What Is Organizational Culture?

  1. 1 Describe the common characteristics of organizational culture.

An executive once was asked what he thought organizational culture meant. He gave essentially the same answer U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart gave in defining pornography: “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” In this section, we propose one definition and review several related ideas.

A Definition of Organizational Culture

Organizational culture refers to a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations.1 Seven primary characteristics seem to capture the essence of an organization’s culture:2

  1. Innovation and risk taking. The degree to which employees are encouraged to be ...

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