Framework 67 What Makes an Organisational Culture Respected

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Introduction

- need to be wary of the word "culture", ie the first 4 letters are C-U-L-T. We associate cults with fanatics, extremists, etc and this is not ideal for an organisation!!!!
- culture is defined as "the way we do things around here", ie shared assumptions that are believed to be the correct way to see, think and feel. An organisation's culture is heavily influenced by what we stand for, ie its history and beliefs which influence what we reinforce, eg policies, regulations, actions, etc
- an admirable culture needs staff feeling comfortable so that they can perform well. This involves more than just money; relevent elements include respect, training, career progression, etc.
- a great culture is an important driver of organisational performance as it sets the tone for what is expected in an organisation, what is rewarded, what is tolerated and what is "off-limits". It impacts on how people behave at work and where they focus their energy.
- a healthy culture will increase effort and improve productivity; it is linked with creativity and innovation. On the other hand, an unhealthy culture can stifle performance, focus people on internal issues, restrict people from pushing the boundaries and prevent an organisation that from reaching its potential
- current issues putting pressure on culture include
i) market disruption with its focus on changing products and services, and business models. With this instability, people need a strong culture with familiar values and ways of behaving to provide the stability that most people desire
"...Market disruption requires organisations to find new ways to meet evolving customer needs, and people will naturally innovate in a strong healthy culture..."
Henriette Rothschild, 2015

ii) as markets shift away from manufacturing to service-based economy, organisations have become increasingly people businesses

iii) new generations in the workforce are looking for meaning and engagement. This means they are not prepared to accept a culture that doesn't fit their values and beliefs. But culture is important in attracting and retaining talent
- culture is hard to measure as it operates at a number of levels and linking culture directly to performance is challenging
- cultural attributes that most important in defining culture

  Business Partners
- collaboration
 
Customers
- empathy
  • Customer Focus
  • Innovation
  • Social responsibility
Shareholders
- risk tolerance
  Employees
- learning and development
 

Based on a survey (Henriette Rothschild, 2015), the cultural attributes that different stakeholders (employers, customers, business partners, shareholders, etc) regard as important are
i) customer focus (it is the biggest differentiator and driver of business performance)

ii) innovation

iii) social responsibility (work is about more than just being paid)

iv) leadership (providing common goals, clarity and vision with openness and accessibility; giving your people hope)
Other cultural attributes included collaboration, learning and development, diversity, risk tolerance, individual autonomy and empathy

(source: Henriette Rothschild, 2015)

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