Corporate culture affects employee behavior. This goes far beyond working hard to get something turned in because your boss wants it yesterday. People’s ethical and personal decisions are based in part upon the values of the organization that employs them. Therefore, consider the culture of a company before you accept a job.
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Organizational culture and leadership are positively correlated with job satisfaction. When the company culture is healthy and strong, it offers consistent codes of conduct for employees. Consistent expectations make it easier to do your job because you know what is expected of you, and this leads to greater job satisfaction.
Employees are also most likely to enjoy job satisfaction when their own values match with the values in the company culture. This creates a sense of belonging to a team with common goals.
Company culture, attitudes, and behavior come from the top down. In other words, employees often mirror the behavior and attitudes of management.
Unwritten rules essentially govern how a place operates, but the rules are set by the behavior of the leaders. If everything is kept neat and everything is put away at the end of the day, new hires will most likely not leave things out in the break room, and will clear their desk. On the other hand, if the boss’s office is messy or dirty dishes are left in the break room sink, this gives employees unspoken permission to not clean up after themselves.
Unwritten rules are sometimes communicated verbally. For example, Gregory Ciotti at Psychology Today points out that statements like “we do things by the book around here” discourages creative thinking among employees.
A company culture that is healthy and has leaders who model ethical behavior will encourage ethical behavior among employees. It is equally true that workplaces with managers who make unethical decisions will foster unethical behavior in workers.
If you prefer behaving ethically, you may be uncomfortable working for less than completely ethical managers. Even more likely, however, you will find your own behavioral ethics change. Perhaps you complain about a less than stellar decision your manager made. Instead of being rewarded for high ethics, you will likely be retaliated against, further encouraging you to look the other way. When people look the other way and don’t say anything, more unethical behavior happens.
If you value an ethical workplace, you may also start to feel bad about yourself. For example, if it is important to you to keep confidential materials under lock and key, but you see confidential folders left around the office on a regular basis, you may even start getting sloppy about keeping track of confidential documents. You may start to feel bad about yourself.
For the sake of your own self-esteem, job satisfaction, and personal comfort and happiness, consider the company culture of any workplace and choose wisely when accepting a job.
Discovering Corporate Culture
To find out what it’s like to work at a company, do your research. Ask the right questions during the interview process, and don’t confine your investigations to the hiring manager. If possible, speak with your prospective co-workers and ask them about their favorite (and least favorite) aspects of the job. You’d be surprised what you can learn, just by asking.
But, don’t just take their word for it. Look at the company’s profile in PayScale’s Career Research Center, paying special attention to the job satisfaction rating of employees, and pay attention to the organization’s presence on social media and in the news. Gradually, you’ll form a picture of what it’s like to work at the company — and get a good idea of whether it’s a fit for you.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you like your company’s culture? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.