who are outside want to be part of the company.
Thus, when it comes time to make new hires, it is easier to attract and identify those who share the same values, which is essential to maintain a positive culture, as well as to achieve goals.
Improves Brand Reputation
A strong organizational culture ends up creating a buzz about your business within the community.
When that buzz is positive, it makes a deal seem exceptional and drives more customers to want to do business with you, which helps to increase your sales .
A strong company culture increases productivity within your organization in several ways.
Want an example? Satisfied employees want to be at work and give 100% effort while they are there.
Improves Decision Making
A strong corporate culture includes a well-defined mission, vision and corporate values that facilitate decision making.
Thus, when questions arise, any employee, manager or leader can find the answer in these definitions.
As a result, decisions are more aligned with the company’s objectives and increase your chances of achieving success.
Generate more revenue
A strong culture not only makes employees want to be part of your organization, but also influences customers to want to do business with you.
Over time, you will see customer retention increase as you establish a loyalty and relationship with your brand .
These loyal customers , in addition to being willing to spend more on products or services , are great weapons in the generation of word-of-mouth marketing , that is, they start to indicate the organization to people close to them.
How to build your organizational culture
When you get here, you may be asking yourself: after all, how do I build my company’s organizational culture?
We have selected some precious tips for you to get started and build a pleasant and productive work environment.
1. Start at the base
The first step involves discussions and decisions about the core values of the business.
Why does the organization want to be known?
How does the company’s overall mission align with the values of its employees?
Do leaders encourage others on a daily basis to work harder, generate new ideas and exceed goals?
These are the types of questions that must be answered when generating a value base for the organization.
2. Identify the company’s values and artifacts
It is normal for companies to want to be like other organizations, but the best organizational cultures are unique.
Exclusive cultures are more authentic and therefore more likely to inspire employees.
Create a concise list, in clear and understandable language, about your company’s core values and artifacts.
Remember to choose values that reflect people at all levels of the company and are commonly understood.
3. Put the values into practice
It is easy to identify a culture that you would like to have, but it is another thing to practice and implement it daily.
So, after a short list of company values is created, it’s time to put those items into action
Thriving cultures are supported by leaders and people who believe in what is trying to be accomplished.
Without commitment at all levels, they can easily fail.
4. Review and evaluate regularly
Keep in mind that your organizational culture will require continuous nutrition.
They can evolve over time, as well as the advantages and benefits that motivate personnel change.
Typically, companies with reputable cultures conduct annual engagement surveys to ensure that their stated values are in line with employees’ daily actions.
These surveys can also serve to identify areas for correction and to keep the culture on track.
As we saw in this article, organizational culture reinforces the way a company operates with its spoken and unspoken beliefs, and shared values and norms between employees and their superiors.
Their reflections appear in everything, from how employees dress, to what time they arrive, how lunch hours pass to the way they create solutions for internal and external issues.
Thus, building a strong culture means creating a pleasant, encouraging and inspiring work environment in which everyone wants to participate.
Invest in it and your company will see the benefits arise.
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