Why Organizational Culture?

In our present series on ‘Organizational Culture’, till now we essentially looked at What Is Organizational Culture, by looking at some basic aspects and its relationship with some of the key aspects that have direct relationship with it.

Now we will see Why Organizational Culture is (that Much !?) Important?

In order to appreciate the importance of the organizational culture, we need to understand what it means –

“Culture is how organizations ‘do things.” — Robbie Katanga

“In large part, culture is a product of compensation.” — Alec Haverstick

“Organizational culture defines a jointly shared description of an organization from within.” — Bruce Perron

“Organizational culture is the sum of values and rituals which serve as ‘glue’ to integrate the members of the organization.” — Richard Perrin

“Organizational culture is civilization in the workplace.” — Alan Adler

“Culture is the organization’s immune system.” — Michael Watkins

These are some important observations pushing against the view of culture as something that it is unitary and static, and toward a view that cultures are multiple, overlapping, and dynamic.

“Organizational culture [is shaped by] the main culture of the society we live in, albeit with greater emphasis on particular parts of it.” — Elizabeth Skringar

“It oversimplifies the situation in large organizations to assume there is only one culture… and it’s risky for new leaders to ignore the sub-cultures.” — Rolf Winkler

“An organization [is] a living culture… that can adapt to the reality as fast as possible.” — Abdi Osman Jama

These perspectives provide the kind of holistic, nuanced view of organizational culture that is needed by leaders in order to truly understand their organizations[1]

These reasons can be a good starting point to get you thinking about what your own organization brings to the table.

  1. It defines your company’s internal and external identity
  2. Organizational culture is about living your company’s core values
  3. Your culture can transform employees into advocates (or critics)
  4. A strong organizational culture helps you keep your best people
  5. A well-functioning culture assists with onboarding
  6. Your culture transforms your company into a team
  7. Culture impacts performance and employee wellbeing[2]

Having understood the importance of organization culture as a component of the organizational context, we will now look at a few representative articles to see its role in attaining the sustained success of the organization –

The culture is the formula, the DNA that provides guidelines, boundaries, and expectations for the team and to the customers and is the primary platform to inspiring and motivating the people. It is also the most powerful resource to attract, recruit, hire and retain the highest level of talent to the organization.

A successful organization is a learning organization. People’s quest for continual learning requires that people explore the company values, meaning, community, and culture with the help of lenses of their own beliefs and individual values. A culture of strong communication enables the people to realize their needs and expectations meaningfully within the contextual perspective of expected versus actual performance. [3]

Culture is heralded as one of the most important factors for a business’ long-term success — second to the overall business model, of course.

The first job a company culture has is to establish a clear set of priorities which align with the company’s overall goals. A company with a strong purpose, then, may be able to encourage more individuals to buy into that purpose and complete the feedback loop.

Moreover, a culture can be a great too in encouraging passion – at individual and at the collective levels. An ideal cultural environment is one in which to work is about more than just preventing the people from quitting; it’s about making them feel truly invested in their jobs.

In a way, company culture is a tool that keeps employees happy enough to produce their best work — and that means the company can push new boundaries and tread new ground.

Finally, maintaining a great internal company culture can develop a distinguishing reputation for your brand, in an external context. Unique brands always have an edge over brands that blend in with the competition, so the stronger your culture is, the stronger your brand can perform.[4]

A great organizational culture is one that empowers employees instead of limiting them. Empowering employees requires more than enabling them to exceed customer expectations. That’s just one aspect. A great culture gives employees the freedom and authority to be creative, to initiate innovative projects, and to adapt and respond in real-time with solutions that help their teams, the business, and the customer. Throughout the company, the decision-makers and experts in the company share information, resources, and power so that employees make decisions and solve problems on the spot.[5]

A strong culture can be a sustainable competitive advantage—if not the only sustainable competitive advantage—because it cannot be duplicated, unlike a product, price point, or delivery system. A healthy company culture provides an environment that supports stronger recruiting, retention, increased customer intimacy and loyalty, greater productivity, and an increased sense of employee ownership. A strong culture also directly impacts the bottom line.[6]

Even this brief visit to a very few articles provides us the basic outline of importance of the organizational culture in attaining the sustained success. That culture enables organization to nurture people who share their individual beliefs seamlessly with at of the organization. Once organization has a force of battle-ready people at its core,  its business model also becomes robust enough to brace up the challenges of the future such that the organization is able to expand its core competitive advantage(s).

[1] What Is Organizational Culture? And Why Should We Care? by Michael D. Watkins

[2] 7 reasons why organizational culture is important By Corey Moseley

[3] Why Company Culture is So Important to Business Success. – Peter Ashworth

[4] How Does Company Culture Actually Lead to Success?Jayson DeMers

[5] The Impact of Organizational Culture on Business Success – Kaplan Leadership and Professional Development

[6]  Is Culture Your Sustainable Competitive Advantage?Aileron


In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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