(GS PAPER -4) Work Culture

Work Culture

  • Work culture represents the collective values, beliefs and principles of organization and employee and is a product of such factors as history, product, market, technology, and strategy, type of employees, management style, and national culture. Work culture is a concept which deals in the study of:
    1. Beliefs, thought processes, attitudes of the employees.
    2. Ideologies and principles of the organization.

  • It is the work culture which decides the way employees interact with each other and how an organization functions. In layman’s language work culture refers to the mentality of the employees which further decides the ambience of the organization. Work culture is the environment that surrounds you at work all of the time.
  • An organization is said to have a strong work culture when the employees follow the organization’s rules and regulations and adhere to the existing guidelines.
  • Work culture plays an important role in extracting the best out of employees and making them stick to the organization for a longer duration. A healthy work culture leads to satisfied employees and an increased productivity.The organization must offer a positive ambience to the employees for them to concentrate on their work rather than interfering in each other’s work.

How to improve the work Culture?

1. Employees must be cordial with each other

  • One must respect his fellow worker. Backbiting is considered strictly unprofessional and must be avoided for a healthy work culture. One gains nothing out of conflicts and nasty politics at work.

2. Each employee should be treated as one

  • Partiality leads to demotivated employees and eventually an unhealthy work culture. Employees should be judged only by their work and nothing else. Personal relationships should take a backseat at the workplace.

3. Appreciating the top performers is important

  • Praise the employees to expect good work from them every time. Give them a pat on their back. Let them feel indispensable for their organization. Don’t criticize the ones who have not performed well, instead ask them to pull up their socks for the next time. Give them one more opportunity rather than firing them immediately.

4. Encourage discussions at the workplace

  • Employees must discuss issues among themselves to reach to better conclusions. Each one should have the liberty to express his views. The team leaders and managers must interact with the subordinates frequently.
  • Transparency is essential at all levels for better relationships among employees and a healthy work culture. Manipulating information and data tampering is a strict no no at the workplace. Let information flow in its desired form.

5. Organization must have employee friendly policies and practical guidelines

  • Expecting an employee to work till late night on his birthday is simply impractical. Rules and regulations should be made to benefit the employees. Employees must maintain the decorum of the organization. Discipline is important at the workplace.

6. The dictatorial approach must be avoided

  • Bosses should be more like mentors to the employees. The team leaders should be a source of inspiration for the subordinates. The superiors are expected to provide a sense of direction to the employees and guide them whenever needed. The team members should have an easy access to their boss’s cabin.
  • Develop a system that encourages employees to take risks for the betterment of the organization without the threat of punishment and find ways of helping them learn from their mistakes

7. Promote team building activities to bind the employees together

  • Conduct training programs, workshops, seminars and presentations to upgrade the existing skills of the employees. Prepare them for the tough times. They should be ready under any odd circumstances or change in the work culture.

8. Human Resource Development

  • Provide opportunities within the organization for people to develop to their full potential. How does the company deal with obsolescence? Are old or unneeded people fired? Does management give credit to those outgoing people for their career contributions? Or is the prevailing attitude, “what have you do for me lately?” How honourably the company acts in these situations will do much to determine whether or not it has a culture of success.

9. Decision-Making Structure

  • We tend to forget that the main purpose of structure is to facilitate decision making, not to develop new organizational charts and lines of authority.
  • Make sure that there is a free flow of information for decision making throughout the organization, and that the structure for disseminating that information allows positive outcomes.

10. Organizational Clarity

  • The degree to which the goals and plans of the organization are clearly perceived by its members rises in proportion to the employees” feelings of involvement in the goal-setting and planning procedures. Fostering this feeling of involvement and direction is more important than presenting lists of objectives and detailed plans.
  • To promote organizational clarity, involve all members of the organization in the goal-setting and planning process.

11. Strong Team Spirit

  • As social beings, we naturally seek support from our peers and seek to belong to a group. Come tough times, the team should come together to deal with whatever problems are out there. This is where a sense of unity is evoked in the team and employees will no longer just feel that they’re working for themselves. They are now working towards something bigger than themselves, and as a team.
  • Instilling a strong team spirit is not easy because it involves the acceptance and tolerance of differences in perspectives and working styles between teammates. There is a need for them to see that they’re working towards a common goal before they can look beyond the differences.


Difference in Indian work culture and western work culture:

  • There are differences between Indian work culture and western work culture even in Multi National Companies, because work culture in any country of any organization is influenced by local culture, practice, attitude, laws, government policies etc.
  • One difference in work culture is the relationship between the boss and subordinates. The general belief is that in India the relationship is very formal and hierarchical and it is not so in the western countries.
  • Second example is the flexibility in deployment of policies related to people. An example is healthcare. In most US companies, it would be strictly by the process; there would be a clear definition of what your employer will pay for and what it won’t. Beyond that requests won’t be entertained. It is different with Indian companies, where flexibility and compassion find a place in such instances.
  • A major difference remains the work-life balance. In the US, one would hardly received more official calls when at home. There is a clear value attached to one’s family time. Though, if there is work, they would stay back and finish it. But, in India, it is an accepted habit to work for 10 hours. In the US it is an exception to the rule. However, the flipside of this is, there may be a greater sense of ownership of work in Indians. In terms of what does one’s work mean in one’s life, we are at one extreme while some Western countries are on the other.
  • In Indian work culture is that commitments are not taken seriously. If one says he will finish something by 2 o’clock tomorrow, it might not be binding, but for someone in the US it will be delivered by that time.
  • In mentoring, Indians a bit soft in critical assessments. Seniors tend to lean more on positive feedback during an appraisal, leaving the criticism unsaid. In the US, there is a better balance in practice. Here in India, either due to the appraisal process or the lack of skill of the appraiser, the much-needed critical assessment is often held back.
  • Similarly there can be differences in relationships among employees (male-male and male female), relationships between employee and boss, timing etc.

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