Analyzing Organizational Culture

How To Analyze Your Company's Organizational Culture

Analyzing organizational culture can occur on many different levels. On the theoretical level, one of the foremost individuals on the study and analyzing organizational culture is Dutch sociologist and writer Geert Hofstede. Hofstede's studies of how corporations and companies function most effectively is compared to how a good company had many comparisons to a successfully run nation, and how the culture of a people had an effect on organizational culture, and vice-versa.

When a company is not running to its full potential, there are various reasons that a culture may not be working. The CEO may want to chart an aggressive course looking to be willing to take chances and to exploit every little opportunity, while the mid level managers might be prone to avoiding uncertainty--and thus play it way too safe.

The organizational culture can be one of the most important factors in whether a large corporation succeeds or fails, but it is also one of the hardest things to change about a company since by its very definition organizational culture is shared throughout the entire company. This is why success tends to breed success while a sinking company is so hard to turn around, even if huge changes are made at the top.

On a practical level, especially with a quick turnaround or shift in culture as the eventual goal, there are a few things to keep in mind. One is feedback. Setting up a system of quick feedback means someone at the top can get a quick, if not instant, response to a program or situation.

Sometimes if a bad situation, such as a CEO who tended to over micro-manage, gets removed, then that simple action can provide an instant "feedback," or in that case an instant response to the removal of bad influence. A good leader will be able to ride this early momentum to at least set the base of a new style of organizational culture.

When analyzing organizational culture, you also want to figure out what types of managers and workers you have on every level, and: a) what type of organizational culture can maximize their abilities for the larger good of the company, or b) if the workers and supervisors already in place simply do not have the ability to shift to the organizational culture that is best. Analyzing both strengths and weaknesses can help determine where a company is, and what direction it can most effectively head towards.

A company with a very strong culture wants to make sure it doesn't go so far that no new ideas are let into the conversation. This would kill innovation. Likewise, in a company with a weak culture, if bureaucracy is a problem, while eliminating the unnecessary layers, your company still has to function. Analyzing organizational culture can be difficult, but it is a process that is well worth undertaking.