The way we do things around here

  • Organisational culture refers to

    • values
    • attitudes
    • beliefs
  • of an organisation’s employees

  • Culture is built up slowly over a long period of time and it will be different in every organisation

  • Culture consists of

    • shared values of a business
    • beliefs and norms that affect every aspect of work life
    • the behaviours that are typical of day-to-day behaviour
    • the strength of a culture determines how difficult or easy it is to know how to behave in the business

Factors Influencing Culture of an Organisation

  • Influence of the founder (shadow of the leader)
  • Size and development stage of the business (eg, start-up, multisite, multinational)
  • Leadership & management style
  • Organisational structure, policies & practices

Ways of Identifying Culture Within an Organisation

  • Company Rituals
    • Celebrating a birthday
  • Reward systems
    • Are employees still rewarded for acting in an unethical manner?
    • Are staff rewarded for high sales or happy customers?
  • Physical environment
    • What pictures hang on the walls?
    • How much investment do facilities receive?

How culture might be demonstrated

  • How employees are recruited
  • The way that visitors and guests are looked after
  • How the working space is organised
  • The degree of delegation & individual responsibility
  • How contracts are negotiated and agreed
  • The personality and style of the sales force
  • The responsiveness of communication
  • The methods used for communication
  • How staff call each other

Strong or Weak


  • Staff understand and respond to culture
  • Little need for policies and procedures
  • Consistent behaviour
  • Culture is embedded


  • Little alignment with business values
  • Inconsistent behaviour
  • A need for extensive bureaucracy & procedures

Culture: Strong or Weak?

  • A firm’s cultural hold over their employees can be either strong or relatively weak
  • A strong culture is where employees agree with the firm’s corporate values and are committed to helping the firm in the long-term. Such staff are loyal and hence turnover is low.

Handy’s Four Types of Culture

  • Charles Handy devised a model which identified four distinct types of culture that might exist within an organisation

  • This theory explores classifications of business structures and organisation based upon the functions and roles of the individual.

  • Power

    • Power radiates from a few individuals
    • Found in entrepreneurial organisations
    • Few rules/little bureaucracy
    • Swift decision making
  • Role

    • People clearly delegated authorities
    • Highly defined structure role
    • Typically tall detailed organisational structure
    • Decision making slow
  • Task

    • Teams are formed to solve particular problems
    • Power derives from expertise as long as a team requires expertise
    • No single power source
    • Matrix organisation
    • Team may develop own objectives (potential risk)
  • Person

    • People believe they are superior to the organisation
    • Common in professionals
    • Success depends on retaining key personnel
Cultural TypeSuitable Leadership Style
RoleAutocratic or paternalistic

Why might a culture need changing?

  • Improved business performance
    • Declining profits and sales
    • Inadequate returns on investment
    • Low quality or standards of customer service
  • To respond to significant change
    • Market changes (growth, competitors)
    • Political and legal environment
    • Change of ownership (acquisition)
    • Change of management or leadership (eg, a new CEO)
    • Economic conditions (eg, downturn)