Our Story






Understanding Organizational Culture

What do we mean when we talk about organizational culture? Is it employee morale or engagement? Is it level of satisfaction or job fulfillment? Perhaps it refers to strategy and direction? Or even capable and trusting leadership?

All of the above are critical aspects of organizational culture, but are not its essence. Definitions of culture abound. Webster’s dictionary defines culture as “The integrated pattern of human behaviour that includes thought, speech, action and artifacts and depends on one’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.”

Marvin Bower, founder of McKinsey + Company, a global management consulting firm, defines organizational culture in his book The Will to Manage, as “Culture is the way we do things around here.” My own favourite is from the French writer and politician Edouard Herriot who states that “Culture is what remains when we have forgotten everything else.”

And yet, despite the vagueness or uncertainty about how to define organizational culture, we don’t seem to have any trouble recognizing it when we see it. We seem to intuitively grasp when we are thriving as part of “great culture” or withering in the throes of a “toxic culture”.

Make. Work. Better.

This is an exclusive subscriber-only story

Subscribe Today

To discuss re-use of this material, contact us.

Already a Subscriber? Log in.

Reuse and Permissions: Unauthorized distribution, transmission, reuse or republication of any and all content is strictly prohibited. To discuss re-use of this material, please contact: copyright@yourworkplace.ca ; 877-668-1945.

Jack Muskat
Jack Muskat
Jack Muskat, Ph.D., is a Toronto-based Organizational Psychologist, writer and lecturer with over 25 years consulting and business experience with individuals and organizations. He advises senior executives and managers around selection and developmental planning. Dr. Muskat is an acknowledged expert on issues relating to organizational culture and leadership, succession planning and strategic management. He also teaches courses on leadership and negotiations at the Schulich School of Business.

The Engaged Work Rebel

Picture this: your loyal communications coordinator arrives at work promptly at 9 am every day. He goes about his tasks and avoids Facebook and Twitter.

Homeward Bound

Working from home has become increasingly popular around the globe thanks to the plethora of technological advances in the communications field. Employees and employers mutually

Embrace the Three Laws

Appreciation and rewards programs do more than make staff happy – they can also build your company’s culture, create relationships and draw in talented new