Three ways to embrace organisational culture

Charles Hampden-Turner, Management Philosopher at the University of Cambridge, spoke to HRM on how human capital contributes to successful business growth.

Culture plays a vital role in allowing employees to work cohesively with each other and in helping to produce results in workforces.

This was what Charles Hampden-Turner, Management Philosopher at the University of Cambridge, stressed upon during an exclusive interview with HRM Asia.

 “Culture is a set of working assumptions about what we should do next and what we expect of each other. There is no group without a culture,” he said.

“You create culture for your own comfort and for your own convenience. It is a set of neutral expectations of what people will do."

Building up on his point, Hampden-Turner highlighted a unique organisational culture of being result oriented, which is adopted about 20 US companies.

In such environments, employees are given the freedom to manage their time. This includes whether they should come for a meeting or attend to the office at all.

Nevertheless, these perks come with the condition that they are able to produce results and this is looked at every month.

Such a culture has proven to allow employees to be more innovative and creative than others in separate companies.

“Certain types of work need people with tremendous amount of autonomy,” he shared.

He also added that staff actually enjoy being creative, but by pressuring them by giving tight deadlines and other contributing factors, it will allow them to narrow their focus.

Here are some practices Hampden-Turner suggests companies can do to alter their organisational culture positively:

  1. Having harmonious value

Both employers and their employees should value each other by moving backwards and forwards together.

This will result them to support each other and better themselves.

While it is natural for employees to face criticism at work, it is essential that they understand the former’s agenda to help them in their climb up the corporate ladder.

  1. Ask yourself

Hampden-Turner noted that a simple way of measure culture is to ask two simple questions to one’s self:

  • Does your supervisor ever criticise you?
  • Despite the criticism, is he/she supporting you?

He said, “If your supervisor does not provide any constructive criticism, he is not doing his job. Everyone needs help to improve themselves.”

“Values dovetail. It is the performance that supervisors are criticising and it is the performer that they are supporting,” he shared.

  1. Share knowledge

In companies that operate globally, employees can decentralise the activities in the different workforces. This allows them to have better concentration and enables them to monitor the progress closely.

In return, these staff can then centralise about the activity, the knowledge gained in headquarters upon knowing the overall on-goings.

“You have to harmonise and balance these two factors but avoid contradictions,” he added.

“Ultimately, what a good leader does is to create a culture helps guide employees. He helps to shape the culture and the culture shapes employees.”

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