What Is the Relationship between Organizational Culture and Values?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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Organizational culture is, generally speaking, the "personality" or "attitude" of a given organization, such as a business, volunteer group, church, or government office. An organization's culture affects and is strongly influenced by the goals and values of that organization as well as by the management structure and the different employees. Organizational culture and values are closely related because organizations are generally founded with certain values in mind. These values tend to influence the organizational structure, but they may change over time as different people take on different roles in the organization and the overall culture changes. Organizational culture and values, then, both affect each other over time and tend to change if a conflict exists between them.


Leadership in an organization is one of the most significant determining factors of both organizational culture and values. All leaders have their own plans, values, and goals, all of which influence the manner in which they lead. Groups working under a particular leader may, to an extent, alter their organizational culture and values to better reflect the goals and interests of the leader. A good leader should be able to encourage his subordinates to value the goals and intentions of the organization and should be able to develop a culture that is conducive to accomplishing those goals. A bad leader, on the other hand, may value personal prestige and advancement, and his behavior could result in the development of a culture that is based on appeasing and impressing the leader instead of accomplishing the goals of the organization as a whole.

The "values" of an organization include ideas both about the types of goals that people belonging to that organization should try to accomplish and the manner in which they should behave while working toward those goals. Organizational culture and values are linked in that culture often reflects the degree to which employees personally align themselves with the organization's values. An organization whose employees personally approve of its values and goals will likely have a strong, natural culture based on a mutual drive to advance those goals. An organization with employees who feel little personal connection to its values and goals, on the other hand, may need a strict hierarchical structure with a great deal of bureaucracy in order to remain productive.

In some cases, organizational culture and values are misaligned. A company, for instance, may claim to value advancement and progress, but then offer only limited opportunities for employees to advance. Such conflict often results in a weak culture that can lead to reduced productivity and a high employee turnover rate.


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Post 3

My organization's values are misaligned. The stated aim of the organization is to act as an arbitrator between different businesses and encourage cooperation. But the organization doesn't even encourage cooperation among its employees. The administrators engage in favoritism and choose sides constantly. They pit employees against one another. The goals of the organization and their true values have nothing to do with one another.

Post 2

@ZipLine-- Established organizations do try and hire administrators who share similar organizational culture values. Of course there are times when these values have to change. This doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Post 1

An organization's values definitely depends on its founders and administrators. But I think that values, culture and methods should mostly remain the same, even when different people take over.

If an organization's values changes suddenly, it's very difficult for employees to suddenly adapt to it. Everyone is used to how things are carried out. If there are share holders, sudden changes in values will also be unpleasant for them. Things may not run smoothly until for a while, or organizational conflict may arise.

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