Organisational Culture is an Expression of Identity

An organisation’s culture is an expression of its identity through the words and actions of its people. That expression, as a continual stream of communication via what we say and what we do, is often a mixed bag of messages therefore making culture a challenging issue to grasp and understand.

Some organisations appear to have similar cultures, especially where culture is viewed by an outsider looking in, however, differences exist due to the unique circumstances of each organisation’s history involving current and past members.

Those of us who have worked in several businesses know that each organisation is different, and some of us have found out the hard way that some things we were freely allowed to do in one workplace, were frowned upon in another. Some of our learning about culture comes about by us unintentionally coming up against the usual or acceptable ways of doing things, which we may not have been aware of. For example, some workplaces require you to ask permission prior to making any change to a work process, whereas others encourage attempts at improving how work is accomplished.

Organisational culture is an ongoing process whereby relationships between people at work are formed, enacted and shaped through frequent interaction. The effort people make to get along together at work influences the strength of internal and external relationships thereby impacting on how people feel about the work they do and how they feel about others in the workplace. team culture examples

This means that we can take steps to improve our work situation by deliberately adding positive energy to our work culture. We can do this by firstly, appreciating that our relationships with other people at work are of value to us; and secondly, to make more of an effort to look after our work relationships. This can be achieved by thinking about what we bring to our relationships and looking for small ways to improve. For example, where we find ourselves saying “no” to an invitation to a social get together with work colleagues, we should stop and ask ourselves, “why am I saying no?” Why not say “yes” and go and have a good time?

By taking responsibility for our relationships at work and by expressing ourselves in positive ways we can build the organisational culture that we desire.

Summary

An organisation’s culture is an expression of what the organisation is all about as conveyed by the words and actions of its workforce. The shaping of that expression arises from the continual process of interaction between organisational members within the context of day to day business operations. Improvements in an organisation’s culture are possible where people are prepared to take small action steps to communicate more effectively and get along better at work.

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