Understanding Organizational Culture

By: Aliu A. Onifade

Organizational culture is the most suitable way to behave in an organization. Particularly, this consists of shared values, beliefs, and communication of how to behave and interact, decision making communication, and the process of perception and reaction. However, considering the differences in organizations, there’s usually not a standard cultural template that should be followed accordingly.

Undoubtedly, organisational culture is an important tool for achieving a company’s goals and objectives. In other words, leaders and managers effectively implement the set objectives, because organisations communicate their values and norm better, through the orientation or mentorship scheme at the initial employment stage.

Introduction: Understanding Organizational Culture

Organisational culture is the way and manner of doing things in an organisation. These are usually the unwritten rules that influence the behaviour and attitudes of every individual or group in an organisation. Moreso, every organisation develops and maintains a unique culture, which provides guidelines and boundaries for the behavior of the members of the organisation (SHRM 2020).

According to Hanna and Hanna (2014), Organisational culture is the unseen concept in an organisation and it is a critical component in achieving long time goals, along with other factors such as infrastructure, technology, and measurement.

Furthermore, organisational culture plays an important role in the integration of people, relationships, and technology to improve knowledge base management processes. Thus, organisational culture plays a vital role as an enabler in promoting knowledge sharing norms and learning motivations among members of an organisation (Hanna and Hanna 2014).

In addition to this, organisational culture may be influenced by several different factors. For example, these factors include the company’s structure, system, and process of implementing duties, attitudes and behaviours of employees, management and leadership style, and the company values and traditions.

Characteristics of Organisational Culture

According to McLaughlin John (2015), organisational culture can be characterised by the following:

1. Innovation (Risk Orientation):-

When an organisation place high importance on innovation. It gives room for the employee to take a risk and be innovative in delivering their duties. On the other hand, organisations with low value strictly want their employees to adhere to their set standards.

2. Attention to Detail (Precision Orientation):-

This can be characterised by the degree of information that employees have. In other to perform their duties efficiently employees are expected to pay maximum attention to the details.

3. Emphasis on Outcome (Achievement Orientation):-

Some organizations are result-oriented. They believe in the results achieved, but they do not pay attention to how it is achieved.  

4. Emphasis on People (Fairness Orientation):-

Employee welfare characterizes organizations. Such an organization ensures that employee values are respected.

5. Teamwork (Collaboration Orientation):-

 In this case, organisations with teamwork and or group tend to be efficient in delivering their duties and have positive and cordial relationships amongst themselves.

6. Aggressiveness (Competitive Orientation):–

This form of organisational characteristic shows either the aggressiveness or assertiveness of employees in a competitive market condition.

7. Stability (Rule Orientation):–

An organisation, whose culture values stability, is strict with rules. Such organisations are mostly consistent in terms of result and operates best in a non-changing market situation.


To sum up, Organisational culture is the set of values, norms, and beliefs that determines the way employees behave. In addition to this, the socialisation process helps to sustain Culture. Moreover, every individual learn the values, behaviours, and necessary knowledge to perform their tasks in an organisation. Since there are no set standard of organisational culture, every individual is, therefore, constrained to learning and adapting to a different set of rules depending on the place of work.


Abdulla, Hanan & Al Mheiri, Hanan. (2014). Understanding Organisational Culture for Effective Knowledge Sharing Behaviours in the Workplace. Organisational Cultures. 13.

McLaughlin, John (2015). “What is Organizational Culture? – Definition & Characteristics.” https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-organizational-culture-definition-characteristics.html (accessed 8.12.2020)

SHRM (2020). Understanding and Developing Organizational Culture. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/understandinganddevelopingorganizationalculture.aspx (accessed 8.12.2020)

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