In an organization, employee’s behavior will be affected by the organizational culture. Culture can be found in any organization no matter how small or large the organization is. Defined, organizational culture is how an organization carries out its activities, that is, how management relates to its employees, whether communication is open or closed or if employees are given autonomy or recognition for their achievements.
Why is organizational culture important at the workplace?
Acts as a control mechanism
Organizational culture is important at the workplace because it sets out a control mechanism. It controls how workers relate to each other and how decisions are made in the organization. It can either be formal or informal, but its impact will still be there. An example is where the organization hires a new manager who makes decisions without first studying the organizational culture. If the changes he intends to make conflict with the organizations culture, then he or she will face resistance and unless he can manage to show the employees the need for change, then his new policies will not be adopted by the organization.
Provides a sense of identity
Organizational culture gives employees a sense of identity. It makes them feel part of the organization because they understand what is expected of them. When they are given a role to play in order to help the organization achieve its objectives, they know their duties thus have a purpose in the organization.
Promotes mutual trust and understanding
Organizational culture helps employees to develop mutual trust and cooperation therefore improve organizational performance. This in essence helps employees to have fewer disagreements between themselves. In addition, it makes the decision making process in an organization much easier. When there is corporation and trust between management and employees, new policies will not be resisted by employees. This is because employees will be in a position to trust the management of the organization.
Gives employees a reason to behave in a certain way
An organizations culture gives employees justification for their behavior. This is important especially when the employees need to comprehend why they behave the way they do. Or why an organization adopts certain policies concerning employee conduct.
It encourages employees to be performers
A positive environment encourages employees to be self starters. When employees are given autonomy, left to contribute towards organizational goals, they are more likely to work and will need little supervision.
If the management of an organization shows its employees that they have complete faith in them, the employees will feel an obligation to accomplish tasks in line with the trust accorded to them. This makes employees not only have commitment to their work but also to the organization.
How can an organization use culture to improve on its performance?
Establish a reward system
An organization that publicly rewards its employees for good performance or good conduct encourages the rewarded behavior. It shows its employees that it not only values the behavior but it also values it. This can be shown by promoting employees based on the values the employee has shown and not just performance. Rewards need not be on promotional basis alone but it also includes bonuses, praise or a paid vacation.
An organization that effectively communicates information to its employees and makes it accessible to its employees makes them feel part of the organization. This makes employees want to do their best not just for their paycheck but for the organization. The kinds of information that can be transmitted to employees include: the long term plans of the organization, new developments such as opportunities or problems faced by the company.
The decision making process is vital in any organization. There are decisions that require secrecy due to their nature and this is understandable. There are other decisions that involve workers in your organization. These decisions should be made with the participation of the people they affect. This means consulting them or having a discussion in order to get their views and generate new ideas.
Organizational culture is an important aspect that management needs to take into account when making decisions and writing organizational policies. It is important for every organization to establish the right culture at its work place to ensure its goals and objectives are met.