Leadership: Understanding Your Organizational Culture

Posted by on in Careers

A lot has been written about "why organizational culture matters," and dozens of consultants have developed sophisticated tools for measuring and profiling organizational cultures.

When the discussion turns to “organizational culture” or “corporate culture,” most people have some sense or recognition of what the concept means, at least to them. A fairly simply definition, or explanation, is “the way we do things around here.”

 Instead of an assessment, perhaps you can benefit from going through these 13 questions from the Smartblog of Leadership for a great start to 2013.

Do all of the organizational members have a clear understanding of the mission and purpose of the organization and their roles and responsibilities in achieving organizational goals?

What "control" mechanisms are used within the organization? To what extent does the technology used by the organization influence its control systems?

What is the accepted and expected scope of the organization's responsibilities toward its members? 

Do organizational members have a strong level of identity with, and commitment to, the organization? 

What styles are used by organizational members for internal and external communications (e.g., assertive/aggressive versus cordial/tender), and how easy is it for outsiders and newcomers to be admitted and integrated into the organization? 

Has the organization developed an internal set of governance systems that contribute to a continuous sense of integration and coordination among organizational members?

Is the organization pragmatic (i.e., flexible and adaptable) in dealing with its external environment, particularly its customers (i.e., a "customer orientation"), or is the approach more rigid?

Does the organizational culture emphasize customer satisfaction and continuous innovation to meet the changing demands of the marketplace?

What are the expectations of organizational members regarding the distribution of power and status within the organization, as well as member opportunities to participate in decision-making regarding organizational goals and objective?    

What is the relative importance of individual accomplishment or autonomy versus group-dependent accomplishment within the organization? 

Do the various employment-related practices within the organization reflect acceptance of diversity and valuing of all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and age?

What balance does the organization strike, particularly in its reward systems, between future-oriented behaviors, such as planning and long-term investment, and short-term planning and projects?

To what extent does the organization encourage and reward members for improving their skills and performance and for setting and achieving challenging goals with respect to excellence and quality?  



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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of CIOZone.com and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and About.com.


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