Organisational Culture

Introducing The Issue 

Is your workplace a happy and productive one? This will depend highly on your culture, which can be perceived as ‘the way we do things around here.’ Culture includes the behavioural norms that employees tend towards, the environment they work in, and how they behave towards one another and to other stakeholders such as suppliers and customers.

Questions For Managers 

Responsible 100 has developed a number of introductory questions to help you explore this important issue and your organisation's exposure to it. Please respond with as much relevant information as you can. These questions are available via this Google Form.

Questions For Employees

Responsible 100 has developed a number of questions specifically for employees. They are designed to enable people working in the organisation to share their thoughts, observations and opinions on this important issue. Please respond with as much relevant information as you can. (These questions will be available soon via a Google Form.) 

Benchmark Performance Statements

  • EXCELLENT - Developing a healthy culture is a strategic priority and involves people at all levels of the organisation. Organisational culture is defined and measured in a fully inclusive, open, and accountable fashion. Policies, practices and structures are put in place for excellent culture to flourish.
  • GOOD - The importance of organisational culture is understood and widely communicated. The business takes steps to define and monitor culture openly and collaboratively. A range of good practices can be demonstrated and a healthy culture has been achieved.
  • OKAY - Good organisational culture is recognised and strived for, although with mixed results. The culture is occasionally diminished by hierarchical and top-down ways of working. Attempts to define and monitor culture are undertaken only on an ad-hoc basis. Or the business demonstrates that culture is not a material issue for the organisation.  
  • POOR - Company culture is highly hierarchical and top-down. There is no meaningful engagement on culture and what that means for stakeholders, and/or the prevailing culture is harmful to employees and other stakeholders, outdated (such as "work hard / play hard"), confrontational, or otherwise creating poor practices, higher risks, inefficiencies, stress and anxiety. 

Responsible 100 creates and develops detailed benchmarks on each of the issues we explore. Each benchmark identifies and defines different levels of performance as either POOR, OKAY, GOOD or EXCELLENT. A general statement describes those four performance levels in summary. Under each statement, examples of the sorts of policies and practices businesses are observed pursuing are listed, usually broken down into categories, e.g. Policies & Procedures; Target Setting, Measurement & Reporting; or Leadership, Advocacy & Culture. Some such lists include 50 or more examples. The above reveals the current summary statements only. The complete benchmarks are shared with those organisations which, through offering answers to the above questions - and any other relevant details about what they do, how and why - help to shape and improve the benchmarks on an ongoing basis.

Exploring The Issue

An organisation’s culture can be described as the dynamics between a group of people and the sum of the perceptions, beliefs and values the group possesses.

Culture is what it feels like to be somewhere – it isn’t always a tangible thing something you can put your finger on. Because of this, organisational culture is curious, complex and in many ways ambiguous. But it is also the single most important attribute of any business or organisation and the most critical determinant of morale, cohesiveness, effectiveness and future success. Those who are aware that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ treat it with due care and attention, and invest in it on an ongoing basis. Where culture is neglected, employees will be neither happy, engaged nor empowered. And where this is the case, any kind of progress on any responsibility issue is an uphill battle at best.

The culture of a workplace is likely to change over time as its leaders, the organisation itself and its business environment change. The aim of defining a required culture is to support the delivery of the agreed business aims and objectives and, as such, there is no single culture definition that every organisation should adopt. The key is that it must link to what the organisation is trying to achieve and create a clarity for everyone across the business as they carry out their every-day duties. Through this, it is then more likely to support the delivery of the organisation's objectives.


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