How Employees Learn Organizational Culture ?

How Employees Learn Organizational Culture ? Each of us has a unique personality – traits and characteristics that influence the way we act and interact with others. When we describes someone as warm, open, relax, shy, or aggressive, we’re describe personality traits. An organization, too, has personality, which we call its culture. And that culture influences the way employees act and interact with others.

What is Organizational Culture?

Organizational culture has been described as the shared values, principles, traditions, and way of doing things that influence the way organizational members act. In most organizations, these shared values and practices have evolved over time and determine, to a large extent, how “things are done around here”.

Definition of culture implies three things. First, culture is a perception. Its not something that can be physically touched or seen. But employees perceive it on the basis of what they experience within the organization. Second, Organizational culture is descriptive. It’s concerned with how members perceive the culture and describe it. Not with whether they like it. Finally, even though individuals may have different backgrounds or work at different organizational levels. They tend to describe organization’s culture is similar terms. That’s the shared aspect of culture.   

How Employees Learn Organizational Culture ?

Employees “learn” an organization’s culture in a number of ways. The most common are stories, rituals, material symbols, and language.

Stories – One way to Learn Organizational Culture:

Organizational stories typically contain a narrative of significant events or people including such things as the organization’s funders, rule breaking, and reactions to past mistake, and so forth. Managers at Southwest Airlines tell stories celebrating employees who perform heroically for customers. Such stories help convey what’s important and provide examples that people can learn from. At ‘X’ company, the product innovation stories are legendary.

There’s the story about the X scientist who spilled chemicals on her tennis shoe and came up with scotchgard. Then, the story about Art Fry, a X researcher, who wanted a better way to mark the pages of his church hymnal and invented the post – It note. These stories reflect what made X great and what it will take to continue that success. To help employees learn the culture organizational stories anchor the present in the past, provide explanations and legitimacy for current practice, exemplify what is important to the organization, and provide compelling pictures of an organization’s goal.  

Rituals – Important way to learn Organizational Culture :

In the early days of Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg had and artist paint a mural at company headquarters showing children taking over the world with laptops. Also, he would end employee meetings by pumping his first in the air and leading employees in a chant of donation. Although the cheering ritual was intended to be something simply fun. Other company executives suggested he drop it because it made him seem silly. And they feared that competitors might cite it as evidence of monopolistic goals. That’s the power that rituals can having shaping what employees believe is important. Corporate rituals are repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the important values.   

Material Symbol:

When you walk into different businesses, do you get a feel for what type of work environment it is formal, casual, fun, serious, and so forth? These reactions demonstrate the power of material symbols or artifacts in creating an organization’s personality. The layout of an organization’s facilities, how employees dress, and the types of automobiles provided to top executives, and the availability of corporate aircraft are example of material symbols. Material symbols convey to employees who is important and the kinds of behavior that are expected and appropriate. 


Many organizations and units within organizations use language as a way to identify and unite members of a culture. By learning this language, members attest to their acceptance of the culture and their willingness to help preserve it. For instance, at Cranium, a Seattle board game company, “chiff” is used to remind employees of the need to be incessantly innovative in everything they do. “Chiff” stands for clever, high quality, innovative, friendly, fun. At build – A- Bear workshop stores, employees are encouraged to use a sales technique called “Strive for five,” in which they work to sell each customer five items. The simple rhyming slogan is fast becoming a powerful tool to drive sales.

Overtime, organizations often develop unique terms to describe equipment, key personnel, suppliers, customers, processes, or products related to its business. New employees are frequently overwhelmed with acronyms and jargon that, after a short period of time, become a natural part of their language. Once learned, this language acts as a common denominator that bonds members.