How Does Organizational Culture Develop?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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An organizational culture often emerges at the early stages of a corporation's development. The management team involved with a business from the beginning has an opportunity to establish a culture, or set of standards, beliefs, and behaviors, that are acceptable. Subsequently, the personnel who are likely to be hired may be those with the potential to promote an employer's desired behaviors. Of course, an organizational culture can evolve over time with new personnel and management regimes. A culture may take time to develop, but it is incorporated through the consistent example and expectation set forth from the top executives to the staff.

Organizational culture develops across many different aspects of a company's operations, including social behaviors. The social culture may involve the way that employees interact with one another throughout the course of the work day. For instance, there may be a common area that is acceptable for conversation on topics outside of work and a protocol for inviting employees out for a social gathering after hours. This type of culture is largely developed by the employees themselves who set and practice behaviors that are acceptable to one another. As new employees are hired, these individuals either adapt to the standards already in place or informally attempt to introduce a different style.


In many ways, organizational culture is shaped by the experiences of the managing members of a corporation. Often, top managers surround themselves with other key members of a team and rely on those individuals to perform in a way that supports the desired beliefs and goals. This culture could be reflected in anything from whether there are cubicles separating individual work spaces to the office decor. For instance, in one company, it may be acceptable to receive employee submissions for artwork or photographs to place on the walls, while staff members may be less involved in these decisions under a different culture. The details of such a culture might become evident based on the frequency and style in which upper management communicates with other staff members.

It's possible that organizational culture could develop in a highly practical way. Top executives might communicate the behavioral expectations in a formal statement that is adhered to throughout an organization. This declaration, or mission statement, outlines the broad-brush themes pervasive at a company, such as expanding through acquisition or supporting charity work, all of which are designed to help to shape employee participation.


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Post 3

I always read an organization's mission statement and try to speak to its employees to get an idea of the culture there before I apply for a job.

Organizations that have a very rigid, authority based structure with strict rules is not for me. I am much more comfortable and productive in organizations that have a friendly culture. I think employers and employees should be able to talk to each other easily. It should not be a problem to meet other employees outside of the office.

This is the kind of organizational culture I like working in but I know there are people who prefer to work in organizations that have a very different culture. This is why it's important to find out if someone will be able to fit into that culture before starting to work there.

Post 2

@fify-- I'm not an expert on this subject but I think it can be difficult or easy to change organizational culture. It depends on different factors, such as how old the organization is, how long its current culture has existed and the mindset of organization leaders and managers.

If the management is open to change, if the organization and its culture is fairly new, change in organizational culture will be easier.

Post 1

Is it difficult to change organizational culture?

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