Organizational culture can best be explained as an organization

Corporate culture explained in simple terms: definition, models and development

The corporate culture is - especially in times of advancing globalization and a shortage of skilled workers - a fundamental factor for corporate success and the competitiveness of a company. A positive corporate culture gives you a decisive advantage on the job market. But many factors of corporate culture are not directly visible and difficult to measure.

How can you then shape culture in your company? What influence do you have? And what role does leadership play in corporate culture? You can find the answers in this article.

Corporate culture: definition

The corporate culture is the character, the personality of a company. Certain behaviors are derived from it:

  • How to deal with colleagues, customers, partners (communication behavior)
  • How decisions are made
  • How employees identify with the company
  • How to deal with mistakes
  • How solution-oriented employees think and act
  • How performance and commitment are valued
  • How loyal the employees are
  • How family-friendly a company is
  • How leadership is lived
  • Etc.

The company culture is based on shared attitudes, symbols or rituals as well as norms and values. These in turn influence how employees act, how they think and how they feel.

The importance of corporate culture

The company's success is strongly related to the corporate culture. It influences results and affects employee satisfaction. A lived corporate culture ensures that employees are satisfied in the long term, who can identify with the company and stay with the company longer. Employees work more productively and can do more if they are satisfied with their work. The motivation of the employees increases when they can identify with the values ​​and norms of your employer. Of course, the same also applies to managers. The results of a positive corporate culture include:

  • A stronger employee loyalty
  • A higher level of motivation and greater commitment from employees
  • Solution-oriented work and faster change processes through employee participation
  • A better employer image and reputation on the job market

Corporate culture: models for illustration

The corporate culture can be analyzed and described with numerous models. We present two of the conventional models to you here

The sham model

The model according to the organizational psychologist Edgar H. Schein divides the company culture into three levels:

Level 1 basic assumptions

These are usually unconscious and not visible. Basic assumptions form the basis of the corporate culture. Since basic assumptions are firmly anchored in people's thoughts and actions, are perceived as normal and are rarely or not at all questioned, changes at this level are more difficult to accept and implement. In them, for example, basic behavior patterns and interpersonal relationships are anchored.

Level 2 values ​​and norms

Values ​​and norms form the foundation of the company organization and its guidelines, standards of conduct and rules.

Level 3 artifacts

Artifacts describe visible and conscious behavioral patterns in the corporate culture.

According to this model, a change in corporate culture should begin in level 2. Behaviors and commandments can be changed consciously in the long term. For this, the visible behavior patterns and rituals are adapted.

The iceberg model

The iceberg model divides corporate culture into two parts: the visible (the tip of the iceberg above water) and the invisible (the larger part of the iceberg that is underwater). The lower hidden part of the iceberg forms the basis of the visible part. In order to bring about a change in culture, the invisible factors must be recognized in order to be able to adapt the visible factors.

Visible factors:

  • Rituals
  • Guides
  • Strategies
  • Philosophies
  • Company vision and mission
  • Employer image
  • External appearance (of the employees, the location, the offices, etc.)

Invisible factors:

  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Unspoken rules
  • Employee wishes and needs
  • Shared values

How to develop your corporate culture

The job market is constantly changing. So it is only logical that companies should also change and adapt to current developments. There are four steps you can take to develop the corporate culture:

1. Analysis

The first step is to take stock and determine the current situation. Ask yourself where you are now. What is your current corporate culture like? Anonymous employee surveys, interviews and feedback discussions are helpful tools. Include employees and managers as well as customers and suppliers. At the same time, have a look at the history of the company and your competition.

2. Assessment

In the second step, you assess the current situation. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current corporate culture? Conversations and discussions with managers and experts in the HR departments are appropriate here.

3. Goal setting

In the next step, ask yourself what is strategically important for your company and where you want to go. What challenges need to be overcome? It is important here that you have a clear strategy to work out which factors of your corporate culture can be strengthened and which should be weakened.

4. Implementation

The task now is to formulate the goals in concrete terms and implement them. The new corporate culture must take hold in the minds of employees and managers. The best way to achieve this is to concentrate on communication within the company. The organizational structure and management principles are also decisive factors in controlling the development of the corporate culture.

How can the corporate culture be measured?

Making company culture measurable is no easy task. Since many factors are not visible and do not depend on any measurable data, the hidden factors must first be made visible. The most important data that play a role in the measurability of corporate culture include:

Company culture and leadership

The management of a company acts as a role model for the employees. If the corporate culture is also lived in the management of the company and employees perceive it as positive, they are also willing to do more for the company. Motivation, identification and togetherness are decisive factors for corporate success and these start with corporate management.

If the management of a company exemplifies the corporate culture, it is easier for the employees to implement it as well. The visible factors that reflect the corporate culture are, for example, the dress code, family friendliness, Duzen or Siezen (friendly or collegial interaction).

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