Understanding Organization culture

The ability to read an organization’s culture can be a valuable skill. For instance, if you’re looking for a job, you’ll want to choose an employer whose culture is compatible with your values and in which you’ll feel comfortable. If you can accurately assess a potential employer’s culture before you make your job decision, you may be able to save yourself a lot of grief and reduce and reduce the likelihood of making a poor choice. Similarly, you’ll undoubtedly have business transactions with numerous organizations during your professional career, such as selling a product or service, negotiating a contract, arranging a joint work project, or merely seeking out who controls certain decisions in an organization. The ability to assess another organization’s culture can be a definite plus in successfully performing those pursuits.

One can be more effective at reading an organization’s culture if you use the following behaviors. For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to look at this skill from the perspective of a job applicant. We’ll assume that you’re interviewing for a job, although these skills are general to many situations. Here’s a list of things one can do to help learn about an organization’s culture.

Do background work:
Get the names of former employees from friends or acquaintances, and talk with them. Also talk with members of professional trade associations to which the organization’s employees belong and executive recruiters who deal with the organization. Look for clues in stories told in annual reports and other organizational literature; and check out the organization’s Web sites for evidence of high turnover or recent management shake-ups.

Observe the physical surroundings:
Pay attention to signs, posters, pictures, photos, style of dress, length of hair, degree of openness between offices, and office furnishings and arrangements.

Make note about those with whom you met from the organization the way they liked to be addressed. Also note the characteristics and the style of the people met from the organization and their interaction style whether they were formal, casual, serious, jovial, open and reticent about providing information.

Look at the organization’s human resources manual and understand the company’s formal rules and regulations printed there. If so, how detailed are they and what do they cover?

Ask questions of the people with whom you meet and try to know:
The most valid and reliable information tends to come from asking the same questions of many people (to see how closely their responses align). Questions that will give insights into organizational processes and practices might include the background of the founders and that of current senior managers. Try to know these managers’ functional specialties and whether they are promoted from within or hired from outside. Any formal orientation program the organization has, to integrate its new employees. The structure adopted for their formal employee training programs.

Interacting with the boss, how does he define his or her job success? Many more aspects can be found out but what is mentioned above is adequate enough to understand the organization culture well for the employee and conduct himself well in the organization.

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