Organizational culture of the company - the differentiator you are looking for

It may be hard to believe, but that's what it is organizational culture of the company makes candidates focus on one job offer, ignoring a number of others (sometimes better). Let's check what is hidden under this enigmatic term and how to implement such solutions at your place? 

Definition of the concept

Not only candidates today send CVs to companies. Companies also compete for the favor of employees. In order to attract them, they have to fight not only with the amount of salary or allowances, but also with this vague something that makes you want to come to work in the morning. The organizational culture of the company is responsible for "this something".

The organizational culture of the company is as defined by Stephen Robbins a system of features adopted by members of a given organization which, in their opinion, distinguish this organization from others. On the other hand Edgar Schein arguesthat these are fundamental assumptions discovered, invented, or created by the company.

The organizational culture of the company are the features that distinguish it

The term was first used by Dr. Elliott Jaques in reference to a British factory. Based on his observations, he concluded that there are certain beliefs or habits that new employees acquire after coming to the company. They connect most of the employees and also make the place stand out from the rest. Later, this concept was used sporadically until the 1990s and 00s, when it became popular on the wave of modern marketing. 

What constitutes the company's organizational culture?

At the end of his life, Elliott Jaques deepened his initial theory and clarified what the company's organizational culture should be. He distinguished 7 areas that connect all well-managed enterprises, regardless of their specificity:

  • equal treatment, including equal pay according to the level of experience and efficiency and a system of bonuses. 
  • Relevant relationships supervisors with subordinates, including shared experiences, feedback, coaching and appreciation. 
  • Clear division duties and responsibilities - this increases the trust and importance of all relationships in the company. 
  • Clearly stated goals long-term from the very top. 
  • Possibility to co-create rules by each of them individually or indirectly through representatives. 
  • Work in line with the possibilities, values and interests. 
  • The ability to grow and skills development within the framework available. 

In his opinion, the organizational culture of the company should be based on these principles in order to serve both employees and the entire enterprise. 

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Building the company's organizational culture

In 2001, Eric Flamholts in his work "Corporate Culture and the Bottom Line" listed the features of the work culture that must be defined for a company to be financially successful:

  • proper treatment of customers and employees,
  • appropriate standards and responsibility for them,
  • innovation and change,
  • process oriented.

Although the first definition of Jaques is several decades away from the work of Flamholts, the conclusions of the modern researcher are practically the same as the observations made in the 1940s in a British factory. It turns out that the company's organizational culture cannot do without, for example, satisfied employees.

The organizational culture of the company influences the competitive advantage

Now that you know the five areas to focus on, you can create marketing auditwho will evaluate their functioning. Opinion polls can also work. After that, you can start improving each of these areas. The area related to the mood of employees will strengthen the appropriate employer braning and a clearer structure of the company. Actions in this area will also help to reduce rotation among employees. Sales support  and better standards will ensure new forms of customer service and improved procedures. Willingness to change and innovation can be achieved by introducing the latest analytical and marketing tools. On the other hand, training and a change of approach will help to orient the company towards the process. The definitions and principles for organizational culture at work given here are not the only ones. However, all of them are essentially based on the same assumptions, therefore only the two most popular definitions are provided here. 

Organizational culture of the company - examples from the tech industry

Each industry has its own specificity, and this influences the organizational culture of the company. Examples from the technology industry are a particularly telling illustration of this phenomenon.

First, it is worth drawing a broader background. Working as an IT specialist is in itself associated with abnegation and "sitting at night". Let's add to this the stereotype of working in large corporations, where the individual does not count, and the goal is a cold-calculated profit. We get a picture of an industry that can be hard to endure. This is why Google, Facebook and LinkedIn have developed methodically employer brandingthat attracts. It consists of, among others a company's organizational culture that stimulates the imagination.

The company's organizational culture is important for the success and development of the company

"At Facebook, you have the opportunity to work with great people, solve serious problems and have a real impact - while remaining at work as a unique, authentic unit," we read on the site's recruitment page. In turn, LinkedIn lists among the main principles, inter alia, integrity, cooperation and sense of humor. The organizational culture of technology companies is not only written declarations, but also a visual layer in which there are employees of different genders, coming from various backgrounds, as well as testimonies of people who are already employees. It all adds up to an image that is hard to resist. And this is what today's employee-dominated labor market is all about. Finally, it is necessary to mention the appropriate communication of the company's values, following the example of technological giants who never forget to list their values on the website. Sometimes they even use them in external marketing materials, knowing that customers like companies that treat their employees well and are guided by positive values. 

Ethics and the organizational culture of the company

There is a direct relationship between ethics and the organizational culture of the company. At the beginning, however, it is worth explaining what ethics is. Ethics is honest and fair behavior that takes into account mutual respect towards members of a specific community. These are legal principles and desirable moral values that are not regulated by law, but are important for the normal, harmonious functioning of a given group. Ethical principles are included in the relevant ethical codes.

Today, more and more companies prepare such documents. The Code is a set of provisions and norms that regulates a specific area of social life, and clarifies the provisions contained in the act on a given profession. The Code emphasizes ethical standards in the workplace, defines the principles that should be followed by employees in performing their daily work duties, and indicates what actions are right and which should not take place. A well-formulated code will facilitate resolution conflicts in the team and if they do, it will point the way to an ethical solution to the problem.

