Corporate culture has always been an important area of study and many suggestion of improvement in this area have been presented by experts all over the world. What makes corporate culture so interesting is ambiguous nature of the concept. On one hand, corporate culture is unwritten and unspoken set of rules that everyone at the organization follows without fail. On the other hand, it is often documented in employee handbooks as the accepted behavior expected of the employs at all levels.
What really makes corporate culture a very interesting field of study is the fact that although every company has its own distant culture, almost all instances of corporate culture share some elements. This situation is made more complex by the fact that every country has its own brand of corporate culture that in turn share common elements.
What is corporate culture?
The most important issue in defining corporate culture is the fact that there are a number of variables that make up corporate culture. In many cases, these variables could include social norms that vary from one social culture to another. This is why it is difficult to give an accurate and all inclusive description of corporate culture.
The present definition of corporate culture defines it as the set of rules and expected behaviors that controls and governs the way people go about their business and interact with each other in all matters of managing the company.
What makes corporate cultures really interesting is the fact that they are not present as a single visible layer of rules and regulations. In almost all cases, there are multiple layers of customs and accepted ways of going about certain matters that make up the corporate culture of a particular organization. The crux of the matter is the fact that even in an organization that comprises of a similar mix pf people and exists in a similar industry, these rules and regulation might differ to a large extent. Add in the social values and the situation usually becomes quite complicated.
To avoid some of the legal implications and complications of the impact of social norms on organizational culture, organizations often have their prescribed ways of going about certain issues. These ways usually become so embedded with the corporate consciousness that it becomes virtually impossible to
Why corporate culture should be assessed?
Corporate culture of an organization is the representation of the way employees at all level interact with each other. Even for a small organization, the turn over of employees is enough to make sure that there is always a mix of employees from different backgrounds, educational institutes and cultural sensitivities.
In the case of businesses that have their stakeholders distributed all over the world, corporate culture becomes a term hat is very loosely defined. In such cases, corporate culture is defined by employee handbook that only dictates the best practices of behavior and interpersonal interaction. The rest is left to the local social variables.
This means that the prevailing cultural norm within the organization requires periodic review to ensure that it is aligned with the present needs of the organization. A more important reason of assessing corporate culture had to with introducing changes in the organizational culture.
In many cases, organizational cultural is often found to wanting in many respects. Often it is the case of outdated practices being forced on a newer bred of employees. In other cases, it is important to accommodate local practices and customs within the framework of the organizational culture. This is a common problem of companies that expand beyond their initial geographical borders. A prime example of this phenomenon is the modified corporate culture of Western corporations working in the Middle East. These corporations have to observe the majority of local customs and traditions in corporate and social dealing with their local employees and customers.
Assessing corporate culture is best left to experts who specialize in the area. These consultants have wide experience in working with clients in different sectors and thus could bring cross industry corporate culture assessment techniques to the table. In addition, these experts work with the HR and Employee Relations department of the organization to assess and implement changes to the corporate culture.