Health & Fitness

How organisational culture creates dependable workers



  • Most Business Daily readers know at least one friend, colleague, or family member who complain about their workplaces and tries feverishly to jump from one job position to another.

Most Business Daily readers know at least one friend, colleague, or family member who complain about their workplaces and tries feverishly to jump from one job position to another but still manages to grumble in each and every situation until they finally land in a role with an entity that they adore.

Matching the same vigour with which they used to complain, they now heap mountains of praise onto their new organisation. In listening to them, you try to proverbially place your finger on exactly what is so good about their new situation. It becomes hard to quantify.

Attend any business training, sit through any management conference, peruse the leadership section of most bookstores, or read an HR magazine, and you will invariably never miss to see one salient topic: organisational culture. Hard to define but easy to blame, a company’s culture exists as the mysterious X-factor in making institutions function. While myriads of commentators discuss organisational culture, very few understand what it actually entails.

Before delving deeper into elements of organisational culture, take a moment to assess your own company’s culture. Each of the following 10 statements corresponds to different aspects about organisational culture by researchers Fakhar Shahzad, GuoYi Xiu, and Muhammad Shahbaz. Look at each assertion and ponder how it pertains to your enterprise. Decide your level of agreement with each statement by allocating the following low to high numbers: 1 for strongly disagree, 2 disagree, 3 neutral, 4 agree, and 5 for strongly agree.

1) This firm is flexible and adaptive in how it deals with difficulties.

2) The firm approaches problems with a positive mindset.

3) We take the time to listen to each other.

4) We have social gatherings where everyone in the firm or all staff in large departments come together.

5) Managers ask employees if there was a better way to do things.

6) This firm is committed to providing training to all employees. 7) Members of this firm are always able to help each other when the need arises.

8) Management considers employees’ needs in making key decisions.

9) The authority to decide is delegated to the employee who is responsible for implementation.

10) Every employee in our organization is part of both short and long-term planning processes.

Take your agreement scores for each statement and add them. If you rated your firm above 40, then congratulations! You work in an organisation with excellent institutional culture.

A total score between 30 and 40 indicates a moderate culture with some likely strong aspects and several weak areas. However, if you merely scored your firm below 30, then it needs remedial help to fix glaring issues in its culture. To determine which aspect of culture needs to be fixed, you must know which area of culture is your organisation’s strongest and weakest.

Now, take each of the above 10 statements in pairs. In pairing A, add statements 1 and 2 to arrive at a sub-total. In pairing B, add statements 3 and 4. Then in pairing C, add statements 5 and 6. In pairing D, add statements 7 and 8.

Finally, add statements 9 and 10 to arrive at pairing E. Take your sub-totals for each pairing A through E.

If A is your highest, then your strongest organisational culture attribute stands as adaptability.

An adaptable organisational climate emphasises flexibility, responsiveness, and an outward market focused. If pairing B is your highest sub-total, then your entity’s friendly climate is your greatest culture attribute.

A friendly climate means that your firm thrives as consistently positive and supportive.

Meanwhile, pairing C is ‘support to change’ whereby entities seek to build up their workforces benevolently. D equals teamwork that yields a culture of intentionally involving jumping in and supporting each other even before being asked.

Finally, E equals employee empowerment. Firms with empowering cultures do not fear involving employees in decision making while also valuing employees enough to provide them with enough information to do their jobs well.


Conversely, a company cannot foster an excellent culture in every category and, therefore, must bolster flagging attributes.

But an organisation is simply unable to focus on fixing everything all at once. Be intentional and quarterly pick one culture element to improve. Start with the lowest pairing sub-total of the five culture components mentioned above. Pool your resources and strategies towards that one culture goal every three months.

Dr Scott may be reached on [email protected] or on Twitter: @ScottProfessor