What is culture?

Culture” is a term that has become an important part of any organisation’s vocabulary and a defining characteristic when talking about the organisation to both employees and customers.

However, what it really means, how it works, and the impact it has on performance are often misunderstood. We define “culture” in the organisational context as being shared norms and expectations that govern the way people approach their work and interact with each other. Such norms and expectations shape how organisational members believe they are expected to behave in order to fit in, get things done, and at times simply survive.

Organisational culture is influenced by a variety of factors, not least the behaviour of the organisation’s leaders. To help organisations effectively measure their culture we use the How Culture Works model. This identifies a total of 31 causal factors (organised in five categories) that are responsible for shaping culture and helping an organisation move from its Current Culture to its preferred Ideal Culture. The model illustrates the relationships between these Causal Factors and the organization’s actual Operating Culture, along with the Outcomes of culture at the individual, group, and organisational levels.



How Culture Works
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