Culture and Structure

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture:

  • Is the behaviour of people in an organization and the meanings that they attach to their actions
  • Includes the values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits in the organization

Culture is what an external person will perceive about an organisation when interfacing with it.

When examining the culture that an organisation has, it is necessary to look at many different factors. The first of these is called organisational positioning and is how the organisation is perceived from an external perspective.

Other factors include the Values and what they mean to staff; the behaviours desired and those shown, plus any gap between these two; systems in place and whether they fulfill their requirements or are less than fit for purpose.

It is necessary to do a comprehensive review of all factors when performing a Cultural Audit in readiness for planning cultural improvements, or designing and implementing a new culture.

An organisation which does not have a culture which supports the strategic direction and achievement of it’s Vision, will not achieve the level of success its needs.


The structure of the organisation has to be appropriate for the purpose it is fulfilling and for the achievement of its strategic targets and objectives. Some questions to ask include “are our people succeeding in spite of the system and structure, or because of it?”; “what support do our people get? Is it enough, not enough, or too much?”.

The structure should be lean, have responsibilities devolved as far as possible, accountabilities at the right level to support achievement of the responsibilities, incorporate trained personnel, provide the right “tools for the job” and not encourage hiding in functional foxholes.

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