I’m always interested when other write about company cultures, especially writers I respect. One such person is Chris Ferdinandi of the Renegade HR blog. He recently wrote on Pockets of Culture, saying:
“I’ve noticed that every organization has at least two (often three) levels of culture:
1) Organizational Culture. This is what most people think of when you talk about workplace culture. What’s it like to work at Acme Corporation?
2) Locational Culture. If your organization has more than one location, each one will often have it’s own culture. It fits into the bigger organizational culture (usually), but has it’s own unique quirks and idiosyncrasies.
3) Team Culture. Within each building or location, culture varies even further still by the team you’re on. The HR culture is different from the marketing culture, which is different from sales, and so on. It still falls under the cultural umbrellas of the organization and location, but the team culture is unique.”
Chris and I engaged in a comments discussion in which I explained my position that the trick is doing everything possible to keep all three cultures in alignment with the overall desired company culture. Sure, there’s good reason for sales (more risk taking) to develop a different culture from finance (more risk averse), but still remain in the bounds of the greater culture of, say, high integrity/ethics.
We believe the best way to encourage the necessary latitude but apply the equally necessary constraints is through your company’s values — but by bringing them to life in the everyday work of employees through strategic recognition. You do this by recognizing employees — regardless of team or location — when they demonstrate the behaviors that reflect the values the organization has deemed important company success.
What’s your take on the various cultures that can arise in an organization? Does your local or team culture align with your organizational culture? If it doesn’t, is that a good or a bad thing?