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What Is the Relationship between Organizational Culture and Climate?

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  • Written By: Osmand Vitez
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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A business or other organization is often a complex body that has many different internal forces that affect or govern employees. Two important factors include the organizational culture and climate. The relationship between these two starts with organizational culture, which is a set of common understandings by which a company organizes itself. The organizational climate is a set of measurements a company can use to measure motivation and behavior. A few common measurable properties between organizational culture and climate are flexibility, responsibility, standards, and reward.

All companies have an organizational culture, which represents the intangible force that centers on a company’s values and beliefs. Different cultures can exist in a company, such as laissez faire or the aggressive use of creativity to advance the company’s operations. Individuals typically work at a company with which their values match the most. One result of organizational culture is to develop a climate by which a company can measure successes attached to this intangible force. This starts the relationship between the organizational culture and climate.

Companies tend to have reward systems that help motivate employees to achieve goals. Rewards differ based on the company’s organizational climate. A company with a background in intrinsic rewards tends to offer more motivational recognition, such as praise for a job well done. Extrinsic rewards are more common in an organizational culture that works with aggressive employees. Bonuses, compensation increases, and time off work well in this organizational culture and climate system.

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Measuring success takes time and often needs tweaks in order for a company to determine which systems work best. While organizational culture is often a naturally occurring phenomenon in organizations, the organizational climate often takes more work to implement. Most individuals have different motivational or behavioral needs. While organizational culture and climate have a proven connection, the factors that connect the two can be vastly different. For example, some employees may desire flexible schedules; others may desire a team commitment from all individuals.

A company’s organizational culture and climate are not always static. As a company evolves, so does its culture. This often leads to changes in the organizational climate as managers and employees change, along with the values and beliefs in the business. The organizational climate must adjust as necessary to ensure the company measures the correct factors. For example, a company may shift from flexible schedules to compensation bonuses over time.

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bluedolphin
Post 3

@burcidi-- I actually think that both organizational culture and climate can be changed easily. It just takes a new group of managers.

burcidi
Post 2

@anamur-- These two terms can be confusing, because they sound very similar. So I understand your frustration.

It may be helpful to think of organizational climate as what it feels like to work in a organization and organizational culture as the values and norms of that organization. So you are right in that organizational culture is mostly constant and organizational climate can change.

The way that they are related is that organizational culture shapes organizational climate. For example, if an organization values new ideas and input from employees, it is going to have an organizational climate where employers listen to and seek suggestions from their employees.

You can't have organizational culture without climate and vice versa.

serenesurface
Post 1

I don't understand the connection between organizational culture and climate. As far as I understand, the organization doesn't have to do much about the culture because it forms on its own.

As for measuring motivation and behavior, isn't this done with performance standards and assessments?

I don't see how organizational culture influences organizational climate.

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