Organizational Culture And It’s Characteristics

Definition Of Organizational Culture

The debate over the organizational culture is one that cuts across varied facets within an organization’s setup and operations,not excluding the great input of the workforce behind the organization’s progress, notes Grey (2005). Though the aspects of organizational culture has got some level of universal agreement on its exist and the crucial part it plays in shaping the behaviour in organizations, there have been little consensus on what exactly organizational culture actually is, not minding the influence it has on the people’s behaviour and whether leaders can change it.

Robbie Katanga defines organizational culture as how the organization ‘do things’. Culture is considered to be the observable and consistent patterns of behaviour in organizations. That is, we tend to be what we repeatedly do.

Each and every organization has its ‘unique personality’ referred to as the culture. In a group set-up individuals work together, organization culture becomes an invisible but a very powerful force that influence the group members’ behaviours. Thus organization culture is a system of shared values, assumptions, and beliefs that are governing how individuals behave in an organization.These shared values have great influence on individuals within the organization and dictate the way they act, dress and perform their jobs. Let’s now look into the elements making up the organization’s culture (MacCarthaigh, 2008, p. 47).

Characteristics of organizational culture

Emphasis on outcome

Organization that places weight on the results, but not on how they attain the results, give lots of focus on this value of organizational culture. An organization that instructs its sales force to get sales orders by doing all that it takes would place a high value and emphasize on the outcome characteristics.


Organizations that are high centred on the team spirit in executing their business rather than the individual way places focus on the teamwork organizational culture (Pettigrew & Fenton 2000). Individuals in this kind of organizations tend to develop a positive relationship with the mangers and co-workers.

Read also Ethics as a Component of Organizational Culture


This feature of organizational culture dictates whether the group members are expected to show assertiveness or to be easy-going when dealing with other organizations they are competitors in the marketplace. The culture of aggressiveness as adopted by specific organizations make the organizations to place a high value on being very competitive in the market and outdoing the rest of the competitors.

Concern on the people

As argued by MacCarthaigh (2008), organizations that shows an organization culture of giving lots of emphasis on the people recognize a great deal of significance on the course of decision making and the effects of such decisions on the people in the organization. Such organization places lots of emphasis on treating their employees with dignity and respect.

The stability characteristics

Organizations with the culture of ensuring their operational stability tend to be rule-oriented, bureaucratic, and predictable in nature (Murray, 2006, p. 60-62). These organizations naturally provide predictable and consistent levels of output and operates best in market conditions that are relatively not changing.

Attention to detail

Organizations in exercise of this feature of culture mostly give some level of dictatorship to which employees are supposed to be accurate in doing their work (Murray, 2006). A culture placing a great attention to the detail anticipates that their employees perform their work with highest level of precision.


This is a characteristic in which an organization exercises a culture of innovation thereby encouraging the employees to beinnovative and be risk takers in process of performing their work (Grey, 2005). In organization where the culture of innovation is not given any emphasis, employees are expected to perform their jobs just the same way as they have been trained to do them, and shy away from inventing ways to create an improvement on their performance.

Tracking of cultural change

Tracking of cultural change is significant in terms of doing an assessment whether there is any misalignment of the culture in terms of subgroup cultures’ practices, or if any case there are challenges or issues to be addressed. These are challenges and issues considered to be undermining the cultural ethos and the underlying assumptions of the organization. This entails undertaking an effective exercise on the concept of organizational culture mapping (Parker & Bradley, 2000).

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