Five

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The Five-Minute Guide to Culture
CULTURE: The norms and shared values among a group of people. “The way we do things around here.” NORMS: Rules of behavior (usually unwritten.). Common ways of acting that perpetuate themselves in an organization because people “teach” them to newcomers, rewarding those who fit in with the prevailing norms and sanctioning those who don’t. CIRCUMPLEX: A graph used to depict the occurrence of cultural norms in an organization (or a department) and their intensity.

© 2001 Readership Institute

1

The 12 points on the circumplex correspond to hours on a clock and represent the following cultural norms or behaviors that people are expected to display: Achievement (11): People set challenging but realistic goals, establish plans to reach them and pursue them with enthusiasm. Self-Actualizing (12): People enjoy their work, develop themselves and take on new and interesting activities Humanistic-Encouraging (1): People are supportive, constructive and open to influence in their dealings with one another. Affiliative (2): People are friendly, cooperative and sensitive to the satisfaction of their work group and of other work groups elsewhere in the organization. Approval (3): People agree with, gain the approval of and are liked by others. Conventional (4): People conform, follow the rules and make a good impression. Dependent (5): People do what they’re told and clear all decisions with superiors. Avoidance (6): People shift responsibilities to others and avoid any possibility of being blamed for a mistake. Oppositional (7): People are critical, oppose the ideas of others and make safe decisions. Power (8): People take charge, control subordinates and yield to the demands of superiors. Competitive (9): People work in a win-lose framework and work against their peers. Perfectionistic (10): People avoid mistakes, keep track of…...

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