Every organisation has a distinct culture, but before we can delve into the nitty gritty details about those cultures and how they impact your job as a manager we must first clarify exactly what the term organisational culture refers to.
To begin with, the word culture is a term used to describe the beliefs, customs, attitudes, and characteristics of a specific group of people. When we look at specific organisations and the way their employees interact we are referring to organisational culture – the things employees do because of their beliefs, values, and attitudes towards their workplace and how things are done.
Within every workplace culture you’ll find distinct groups of people from various social cultures. You’ll have employees of different religious faiths and maybe even social status. When you have an organisation that is comprised of individuals from a myriad of different cultures you now have “multicultural” issues and concerns on your hands.
Multiculturalism is not necessarily a bad thing. Multiculturalism refers to the broad differences between cultures while diversity refers to some of the more definied or important differences such as age group, gender, ethnicity, and even sexual orientation. Diversity within an organisation is important as well.
In the coming days we’re going to take a look at organisational culture, why it is important, and how to manage diversity within the workplace. I think you’ll find some of the issues surrounding organisational culture to be familiar to your own workplace while others you may not have considered. Be prepared – we’re going to rip some of these issues open and take a look at them for what they really are!
Originally published: 16 February, 2009