Change Management WalkMe TeamUpdated September 6, 2021

Why You Should Define Your Own Organizational Culture PDF Document

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Why You Should Define Your Own Organizational Culture PDF Document

Developing your own organizational culture PDF document is a must for any organization that wants to guide, direct, and manage its own culture.

The importance of culture – and such a document – cannot be overstated.

Let’s find out why organizational culture matters, why an organizational culture “code” is necessary, and what to put in one.

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Why Organizational Culture Matters

First of all, what is organizational culture?

And why should we care?

Unfortunately, here is where the problems start.

According to Michael Watkins, via Harvard Business Review:

  • People universally agree that organizational culture exists
  • They also agree that it plays a key role in shaping behavior within organizations
  • But people have a hard time defining it 

On top of that, Watkins says, it is difficult to gauge how culture influences behavior and whether culture can be changed.

Watkins offers several characteristics, attributes, and definitions of culture.

Gleaned from his conversations with business leaders, he claims that culture is:

  • Consistent, observable patterns of behavior
  • Shaped by incentives
  • A process of “sense-making”
  • A carrier of meaning
  • A social control system
  • Dynamic

Among other things.

Other experts have defined culture more simply, as a set of values, beliefs, and assumptions about behavior, interaction, and work.

These values and beliefs shape perception, behavior, and understanding.

Clearly, culture can be many things, depending on who you ask.

But, as Watkins said, people universally agree that culture impacts behavior.

This possibility raises an important question – why?

Why You Should Guide Your Own Organizational Culture

Creating an organizational culture PDF “guide,” or “code,” for your organization is one of the best ways to manage that culture.

Before we learn how to create a guide, we should answer the most fundamental question…

Why would leaders want to influence their own company culture?

There are a few reasons…

Organizational culture:

  • Influences individual behavior. A culture is a blend of beliefs, values, and assumptions, all of which affect how people interact and behave. One company may believe that employees are creative and self-driven. Another may believe in stricter management. Such assumptions will influence how people behave and conduct themselves at work.
  • Impacts organizational change projects. Different cultures will have different attitudes towards change. A culture that is prudent and cautious, for instance, may have a hard time embracing change. 
  • Affects the work environment. The climate of a company is influenced heavily by the organizational culture. Cultures can be digital-friendly, team-oriented, individualistic, collectivist, competitive, relaxed, and so on and so forth. 
  • Changes how employees experience their jobs, their coworkers, and their brand. A culture also impacts the employee experience. It is important, therefore, to ensure that employees are the right fit for the culture – mismatches can produce discord, dissatisfaction, and other negative impacts.
  • Can impact employee engagement, productivity, and performance. Culture can also affect employee performance. On the one hand, the underlying cultural assumptions will determine how productive a culture is. Also, as mentioned, the worker-culture fit will impact employee productivity and engagement.

Among other things.

Why and How to Create an Organizational Culture PDF Guide

A guide can do many things for your organization.

It can help:

  • Orient new employees
  • Act as a reference
  • Clearly articulate expectations
  • Define the organization’s mission
  • Influence employees’ perceptions about their roles and responsibilities
  • Align employees’ aims with the organization’s aims

To name a few benefits.

Here are a few things to include in this guide:

  • Values – What principles, ideas, or concepts does the organization prioritize? One organization may prize teamwork, while another prefers individual creativity. 
  • Beliefs – What are those values based on? The espoused beliefs and values of an organization include its philosophies, strategies, and goals, according to Edgar Schein.
  • Assumptions – Underneath those beliefs and values lie unconscious assumptions. These are perceptions, feelings, and beliefs that are “taken for granted.” 
  • Behavioral Expectations –  How do all of those elements translate into behavior expectations? These expectations can include things such as a code of conduct, justifications for those behavioral expectations, and so on.
  • The Organization’s Mission – An organization’s mission statement can also be included in this guide. It can provide an important link between the organization’s underlying beliefs and the other elements in this guide.

The goal is to help define your culture clearly and transparently.

With such a guide, employees can easily understand what the company stands for, what its mission is, and where they fit in.

Final Thoughts

An organizational culture PDF, Word document, or web page can be an invaluable tool.

It can help you articulate the corporate culture, define behavioral norms, and communicate an organization’s underlying values.

Also, creating this document can help business professionals better understand their company’s mission, its strategy, and its aim.

Used correctly, a culture guide can serve as an effective communication tool.

Culture guides can help employees clearly understand the organization’s mission, philosophy, and culture.

Ultimately, it can help influence their day-to-day performance and behaviors.

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