How Is Organizational Culture Formed?

Organizational culture is formed by the behavior of people in the organization. An organization’s leaders have an especially significant impact on the creation and maintenance of organizational culture.

Organizational culture is a set of beliefs shared by the people in an organization. It contains the members’ values, norms and assumptions. Organizational culture can be considered a system because it has input and output.

Every organization’s culture is different. The organizational culture at a bank, for example, is very different than that of a nonprofit. Some key indicators of an organization’s culture are the dress code, furniture, topics of discussion and demeanor.

Defining common references helps people to understand the organizational culture of a business or group. Employees referring to their boss as a micro manager indicates that the culture puts a high level of emphasis on control and structure.

Reference points for organizational culture interpretation may not be accurate. If only one employee out of 50 feels micromanaged, for example, that employee’s perceptions do not reflect those of the entire organization.

Organizational culture can be changed. The most productive ways to do so include rewarding employees who exhibit the core values, emphasizing the mission and goals and modeling best-practice organizational behaviors.