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What is culture?

Culture is everywhere. It is all around us.
Even now, in this very room.

Okay, so that’s not exactly what Morpheus said, but he might as well have. Organizational culture is the DNA and personality of the company, a collection of shared beliefs and behavioral norms that result in our day-to-day work environment. It’s the operating system running in the background that determines the way people work and interact. It directs how information flows, the degree to which the organization is efficient, and the extent to which employees and leaders collaborate to make the organization a success. It’s the shared values, beliefs, and practices, the rules of the road that allows us to do our very best, or our very worse. It makes it possible for us to engage or disengage, collaborate or frustrate, uplift or breakdown, and produce or destroy. It establishes the normative expectations by which behaviors and attitudes are evaluated as “good,” “bad,” “right,” and “wrong.” It establishes the assumptions, values, norms, and symbols that determine how members of an organization perceive reality in and around their organization, as well as the appropriate way to behave in that reality. It’s the backdrop against which members assign meaning to events and process everything that happens around them.