HR professor


Organization Culture: A Step to Organization Development

I used to work with a consulting firm, where 'fun' was the theme of the workplace. The staff and the management often had meals together in the cafeteria. Birthdays would be team celebrations. If employees were called on Saturdays to work over time, the company would treat the employees with special lunch celebration like a pizza or burgers.

There came a time when the company faced a lean period. The consulting industry was facing tough times. The company could no longer afford the frivolous expenditures, and work became regimented. The company announced that Saturdays would be half working days with no extra pay. This would go on until new projects streamed in. Despite the uncertainty of future prospects, the employees accepted the new policy without a protest. They postponed their holidays and got to work without any complaints. There were no layoffs, but some managers even volunteered to take a 15% salary cut and forfeited some perks.

What made the employees so attached to the organization? Why did they pass up their good life for the company? The answer to these questions lies in 'positive organization culture'. The employees had imbibed the culture of 'caring and sharing' from the organization. These values were transmitted from the leaders of the organization with examples. They created a strong 'support' network and a feeling of belongingness.

Organization culture may not affect day to day business. It does not interfere in strategic business decisions. Normally, organization culture manifests itself in many ways: the business policies, the work ethics, corporate governance, and the like. Time-honored values like honesty, integrity, diligence and hard work are exemplified by the companies' visionary leaders.

Companies can nurture a desired organization culture work by embedding cultural values through edification and symbolism. For instance, companies institute awards for excellence in performance to create a culture for high performance. Some other companies send a strong message of competitive spirit by organizing inter department competitions, ranking systems, point rating systems, and the like.

Creating and maintaining a positive organization culture is a healthy practice. Culture keeps the organization focused on its core objectives. Organization leaders should work in creating a strong work ethic to ensure a well paced development of the organization. In tougher times, the culture of the organization can rescue it from potential disasters.

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