What is organizational culture?
What is organizational culture?

The Iceberg Model of Workplace Dynamics -Stanley N. Herman

The Iceberg Model of Workplace Dynamics -Stanley N. Herman

Oranizational Culture Iceberg

Culture encompasses some aspects we can see, plus additional aspects that require some examination and uncovering, which – depending on who you listen to, may be values or hidden assumptions. Some liken culture to an iceberg, that it is much deeper than what we see on the surface.

Organizational Culture – inherent or inherited?

So, what determines culture? Is it “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group,” or “the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another”?

This is the largest dividing line between existing theories on organizational culture. One definition approaches from a social aspect while the other definition is from an anthropological perspective. Guirdham, in her book “Communicating Across Cultures At Work”, identifies the following theoretical approaches to examining culture:

  • Anthropological
  • Communication Perspective
  • Cultural Studies
  • Social Identity
  • Cultural Psychology

The difficulty remains, what is indicative and what is foundational?

Do our values communicate our culture, or does a social basis determine our values?

Is culture a matter of “what we believe” or “how we behave”?

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