Changing Climate or Culture? What Do We Need?

When looking for an employer, you always look for an organisation that will build you in your career. It is therefore, the successes and values of an organisation that will give you an interest with working with them. The company working behaviour, values and the operational atmosphere will always play a role in your selection.

How Do We Define Culture And Climate?

Whenever you work in different organisations, you will always realize that each company has diverse rules and regulations that show its employees how to behave. These are the organisations cultures. How then can we describe organisational culture?

It is the psychological environment that refers to the shared assumptions, values and beliefs that control people’s behaviours. It provides boundaries and guidelines on how members will perform a job. Organisational culture is the personality of an organisation and is not easily changed, thus for every organisation you join, you are expected to do as the Romans do so to speak.

As you fit into the organisation culture, there will be the overall atmosphere that you will notice, which will be the climate of the organisation. Therefore, the climate is how you as a working member of the organisation will experience the culture, as both are related.

What Are The Similarities And Differences Of Climate And Culture?

The differences are as listed below:

  • The organisation climate changes frequently and easily, depending on the top management, as it is the mood of the organization. The mood changes depending on various factors, and it is easy to identify, whereas the culture, that represents personality, does not change easily and cannot be easily identified, as it is ingrained into the organisation.
  • Culture entails values, beliefs, myths traditions and norms, whereas climate is determined by the leadership, the organisational structure, communication, rewards, and trust.

On the other hand, climate and culture focus on the psychological environment as defined social context in an organisation.

How Can We Change The Organisation Climate And Cultures?

1. The factors that determine the climate changes are:

  • “How you lead” is the most important determinant, as the type of leader and the leadership skills will influence the behaviour and the expectations of employees. The Expectations of the management will influence the mood. It could be that there is a reward system in place and this will strengthen acceptable behaviour.
  • The structure of the organisation will speak volumes on its success. Some organisations put customer value topmost, while others emphasize on employee comfort. Depending on type of service being rendered, you find that each may work well depending on the company.
  • Historical dimensions on the philosophy of the founder. The initial philosophy of the company tends to influence the organisation growth even years later. For example, if a company is founded on innovation and it changes to dictatorship, you may leave that organisation.
  • How you are held accountable will determine the level of performance and behaviour. In an organization where no one seems to follow up on you, the likelihood of laxity will become high leading to poor performance.
  • No one wants to work in an organisation that scolds you openly and disrespects you. Therefore, how an organization communicates within the staff is a key element.
  • The trust that you have for the organisation management can be identified, when you as an employee feel that you are valued in the business.
  • Your level of commitment to an organisation is associated with how you pride in being associated with them. This adds up to your level of productivity. When a Japanese employee is asked the question “Where are you from?” the employee will answer “I am from Toyota”.
  • We all want to work in an organised organisation. This is evident from the company’s visions and strategies.
  • Working in an organisation where you contribute in different department will show organisation connectivity.

2. Culture on the other hand is determined by:

  • The organisation motto, behaviour, and reaction time reflect that which is important to the business and what it values more. You will always choose to work for an organisation that you share values.
  • When you join a new organisation, you will tend to start adopting to do things as they are done. This is because your actions will have consequences and thus you must adhere to the organisation’s beliefs, innovations, and rules.
  • Most organisations have predictable traditions events like Birthday, Performance Celebrations…etc. This always makes you to look forward to such expected events.
  • Organisational culture differentiates a healthy working environment from a toxic one. For example, someone was sent a warning letter in a toxic organisation culture for being innovative, whereas, in a healthy organisation innovative people are being awarded for their innovation.
  • Organisational culture sets the standards of beliefs and behaviours that everyone will do without having to be told. For example, the dress code. This is the “norm”.
So, what do we need?
  1. An organisation with a strong vision will make you feel excited and committed. This is because we all want to be part of a great vision; as a result working in such a company will give you pride and commitment.
  2. Values that are in line with the vision must also come to play. These values influence how the organisation acts or thinks.
  3. An organisation that has accountability structures for both performance and behaviour and does not discriminate anyone will make you to perform your best.
  4. When you work with teams that are high performing and put the needs of the organisation first, you will feel a common sense of purpose, innovation and synergy.
  5. Timely and informative communication to all stakeholders to set the tone.
  6. Rewards and recognitions for quality performance and behavioural integrity.
  7. Encouraged external competition intra departmentally will help set a good mood, but you should not engage in inter-departmental competition, as this leads to rivalry and duplication.
  8. Continued staff development and internal promotions will indicate a very good culture of the organisation.
  9. Flexible management protocols that will help the organisation grow with the times.

Conclusion – what needs to be changed?
It is challenging to decide what needs to change. Culture and climate play strong roles in an organisation. How well the two are interlinked is the way forward. We see that the culture is ingrained into the organizational DNA and, therefore, its change is not easy. Climate on the other hand, despite having roots from culture, it does have flexibility. It works with other factors to get a successful organization with committed result oriented staff. It is recommended that the climate changes, while culture is linked to it. The one reality that we all agree on, is that each organisation has its own uniqueness and what works in “A” might not work in “B”.


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