Can Management Dictate Company Culture?

In recent years, there has been a great deal written and discussed about various company "cultures"-the culture of a company being the combined and shared belief and value systems within an organization. The company or organization culture influences how individuals behave and operate, as well as the process with which new employees become acclimated to the corporate or business "scene." Many people believe that a company culture evolves over time and once it is established, it is tough to make drastic changes. This is not to say that the culture is stagnant or cannot change, however. Sometimes, management or owners attempt to create or dictate what the company culture will be with varying degrees of success.

If the values and beliefs of management are cohesive with those of the work force, the influences on company culture may not be an issue. For example, if management decides that open communication and excellent customer service should be key elements of the company culture and good communication channels already exist, as well as dedicated employees who strive to keep customers happy-then there shouldn't be an issue. If, however, management SAYS that the company culture includes open communication but does not create avenues for that or if the reality is that employees comments and requests fall on deaf ears-then there can be a problem.

The company culture IS what is happening and it exists in the genuine workplace setting. If the management team wants to change or influence this, then it needs to be implemented over time and actions need to match mission statement and the "words" used to describe the values and belief systems. If management declares that it values employees, the actions of management need to reflect this stated value. Employees will not respond well if there is a disparity and overall morale and productivity will be affected.

If the company or business has an existing culture, it is really impossible for management to come in and declare or dictate a different set of values and belief systems. New companies or departments will have a better chance of "creating" a culture that is dictated by management since there won't be the working against the status quo.

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