Importance of Organizational Culture in Business Success

Organizational culture is defined as “The set of shared, taken-for-granted implicit assumptions that a group holds and that determines how it perceives, thinks about and reacts to its various environments.” Culture is one of the four elements that drive the mission. A strong mission exists when the four elements of the mission comprising purpose, strategy, behavior, and values reinforce each other. Organizational culture is the company’s value system which translates into “the way we do things out here”.

Culture is the basic purpose that holds the organization together. It is the shared values and meanings that each member of the organization holds in common. The shared values are built up, articulated, and practiced by organizational leaders by their examples and actions.  Such culture is continually transmitted by the leaders in the organization through communication between the employees and other stakeholders, their attitudes, and the decisions that they take on a daily basis. Culture exists in every organization, whether created through careful design and implementation, or through natural or implied development as a company grows. Companies having strong corporate culture will have a shared philosophy between employer and employee, value the importance of people, and creates a caring and sharing approach between members of management and other employees.

Because corporate culture has a strong influence on a company’s economic performance, it can have a galvanizing and potent effect. A strong corporate culture that is compatible with the company’s mission and environment will drive better financial results compared to a company with weaker corporate culture. But a strong corporate culture that is not in tune with the company’s mission and environment will not create a sense of mission in employees will hinder the company’s growth and success.

How can a company leverage its culture for business success?

  1. Hire for skill and culture fit.

Labor turnover is expensive and it is important that companies do everything they can on the front end to ensure they are bringing the right talent into their organizations. Best Companies have rigorous hiring processes that not only assess skill, but also the candidate’s natural synergy with the organization’s culture. Best Companies will often hire a less skilled employee if they are a strong culture fit, knowing that skill is something that can be trained – but culture is not easily changed or trained. By using the company’s culture as an additional screen in the hiring process, the company increases the chances that the new hires will quickly find their footing and become fully integrated. The company will also be doing the existing employees a favor by bringing someone on board who will have an easier time integrating into the team. Finally, the company will be adding another person to the team who can contribute success in a rich way by bringing a full commitment to the work that they do.

  1. Put the organization’s values to work.

In great workplaces, a company’s defined shared values and other cultural pillars are integrated into everything that is done – hiring, communication, recognition, celebration, even firing. They can also act as a compass during difficult times and enhance decision-making. Shared values provide a sense of consistency, cohesion, and purpose across the organization.

  1. Find out what makes the company great so that it can be consolidated both internally and externally.

Why do your employees think that a particular company is a great place to work? What do the employees enjoy the most in the company that they work with? Why are the employees so loyal to the company and stick with the company through thick and thin? What makes the organization special and unique? Having a clear sense of what a company does well is just as important as knowing what to improve because what a company does well is what the organization needs to highlight, build and leverage upon.

If there are components of your culture that you know are very strong, think about how you can lift those strengths up to and make them even more visible for employees or even for your customers and others from the outside world, who come into contact with your brand. Great workplaces are great not because they learned how to be someone else, but because they have gotten incredibly successful at being themselves at their very best. There’s no doubt about it that “culture” applies at least as much to organizations as it does to the art museum. Corporate culture is a must thing to every employee because it is the only way we can learn ethics to implement the new ideas with all the innovation to impact the company success.

In the Nigerian environment, the importance of culture as a key pivot of mission as translated into strategy is treated with levity or is totally ignored. Whereas strategy is a deliberate pattern of decisions that shape an organization’s position in the market, its future, and environmental fit, the culture, paradigm, or “how we do things around here”, underpin the robustness of the employer/employee relationship that create cohesion to boost unity of purpose and attainment of the corporate mission through the establishment of a sense of mission that pervades the entity. All the companies in Nigeria including MSMEs need to pay particular attention to their company’s values, beliefs, and behavior which collectively make up organizational culture.

The culture is the unconscious mind of the organization shaping how external change is interpreted, how strategic and tactical decisions are taken, and how internal change is managed. Culture significantly affects strategic change and organizational progress in the following ways:

  1. It filters events the external environment in the minds of the company’s personnel and therefore affects how managers understand external change
  2. It shapes the organization’s views on which people it will “bring aboard”. Companies tend to recruit according to their view as to who they can get along with.
  3. It plays an influential role in shaping the choice of leaders. This may be different where a leader is recruited specifically to challenge or “break” the paradigm or culture.
  4. It also shapes in a profound way how strategic decisions are implemented and also how day-to-day operations are conducted.

The paradigm may, therefore, work as a powerful barrier or stumbling block to change. Paradigm analysis is thus a powerful technique in bringing to the surface forces which impede or constrain change. In our continuously turbulent environment where organizations have to manage change almost on a constant basis, understanding the impact of culture is therefore important. An organization that does not take time to understand its culture, build and nurture it to a good purpose, will experience a stunted growth

 In conclusion, the success of any business depends largely on having the right culture, keeping it strong, understood and felt by the employees and others who come in contact with your brand, and consistent with organizational goals.  Successful businesses often align their business strategy, mission, or goals with the organization’s culture. A strong corporate culture is one of the most intangible that a company has and a key source of competitive advantage.

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