What is corporate culture?
Corporate culture is the personality, values, conduct and attitude of the business or individuals comprising the business. The culture lies between plans made, the written rules and the reality of years of habits, unwritten ground rules and political vested interests.
The written cultural rules are those publicly stated, what people say when the boss is listening. The unwritten culture is what people do when the boss leaves the room, the comments out of the side of the mouth, under the breath. What people do when they think nobody is watching. The habits and norms that can make or break a group.
Culture is like an iceberg, what you see above the water is only a small percentage of what lies below. The culture of an organisation is often difficult to explain but everyone knows it when they experience it. It is an indication of the levels of intrinsic motivation within the individuals and the group.
The story of the crab in the bucket is an easy way to explain the impact of negative culture. If you go to the beach with a bucket you need a lid for the first crab you catch. It will try escape if there is no lid. Once you have more than three crabs you no longer need a lid. If one tries to escape the others will pull it back in. Does your company resemble a bucket of crabs?
The concept of culture is essential to manage when trying to produce change in an organisation. The organisation’s culture can not only stop a change effort dead, it can also propel it to new heights. A successful change process must deal with the human element of motivation. Through changing the intrinsic motivation of the members of the organisation or managing the environment.
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