Organizational Culture vs. Climate & Do They Matter?

What is organizational climate and does it differ from organizational culture? Many researchers and practitioners believe that culture is made up of its member’s shared values, beliefs, myths, behavioral norms, and traditions, while climate is the actual manifestation of those things – observed as behaviors, attitudes, and strategies in the day-to-day life employees. So, culture is to climate as meteorology is to a weather forecast for the day.

Do you really need to know how these two things differ? No. You do need to know that both culture and climate exist in your organization and that they are powerful influencers of performance, retention, morale, productivity, and the ultimate success of the organization as a whole.

So, do we need to pay attention to climate? ABSOLUTELY! And is this just a fad? No, it definitely is not. The idea that the organization – a system of people and processes – has a culture and climate is not new. In fact, these concepts have been around since the 80’s. And they are especially salient now, given the significant external and internal forces currently impacting culture within organizations: the economic recession, resulting changes to the landscape of structure and staffing, and the gap and differences between generations in the workplace.
Next week: How organizational culture is not like the weather: Everybody talks about it and you can do something about it.

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