Business Culture & Development

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Business culture means employees share similar values within the company setting.
Business culture means employees share similar values within the company setting. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Business culture, organizational culture and corporate culture are all terms that describe the values and norms held in common within a particular business. Shared beliefs, understood taboos, ritual activities and processes, and other shared characteristics of a particular company are all part of business culture. Each company has its own unique culture, typically driven by top management, that affects the attitude of employees and the way they work.

Cultural Establishment

The people and activities that make up the business influence the organization's culture. A company's mission statement or vision statement, which offers a sense of purpose or direction, is a formalized way to influence culture. Culture governs how owners, managers and employees interact, according to the "Entrepreneur" magazine definition of corporate culture. Company leaders often use symbols or establish traditions within their organizations to establish a particular culture.

Interpersonal Interaction Model

Franklin University professor and 32-year business manager Ross A. Wirth, Ph.D. discusses two common models of business culture on the enTarga Consulting website. One is the interpersonal interaction model. Power culture, achievement culture, support culture and role culture are the four examples of this cultural model that Wirth outlines. A power culture is signified by heavy influence, good or bad, from top managers. Achievement cultures reward results over effort and allow for self-directed work teams. Support cultures have harmony and employee happiness as main motivators of interaction. Role culture is about stability, efficiency and justice; employees' success and happiness are specifically connected with their performance.

Risk & Feedback Model

The Risk & Feedback Model addresses the approaches that managers take in encouraging risk taking and addressing results, according to Worth. A "macho, tough-guy culture" presents a high-risk environment with immediate feedback of results. Employees within the "work-hard-and-play-hard" culture take few risks, get quick feedback and work in a sales-driven environment. The "bet-the-company culture" exhibits high risk and slow feedback. The "process culture" has little to no feedback, as more emphasis is placed on how work is performed.

Cultural Development

Cultural development is the process of influencing the culture of a business over time. Company owners and managers attempt to do this immediately when starting a company. They also try to develop cultural improvements when morale is low or the culture is problematic. To improve culture, "Entrepreneur" suggests finding a symbol, story or ritual that helps signify the particular values you want to establish in your company. You must keep these values in front of employees at all times. To promote teamwork, some companies turn to regular informal company outings and social events.

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