Organisation culture and climate – know the difference?

What is Organisational Culture? 

Organisational Culture is a shared belief or collective perception of the tacit rules and expectations of what the organisation expects from us and what it holds as his values.

Through Organisational Culture surveys, we get an idea about the company:

  • Vision, mission, values, ideology
  • How supervisors are expected to be?
  • How subordinates are expected to be?
  • The most important priority of the company?
  • What characteristics should successful employees possess?
  • How the organisation treats employees?
  • Are the employees driven by performance/ power or something else?
  • Autonomy of an employee?
  • How much control does the supervisor have on his peers and subordinates?
  • How are tasks assigned?
  • How are employees motivated to work- fear, creativity, work achievement, obligations, soulful job tasks etc?
  • How are competition and conflict controlled?
  • When do hierarchies apply and when do teams apply?;
  • Are hierarchies more or are there more teams?
  • Decisions are made by whom?
  • What are the chains of command – are they centralised or de-centralized?
  • How the organisation views the external environment in general?

And other relative aspects like these that reflect the attitude of the organisation in general.

What is Organisational Climate

Organisational Climate is the shared perceptions and beliefs of the actual conditions of the organisation by its employees that are importantly the internal environment of the company.

Now through, organisational climate surveys, we get a collective idea about various aspects of the organisation like:

  • Employee’s role clarity
  • How respectable he feels in the organisation
  • Whether he receives relevant, appropriate information at the right time
  • Reward systems in the company
  • Career pathway for the employee
  • Does the organisation focus on employee’s individual career development regardless of whether projects and resources are available or not
  • If the general and specific project planning is efficient or not
  • Is decision making participative or authoritarian
  • Are their informed choice decisions available for employees
  • Is innovation regarded as necessary and is the company upgrading itself technologically and otherwise to suit the current trends and market?
  • Does the company plan well ahead for the future?
  • Is the company sensitive to employee’s needs (people with special needs, women and minorities?
  • Is the company inclusive of all cultures, races and ethnic backgrounds?
  • Is there proper teamwork and peer support?
  • Are employees cooperative and helpful or are they manipulative?
  • Are there a lot of rules with regard to work ethics and are the work ethics practice predominantly in terms of quality, confidentiality, empathy etc?
  • How are the conflicts resolved by the company?
  • Are employees allowed to resolve their own conflicts?
  • Are conflicts foreseen and prevented by the company?
  • Does the company maintain the morale of the employees?
  • Are the employees mostly committed to their work and to the business?
  • Is there enough importance given to employees in terms of training and learning, reviewing work and improvisations in a periodic manner?
  • Is there a direction to the company?
  • Are employees well informed about the business’ progress and where it is headed?; Do they feel like they belong to the company?
  • Are hard work and performance well rewarded, individual and team performances are rewarded?
  • Are feedback and constructive criticism appreciated and practised?
  • Does the company provide adequate resources for the employees to grow?

These questions when raised give us a tangible picture of where the company is headed and where it has to improvise in order to sustain a favourable climate.

In conclusion, 

Organisational culture reflects very abstract concepts and general attitudes. They could be studied or quantified in detail by using an Organisational climate survey. This, in turn, would help change the organisational culture and whether the perceptions of the employees towards it are favourable or unfavourable.

When combined with other questionnaires work motivation questionnaires and job satisfaction scales we can predict whether or not the employee is satisfied with the organisation. Along with secondary data, this is a quick measure to get a gist of your company. This paves a way to understand what factors have to be improved in the organisation to sustain an employee there.

By using the organisational culture and climate surveys a company can get an idea of what kind of culture it has. It could then assert the same to the employees thereby making employees get adjusted to it.  Or it could mould its culture in a different way gradually to change its brand outlook.


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