People Development

Culture’s role in organisations

The role of Culture when implementing Improvement Initiatives

This is the second blog of the 3 part blogs on Organisational Culture.

In the previous blog, I mentioned that organisational culture is not only a key factor in distinguishing between individual companies, but between entire industries.

So let’s look at Culture’s role  in organisations.

From the various cultural values it is clear that culture is an intangible force, with far-reaching consequences. Culture does indeed play several important roles in organisations.

  1. An organisation’s culture provides a sense of identity for its members. The more clearly an organisation’s shared perceptions and values are defined, the more strongly people can associate themselves with their organisation’s mission and feel they form a vital part of it.
  2. Culture generates a commitment to the organisations’ mission. Sometimes it is difficult for people to think beyond their own interests: How will this affect me? When a strong culture exists, people will feel that they are part of that larger, well-defined whole and involved in the entire organisation’s work. Culture will always remind people of what their organisation is about.
  3. Culture serves to clarify and reinforce standards and behaviours. While this is essential for newcomers, it is also beneficial for seasoned veterans. In essence, culture guides employees’ words and deeds, making it clear what they should do or say in a given situation. In this sense it provides stability of behaviour.

By serving these three important roles, it is clear that culture is an important force, influencing behaviour.

Pictured below:  The basic functions of organisational culture.

Keep an eye out for the third and last blog in this series – Different types of organisational cultures.

Author: Huibie Jones – MD at ODI.

To read more about ODI’s e-Learning Qualifications and Learnerships, click here.