How to Fit in Your Organizational Culture?
A Note From The Editor
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When you join an office, you meet many kinds of people. These very people develop and direct the office culture. These people can be divided into five categories — Competitors, Avoiders, Compromisers, Accommodators and Collaborators. These 5 aspects decide an individual’s characteristics and determine where he/she fits in or type of approach he/she needs to take while joining a new office.
There are five possible interaction styles, using a very simple example — that of a buyer called Madhu and a person selling her “favourite” sari for `5000. How these five possibilities of interaction between the shop keeper and Madhu will lead to different outcomes
Situation 1: Madhu as a Competitor: I want this sari for `3000 and will not give a penny more. The shopkeeper had bought the sari for `2500, he could have earned more money out of it but since he doesn’t know how to assert himself, he gives in.
Situation 2: Madhu as an Avoider: I want this sari for `3000. The shopkeeper says no and Madhu leaves the shop. In the process, neither the shopkeeper nor Madhu gain anything.
Situation 3: Madhu as a Compromiser: I want this sari for `3000. The shopkeeper insists on `5000, so Madhu says let’s do one thing, I will bear a loss of `1000, and you also bear a loss of `1000 and let us settle for `4000.
Situation 4: Madhu as an Accommodator: I want this sari for `3000. The shopkeeper insists on `5000, so Madhu says OK and buys the sari for `5000.
Situation 5: Madhu as a Collaborator: I want this sari for `3000. The shopkeeper insists on `5000, so Madhu says look I know you bought this sari for `2500. You can make a good profit of `1000 if you give it to me for `3500. It is a gain for me as well as you. Think about it. The shopkeeper sees logic in it and gives the sari for `3500.
We can understand these five broad categories in which Madhu’s interaction can be interpreted and we will also discover what category we belong to.
Features of the Corporate World
To accurately evaluate your corporate or workplace culture, you should consider the following aspects of your workplace:
- Communication: every workplace has a pattern of working. There is a protocol to communicate. Find that pattern and protocol. Ask people around and observe how messages are conveyed. The setting could be formal or informal; thus the messages could be conveyed in written or in person (verbally). Are there any memos, reporting system etc. You must find out about all these things when settling down in a new place of work.
- Chain of Command: Hierarchy tells you the position of your boss, your subordinates and other internal customers that you will need to deal with on a daily basis. You will need to know how lenient or rigid employees are in following protocol.
- Collaboration: If there is a culture of collaboration in an organisation, then it is very difficult to survive there as a lone ranger. Understand how ideas are shared, messages are communicated and conflicts are resolved in teams. What level of team work is expected of you is something that you must be aware of.
- Headship: A very important cue understanding how your organisation works is to find out how your boss leads his team. What is his way of giving feedback, how he resolves individual and team issues and what is his style?
- Appearance: Nowadays, most organisations expect the employees to dress formally. Find out if your organisation does the same. See how your colleagues dress. If you feel the need, discuss how you should dress with a trusted colleague. Read the code of conduct if your organisation has one; it will give you a fair idea on what the policies and expectations of the company are.
- Work area: Your workstation is the place where you will spend most of your time. You must know if you can bring your personal pictures, plants and pots etc or not. Can you eat lunch at your workstation or do you need to go to the cafeteria to have lunch?
- Friendships @ work: Knowing how close-knit your office family will help you establish strong relationships at workplace. If there are casual lunches and dinners, picnics and get-togethers, colleagues sharing personal information with each other, then you must follow suit.
Every workplace has a culture, to increase your Civility Quotient; you need to understand the above-mentioned aspects of your organisation. If you act in tandem with the organisation, you have a chance of becoming Mr.OrMs. Popular very soon!