&What is your culture?

Google defines Culture as the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. It is often implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.

The culture of the company is a key factor in its success. It controls how its employees behave among themselves, as well as with people outside. Culture is what binds us together and it the hardest thing for competitors to copy. Our culture is what gives us the competitive advantage. A lot of organizations have tried to create their own culture but they have failed. We on the other hand have been successful and have been able to summarized it to one analogy. The badger.


A former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Edgar Henry Schein identifies 3 key elements to an organization’s culture and these are;

Espoused values; These are Vision, mission and values that are clearly spelt out. They are part of the official identity. These are created by founders of the business and entrenched into the employee’s’ life. The values become a representation of what the company believes in. It greatly influences how employees think and act. They are values in which the foundations of the said organization are set.

Shared basic assumption; These are deeply embedded elements, taken for granted behaviors which are most of the time taken for granted and are usually unconscious. These assumptions are typically so well integrated in the office dynamic that they are hard to recognize from within. This include people coming in late, people’s disregard for quality checking or people ensuring that they don’t leave the office until the job is done.

Artifacts & behavior; They include things that are tangible and intangible. Things like the office, furniture, dress code, office jokes and how people interact with within and with customers. This are elements that can be recognized by people who are not in the organization.

These three elements make up an organization culture and forms as part of the identity. A company itself cannot have a culture. It’s the amalgamation of different employees, their interaction and their traits that make the culture. It means that as an employee you have a role to play in the making of a company culture. And the question that you as an employee need to ask yourself is what role am I playing in building your organization’s culture.  It includes but not limited to how you interact with people around you, how you make them feel, how you do your work and how you look.

Most importantly is that process building culture should not be limited to the company you work for but it should also be an internal and individual process. What is your culture? Do you have visions, mission and values that you live by? How do you interact with people? What is your identity?

By Edward Shila  

&related items