Organizational culture is a set of norms, behaviors, value systems, labels and other elements that are specific to a given company, distinguish it from other companies. Its scope includes, among others language and behavior of employees, company goals, strategies it uses, methods of brand management, brand image, relations between team members and the company and the environment. The basis of the company's organizational culture should be a code of ethics, established jointly by all employees. Team selection of values and norms to be written in the code will build a strong foundation of organizational culture. Members of the company's crew will feel unity, community.

Introducing ethics into organizational culture is of great importance in the context of regulating behavior in the workplace. The Code will define how employees should respond when faced with an ethical dilemma. The principles contained in the document will show them the moral path. The code of ethics improves functioning in the company - even in stressful situations. The document provides employees with a sense of security and identification with the company's mission.

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What types of the company's organizational culture can be distinguished?

Taking into account the level of employees' identification with the company and their commitment to achieving goals, we can distinguish 3 basic types of organizational culture: coercion, normative and utilitarian.

A coercive culture means that employees only stick to the company for financial reasons. They respect the principles and values of the company, but do not identify with it in any way. They do not fully engage in the performance of their official tasks and willingly quit their jobs at the first opportunity. In the case of a coercive culture, we can observe a large one employee rotation in the company, caused by the lack of job satisfaction.

The opposite of such a culture is the normative type in which employees are fully committed to their work and their goals coincide with the company's goals. The team is committed to its professional duties. The company is like a second home for them.

Utilitarian culture is an intermediate type between coercive and normative culture. Employees engage in company development for financial reasons, however, salary is not the main motivator. There is a certain bond between employees and the company.

Roger Harrison's classification

Another classification was proposed by Roger Harrison. According to him, organizational culture can be divided into the culture of power, role, goal (task) and individual.

The first of them (power) is based on the person of the leader (or group of leaders) who is at the center of the organization and has a strong influence on the entire structure of the company's operations. He is responsible for full control and information as well as decisions made in the organization. A culture of power is a good solution for small organizations and turbulent environments where a quick response is sometimes necessary. The threat is the sudden loss of a leader that can cause chaos.

The culture of the role is governed by specialization, where the role of the employee is more important than the person who fulfills it. Work is highly bureaucratic, and cooperation between individual units is based on procedures and scopes of activities. The culture of the role will work well on a stable surface in which there are permanent goals. The problem may arise at the moment of a sudden change in the environment.

A goal (task) culture emphasizes getting the job done. This is a team-oriented type. Employees have a common goal, and power comes from knowledge and experience. The advantage of this type of organizational culture is flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing conditions. In the culture of an individual, as the name suggests, the individual is the center. The role of the company is to create a comfortable place to work and meet the professional needs of the employee.

It is also worth citing the division of Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron. They distinguished 4 types of organizational culture:

  • clan - a company is a family; employees are friendly and respect each other, and leaders are referred to as mentors; culture places emphasis on building a strong team and employee commitment,
  • adhocracy - values freedom and individualism; employees are encouraged to experiment and come up with new ideas,
  • market - emphasizes the implementation of tasks; there is noticeable competition between employees, which motivates them to act and achieve goals,
  • hierarchy - sets strict rules and structures supervised by the leader; emphasizes performance, agility and results.

Benefits from a strong organizational culture of the company

A high level organizational culture can bring many benefits to the company. First of all, it manifests itself in better functioning of the team on a daily basis. Application internal employer brandingas a tool for creating good working conditions, it will translate into an increase in employee motivation to perform daily work duties and their involvement in the continuous development of the company. The employee team will be strong, well-coordinated, and the atmosphere in the workplace will be friendly, friendly, conducive to productivity and creativity.

A well-thought-out organizational culture unifies the assessment of work results and indicates appropriate rules of conduct in specific situations. It sets clear boundaries for activities, helps to regulate conflicts and helps to solve any problems. In addition, it significantly dynamizes the process of introducing changes that facilitate the way to the set goals and can contribute to achieving ultimate success on the market.

A well-prepared, efficiently conducted organizational culture of the company will be visible to the company's environment. Customers do not need to know the code of ethics or the company's value system used to notice that the brand is functioning well. All thanks to the high involvement of employees in the performed official tasks and their professional, friendly approach to customers. Consumers experience the company's organizational culture on their own skin, which may translate into their positive opinions about the brand.

Organizational culture is a way to stand out from the competition. Strictly defined, individual rules make the brand different from all others. They add to its uniqueness that customers notice. This is a big advantage that makes it easier to build popularity on the market. In turn, in the long term, it can contribute to the company's success on the market. A company that stands out from the competition has a chance to reach a wider group of potential customers and generate more profits.

Worth knowing:

What is the company's organizational culture?

According to one of the adopted definitions, the organizational culture of a company is the entire system of features adapted by members of a given organization that help distinguish this organization from others operating on the market. Another definition says that these are fundamental assumptions invented by a given company.

Is the organizational culture of the company related to ethics?

Ethics and the company's organizational culture are directly related. By introducing elements of ethics into the organizational culture of the company, it influences the regulation of behavior and helps to solve moral dilemmas.

What are the benefits of a strong company culture?

A high-level organizational culture brings many benefits to the company. First of all, it helps you function better every day, which translates into a better atmosphere in the workplace and improved productivity.

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