I use the terms interchangeably because culture and organization or so intertwined.  They represent the whole or sum of the parts.  When I refer to the parts, I refer to the people that comprise the organization or help to shape the culture.

Culture is defined as ….” is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.”

Organization is defined as “A social unit of people that is structured and managed to meet a need or to pursue collective goals.”

The common thread between the two is of course the people or for this exercise, the employees.  The primary driver for both remains the leadership of the group.  It is this leadership that has a prevalent role to dictate what employees do and how they do them.  So I have reduced this discussion to five types of organizations and concurrent cultures.  Perhaps you will see where you fit into the model.

The five types of organizations I define as “Don’t know; don’t care” about employees and laws.  Employees are disposable and will not be more than a means of production.  Then there is the ‘Don’t know” group, who will be nudged into employee relations strategies as a result of serious problems such as failure to comply with laws, unionization or high turnover.  The third group, I refer to as “Compliant”.  Perhaps this organization has been targeted by a regulator in the past and has decided that the benefits of proactive compliance strategies outweigh the surprise of a government audit.  This moves to the next group, which I refer to as the “Fairness” organization.  In addition to compliance, there is a tacit understanding of the power of motivation and indeed a satisfied workforce.  This is a group that is checking the pulse of the organization and works to call upon the assistance of the workforce to contribute to its success.  At the top of the pyramid is the “best practices” group.  This group customarily has a large financial treasury for employee relations initiatives and we normally think of banks and high tech. companies such as Google.  They offer extraordinary perks such as wellness centres or upward mobility opportunities; those things not normally available to smaller organizations.  They are the ones which apply for in national competitions for recognition of Top Employers of Choice.

What does this all then mean?  I suggest that as one moves up the pyramid, cultures in each type of organization are very different.  I will let you suggest the characteristics that you would find in these categories.   I would however suggest that employee satisfaction improves as awareness increases and furthermore financial success is more likely whether for profit or not-for-profit.

Where do you think your organization would fit in this model and furthermore what will you do about it.