Do You Know What Your Workplace Culture Is?

If you’re asking this question, the chances are that you probably don’t. Organizations with a defined workplace culture usually know it because everyone in the organization lives it. They’re steered by it, in everything they do. It’s important to understand that just because it isn’t defined doesn’t mean you don’t have one. You certainly do. But if it isn’t known by everyone in your organization, it’s probably lacking in any clear direction or meaning, and that’s not good for anyone. 

How many kinds of culture are there?

Depending on the framework you use, there are many different kinds of cultures. No one size fits all and organizations are free to make up their own. To help you to decide on your workplace culture before your business starts or to help you to get a better understanding of what your culture is now and what it could be in the future, we’ve listed a few kinds. 

Examples of workplace culture:

There are many cultures in the business world but here are few notable examples to keep in mind:

Mike Budden, Managing Partner of Chapman and Co Leadership Institute shares a video on his cultural framework that slices an organization’s culture into five possibilities: 

  • Unsafe/Toxic
  • Cautious/Rigid
  • Optimistic/Good
  • Integrated/Great
  • Inspired/Endearing

Harvard Business Review video describes eight kinds of culture and states that they all have pros and cons and none are better than others. But they’re all part of two observations in the workplace: 

  • How people respond to change (either focusing on keeping stability or being flexible)
  • How people interact (independently or interdependently)

The eight kinds of workplace culture are as follows:

  • Purpose (tolerant, compassionate with a uniting focus on altruism and contributing to the greater good)
  • Caring (warm, collaborative and welcoming)
  • Order (structured and methodical work, people play by the rules and want to fit in)
  • Safety (predictable, realistic and risk conscious defined by planning and caution)
  • Learning (exploration and creativity with inventive and open-minded work environments)
  • Enjoyment (light-hearted, playful work environments, high morale, engagement and creativity)
  • Results (goals, achievement and winning)
  • Authority (decisive, bold and competitive with strong, confident leaders)

Why it’s important to know your culture:

As René Carayol, visiting professor of the Cass Business School explains in this powerful video where he describes an unforgettable culture in action, “culture is more powerful than strategy.” 

Smart organizations pay a lot of attention to their cultural identity. If it needs refreshing, they do what it takes. They know that without a clear understanding of what they value the most, who they are and how they want to be seen by employees, clients and the community, the result is chaos for every person in contact with the organization.  It’s the equivalent of running an organization blindfolded. To hit the ball out of the park, you’ve got to see where it’s going. 

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