Make or Break a Practice: Work Culture

Individual behaviors and work culture play a considerable role in the success of an organization. Even in top-down, hierarchical institutions, members within the various levels can form decisions that alter the direction of the group as a whole. Naturally, the cultures the members subscribe to influence their opinions and, ultimately, their decisions.

While there are many factors that determine the attitudes of those whole make up a business, a one of significant importance is the perceived mindset the leadership throughout the ranks. How people perceive their peers, bosses and rivals heavily sways how they think and act; one person in a company may seem like a minute piece of the puzzle, but the effect they can have on others can spread to every level.

When you change the behaviors and the mindsets of the individual, you change the work culture. The cultural makeup of the team is composed of the thought patterns of every individual in the group. The most common attitudes are what drives the culture and, when negative, can corrupt the rest of the team. Unfortunately, negativity spreads faster than positivity, so it is best to intervene as early as possible when dealing with internal hostility.

Open communication and transparency helps prevent rumors from permeating through the organization, causing negative mindsets. Motivating and encouraging positivity throughout the company can create the supportive and affirming culture the group needs in order to succeed.

In the past, I have been in teams that had great work cultures as well as the not-so-great ones. All of the favorable work cultures were good because of a positive work environment that encouraged and supported employees. The employers with the poorer cultures were that way because of gross mismanagement and what was perceived as disrespect of the front line employees.

Looking back, it was the dysfunctional culture of middle management that we were we thought was disrespect or lousy treatment. Their culture heavily influenced the culture of their subordinates with a less-than-desirable outcome. The two mot recent practices with the toxic middle management culture that I worked for both had a mass exodus in which every front line employee quit to work for places with (what was initially perceived as having) higher morale and better treatment.

Previously, I had decided to leave problematic organizations rather than put in the time and energy to stick it out in the hopes that the culture would improve. By working hard and personally growing, not only can one change the current work environment, but they can influence the attitudes of others.

Inspiring coworkers to be more than their job title is beneficial to the organization, as the individual will provide but also to the person, as they may feel more pride associated with their work. Higher work satisfaction leads to happier employees and the cycle of positivity continues.


Jones, B. B. (2014). The Ntl handbook of organization development and change: principles, practices, and perspectives (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Wiley.

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