In school we spend a lot of time learning about culture—we learn about our own culture, about different cultures, and even about respecting any and all cultural differences. Often we learn about culture in the context of different countries, races and religions. Rarely do we hear about culture in the workplace—until now.
The concept of “workplace culture” or “organizational culture” is becoming increasingly important to employees across all industries. Put simply, organizational culture can be described as “how things are done” in an organization. In truth, there is much more to it than that. Organizational culture encompasses several different aspects of an organization and its operations, including the organizational expectations, experiences, philosophy and values that hold it together; as well as the way organizations choose to conduct business with clients, customers, and even among coworkers. Organizational culture is often based on a set of shared attitudes, beliefs, customs and both written and unwritten rules.
It’s easy to see that once you begin trying to dig in and understand the concept of organizational culture, you are faced with a very complex and involved task. But that doesn’t make it any less crucial to really sink your teeth into this ever-important aspect of today’s job market!
Now more than ever employers are looking for candidates who they think will fit well within their current organizational culture. That being said, as job market entrants and potential employees it is imperative that we take the time to research the organizations we want to work for. Look for cues and hints about what the organization’s culture might look like. This will give a better sense of what the organization might be looking for, and allow for stronger, more tailored responses during an interview. Upon entering a new organization, understanding and embracing the organization’s culture can not only help make your transition more seamless, but it can also help you to better determine if the organization is a good fit for you. Particularly when completing an internship or volunteer experience, do your best to immerse yourself and learn everything you can about what makes the organization tick. Developing this understanding as early as possible will help you to develop your long-term goals—and to determine if those goals include working to stay with the company or not.
Ultimately the importance of organizational culture is becoming more and more prominent. Speaking from personal experience, I have been really fascinated in trying to wrap my mind around the culture present in the organization where I’m currently completing an internship. There are so many different facets that make an organization run, so many different pieces that go into creating a well-oiled business, and organizational culture is one of the most intriguing pieces I’ve found thus far. If you’ve got questions about organizational culture, transitioning into a new organization or any other related questions, Career Services is a great resource—and we’re still open during the summer!
Written by Sarah, senior Finance major