What is Company Culture?

In the library of my elementary school, there was a table that had large picture books on it. Many editions of Where’s Waldo were scattered there, along with a number of alphabet books. But the one book that was consistently bickered over and forcefully wrenched from the hands of one student by another, was a book of optical illusions. A vase became someone’s face, a young woman turned into an older woman, and no one was quite sure how many sides that triangle had. Every person saw the images in a slightly different way, and many arguments were had over what was the “correct” image.

In a lot of ways, company culture, or, moreover, organizational culture is a lot like that picture book. Everyone can agree that organizational culture is a thing that exists, but defining this nebulous concept seems beyond our grasp. Is organizational culture the actions of the members of an organization? Is it the emotional mindset of the individuals, or the overall goals of the organization as a whole? Is it the narrative told, either implicitly or explicitly, by the organization? Is it one, monolithic concept, or is it a number of smaller “sub-cultures”?

Regrettably, I do not have a clear definition written up and ready to go. I, too, am incapable of defining something as nebulous and multi-faceted as “company culture.” However, if this were a test and I had to pick a definition, I would probably select “all of the above.” Culture is made up of moving parts, from the set of expectations for its members to the emotional content those expectations create. Organizational culture is, nebulously defined, the way an organization “feels” to an individual, whether an insider or an outsider. It is the values the company espouses and whether or not they actually adhere to those values. It is, quite literally, all of the above.

When you begin the hunt for a new job, or start thinking of making a career transition, one of the factors that will help you make the decision of where to go next will certainly be the culture of an organization. In fact, company culture is frequently something we discuss with clients at Career Solutions Group. Don’t discount the importance of organizational culture; keep it in the back of your mind when you move forward, and always try to contribute to it in a positive way.

If you are considering making a career transition, email us at info@careersolutionsgroup.net. We offer free initial consultations, and can provide career support for you from start to success during your job search.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group