Despite what you read, the concept of organisational culture is NOT difficult to understand. Organisational culture is simply people’s perceptions of ‘this is the way we do things around here’. It’s the ‘unwritten ground rules’ or UGRs that consititute a company or team culture.
So how are UGRs created and sustained? There are three key ways UGRs are shaped:
People watch what gets noticed.
If someone gets into trouble for speaking up, then a UGR might be ‘Around here, you’re better off not to speak up, even when you’re asked’. Conversely, if leaders say that safety is vitally important, and someone gets into trouble for not conforming to safety procedures, then a UGR might be ‘Around here, we’re serious about safety’
People watch what doesn’t get noticed.
If someone speaks badly of a manager, and nobody suggests they shouldn’t talk that way, then a UGR might be ‘Around here, it’s fine to criticise bosses’. Similarly, if a person goes out of their way to help a colleague and no one recognises that extra effort, then a UGR might be ‘Around here, it’s not worth your while to help others out’
People watch for any differences in terms of what people say and what they do.
If a manager says ‘In this organisation, we care for our people’, and soon after that same person treats a person without respect, then a UGR might be ‘Around here, the bosses say one thing and mean another’