Cultures and Sub-Cultures

December 27 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis

Few organizations of any substantial size have only one culture. Sub-cultures are almost always present, as groups who perform like tasks develop relationships and commonalities not universally shared with the larger group. This should not be viewed as a weakness nor a problem to be solved. It is a reality that almost always exists and can actually add the strength of diversity to the organization.

What should be addressed is to identify and target the commonalities that are desired or critical to be shared by the whole organization. High-level values, crucial practices, customer-orientations or quality mindsets can become defining artifacts of the overall culture while each sub-culture also norms around their particular contribution to the organizational goals.

True culture is not simply sameness. It is alignment of critical thinking and performance to build teamwork and perpetuate excellence. Identify the strategic factors that need to be universal in the overall organizational culture and let the details of tactics develop with the sub-cultures.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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