If you are working with an organization, especially on an employment dispute, understanding the organization’s culture will provide important insight into what generated a dispute. Short of doing an expensive and time-consuming study of organizational culture, and knowing that statements of mission and values are often more goals than reality, how can you gain insight into the values that are important to the organization? Take a look at what is celebrated in the events the organization sponsors.
As an example, look at Memorial Day and what it represents.
Memorial Day is an event that marks remembrance of those who have served the United States in the military and the strong values that service represents. Because it is a national holiday, the implication is that it is important to absolutely everyone. Flags fly, parades go by, and there are special services to remember those members of the military who have died, especially in war, as heroes to be honored.
The holiday encapsulates the whole idea of culture, a set of practices that demonstrate and reinforce core values of the group, in a single event.
In the workplace, look at the organization’s rituals or celebrations to determine the core values.
A strong organizational culture distinguishes an organization from others in its industry and provides clear guidelines for decision-making. When there is a lack of clarity or internal contradiction, employees may not know what is required or what direction to take, and employment disputes may occur.
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