Organizational culture describes the shared beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of the members of an organization. A healthy organizational culture is one in the which attitudes and opinions of employees help an organization to achieve its goals. Unhealthy cultures are often marked by resentment, inequality, and passiveness within organizations. One of the most important methods for managing organizational culture is to communicate an organization's goals and values to all members. Likewise, executives should develop systems for monitoring behaviors and attitudes, so they can learn when beliefs need to be reinforced.
It is common for professionals to use a reward-based method for managing organizational culture. In short, this is a method in which employees are recognized for upholding organizational values. For example, a salesperson who is thought to have gone out of his or her way to satisfy an important client might receive an award, or acknowledgment in an organizational publication.
Another common method for managing organizational culture is to create rules or guidelines for all employees to follow. Rules might include a dress code and policies regarding employee conduct. This method allows members to gain clear understandings of what is expected of them. This method for managing organizational culture also tells employees that executives and managers take behavior and attitude seriously.
Routines, such as weekly meetings, also help professionals responsible for managing organizational culture. Schedules encourage employees to stay on track with their respective goals. By participating in regular group activities, employees feel that they are part of a team and are more likely to share attitudes with their colleagues.
It is essential that upper level managers and executives uphold organizational values as well. For example, if one trait of organizational culture is that employees' ideas and perspectives are important, managers should make an effort to hear employee ideas for growth and change. In some cases, it can be important to act on these ideas to show that they are taken into account. When members of an organization feel that their leaders are not upholding their own values, they can grow resentful and counterproductive.
A common method for some executives is to introduce a third party. Managerial consultants, for example, are experts who specialize in helping organizational leaders to implement new practices that improve productivity. A consultant might meet with leaders to discuss goals, problems, and potential solutions. He or she might then take part in training employees. Motivational speakers can help organizational members to develop new positive attitudes that help to strengthen a culture.