What is Organizational Culture

…and Why is it so Important?

Like people and snowflakes, no two organizations are the same. The differences between companies can be as overt as size, location and industry, and as subtle as the tacit assumptions that govern how employees treat each other and their customers. The latter, intangible factors form the basis of organizational culture.

The Dynamics of Organizational Culture

Imagine your company is a tree. The roots symbolize the dynamic network of your leadership, teams, individual employees, systems and processes that shape how people interact and how the work gets done. As the tree grows, its limbs and branches represent your company’s customer, partner and stakeholder touch points; your brand, products or services, sales, marketing and other external extensions in the world.

Springing from your unique mission, the organizational culture is the trunk that connects the root system with the branches and is integral to the structure and stability of the tree. The deeper the roots, the stronger the trunk, the more vigorously the limbs flourish, and the greater the tree’s potential to withstand any unexpected storms.


For an in-depth exploration of how organizational culture works, download our complimentary white paper.

Organizational culture is an invisible force made up of beliefs and behaviors that operate ‘beneath the surface’ and impact how individuals unite, respond and move forward (or backward!) behind a common purpose.

Shared Values and Behaviors

Organizational culture is represented primarily by any expectations that are shared by all members of your organization, from executives to entry-level staff. Whether articulated or not, each organization has an implied code of acceptable behavior, driven by its distinct, underlying core values and beliefs. Your culture powerfully guides the boundaries of both internal and external dynamics, including:

  • Management structure
  • Office environment and design
  • Communication tone and style
  • Team and department interactions
  • Employee hiring and retention
  • Who “fits in” and who doesn’t
  • Customer support and service
  • Marketing/branding materials

Some form of corporate culture has always existed by default since the origins of business. But it is only in recent years that awareness has grown and systems developed to define and deliberately design a particular, desired culture.

For an in-depth exploration of how organizational culture works, download our complimentary white paper.

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