What is organizational culture?

The values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors contribute to create the unique social and culture of an organization. Organizational culture consists of expectations, experiences and values of its organizational. All of them are hold together, and are expressed self-image of organizational and interactions with the outside world and future expectations. Organizational culture affects its performance, operation and productivity. Each organizational has unique culture, so it is the hardest thing to change. And it is depended on attitudes, beliefs, values and written/ unwritten rules which have been created and developed over time. It is also called ‘corporate culture’ and presented in:

  • The ways that organizational performs its business, deal with employees, clients and community
  • Freedom in decision making, developing ideas and personal expression
  • Commitment employees towards collective objectives                                       (Inc. 2013)

Harrison (cited in Bhattacharyya 2010) defined four quadrant models based on Formulation and Centralization to create Role, Task, Personal and Power culture (Figure 1). And each organization will have difference culture model. However, in communication agency, Task culture is considered as the most effectiveness model to apply because it meets the requirements (dynamic and creative) of this area.


Figure 1

New idea of culture types

Creating strong corporate culture is key factor to drive the effectiveness of its organization, however, it is not all about who and how create it; it is about the culture of recognition that employees choose to involve. The number of culture types is infinite, practically, several people (Mike Sheehan 2012* and Derek Irvine 2013**) suggest there are only two kinds of cultures. They are:

  • Culture of repression: employees focus on developing their own goal rather than their organizational. Besides that, employees face fear of management and colleagues. They do not have freedom in creating as well.


  • Culture of recognition: in this culture, employees are in-depth understanding both organization’s goal and their goal because they are encourage to do. Therefore, employees can share ideas easier, innovative thinking and work in mutual support environment.


Figure 2

Vietnamese corporate culture vs. Australian corporate culture

To in-depth understanding the role of organizational culture, I had friendly interview with Ms. Tran Huynh Nha Tran, Communication Manager in RMIT University. She had shared several thoughts of corporate culture based on her experiences.

Tran Tran has worked in communication area for almost 9 years. Before working in RMIT Vietnam, she worked in Communication Department in University of Social Sciences and Humanities for 5 years. Therefore, she shared deeply thoughts about the differences between Vietnamese corporate and Australian corporate.

Due to Tran’s privacy and time limitation, she did not give detail when she worked in Vietnamese company. She indicated that Vietnamese company did unclear and illogical process. Moreover, individualism in workplace still existed in workplace. Therefore, employees did not have clear tasks and vision. In 2008, she worked in RMIT. “I found the big differences when I worked in RMIT”, Tran remembered. “Everything is clear and logical”, which shown the professional that she rarely experienced. However, it doesn’t mean that she thinks negatively of Vietnamese corporate. “This is the past, currently, Vietnam has changed due to globalization”, Tran believed.

Based on her experiences, she shared with me some tips:

How to work with co-worker


Figure 3

In an organization, leader makes an importance role not only it helps to maximize efficiency or achieve organizational goals but also create a harmony working environment between employees. I would like to quote from Keith Davis “Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor which binds a group together and motivates it towards goals” (Management Study Guide 2013). We all know motivation plays decisiveness role in any organization. Because of the benefits it bring to: such as puts human resources into action, improves level of efficiency of employees, leads to achievement of organization goals, builds friendly relationship. It is useful that, a leader concern at the way of increasing team motivation (Management Study Guide 2013). As a leader, we should note that there are people differ from another. Some is better suited in this position and some is not. Therefore, that would help a leader to give him/her with right job, right task (Tran 2013). That will not only help them improve their work efficiency and also build confident for themselves. It would build the balance between each other, they now feel be a part of a team, and will put more effort in their work. Moreover, when employees respect and help one another, you get great motivation. (Tutorials point 2013)

The other thing to motivate employee is giving clear communication or instruction (Tran 2013). “Employees are more motivated to do a good job when they know what you expected of them”, Tran emphasized.  That because they can get exact goals to achieve.

How to work with media


Figure 4

Working with media is better way to get or archive the goals of organization. And it also said that building relationships and knowing how to communicate with media are the point to success (Swerdlow 2013). So again the question for all leader’s need that how to work with media. Coming to this part I would like to share some point about this issue based on Tran’s ideas.

Respect” is first point that Tran shared. It is often a first step to make a positive relationship.  Media is seemed as difficult clients, and as human being, anyone always like people respects them. It is right when people show the respect to each other, its easy way let they feel to work with each other. Tran said that ‘thank you’ is her key word to show her appreciates. Sometimes, she called journalist to thank them instead sending email.

Proactive”: due to characteristics of communication area, it required to be dynamic and active. When people communicate passively, media might assume the worst (Decker 2012). For example, when several international universities in Vietnam suddenly closed and it also affected RMIT. Tran and her team captured this situation and contacted to media to provide information which might negatively influence in reputation of RMIT.

Proof of life


Figure 5 

Note:   * CEO of Ad agency Hill Holiday

                ** Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting in Globoforce

Word count: 1029


Irvine D 2013, “There are only 2 kinds of company culture recognition or repression”, HR Tech Europe, homepage, viewed 10 May 2013, <>

Bhattacharyya KD 2010, “Cross-Culture Management: Text and Cases”, PHI Learning Privacy Limited, New Delhi

Decker D 2012, “The power of proactive communication”, Daniel Decker, homepage, viewed 10 May 2013, <>

Bryant A 2012, “Yes, you’re smart, but what about your topspin?”, The New York times, homepage, viewed 10 May 2013, <>

Tutorials Point 2013, “Team motivation”, Tutorials Point, homepage, viewed 11 May 2013, <>

Management study guide 2013, Leadership, Management study guide, homepage, viewed 10 May 2013, <>

Inc. 2013, “Corporate Culture”, Inc. homepage, viewed 10 May 2013, <>

Swerdlow D 2013, “How to work with media”, AAUW, viewed 11 May 2013, <>

Tran Tran 2013, interview, 6 May 2013

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