What Is Workplace Culture? (With Definition and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 6, 2022 | Published May 18, 2022

Updated October 6, 2022

Published May 18, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An organization's internal culture can profoundly influence employees. Several cultures exist in the workplace, and businesses often represent different types as they operate under a shared set of values and expectations. Learning more about workplace culture can assist you in determining where you want to work and what type of environment best fits your personality, skill set, and work techniques. In this article, we answer the question "What is workplace culture?", explain what influences it, and describe the types of common company cultures.

What is workplace culture?

If you're seeking a healthy work environment, you may have wondered, "What is workplace culture?" Workplace culture, or organizational or company culture, describes the overall atmosphere within a workplace. Corporate culture typically develops organically, or the senior management can design it through different programs and by encouraging specific behaviours and expectations. The organizational culture may significantly influence employees' feelings of comfort and support in the workplace. A corporate environment reflects the principles of the organization's leadership and may also affect employee relationships and incentives.

Company culture directly influences a business' performance, which is why many invest time and effort into understanding their working environment and how to enhance their culture.

Related: Promoting Collaboration in the Workplace: All You Need to Know

What factors affect workplace culture?

Various factors may influence the way a corporate environment develops. The following are some of the primary components that contribute to a company's culture:

  • Company policy: Senior management's organizational practices influence the broader culture of a company because they define the guiding principles that employees are to follow to execute their tasks.

  • Company mission: A company's culture is often shaped by a shared objective. If a business has clear goals in which employees believe, they're more likely to develop a similar work environment.

  • Company history: The history of an organization may affect the culture that develops in the workplace. Start-up enterprises often generate an atmosphere distinct from an established corporate organization.

  • Leadership: A company's management style significantly influences its culture. The leadership of an organization defines ideals and relationships within the workplace.

  • Motivational tools: How a business recognizes and rewards its employees may also contribute to its culture. Enhancing enthusiasm and productivity, praise, monetary bonuses, and other incentives may influence the cultural environment.

  • Location: How an organization works, whether at a physical location or as a remote company, influences the company culture. Organizations may also vary in their external and internal settings depending on whether they're in metropolitan or rural areas.

  • Industry: The type of business a company engages in can help determine the culture because of differing standards, employee skill sets, and industry standards.

  • Information: How individuals communicate ideas within a company influences how employees perform in their environments. Employees often prioritize transparency and honesty.

Related:

  • 12 Examples of Organization in the Workplace (With Tips)

  • What Is Work Culture? Definition, Elements and Examples

Types of organizational cultures

While organizational cultures vary, you may classify the majority into a few distinct groups. Organizations typically choose to promote one of these four workplace categories:

  • results, competition, success, goal-oriented

  • authority, order, safety, and control

  • creativity, learning, flexibility, and curiosity

  • collaboration and teamwork

Many organizations combine elements of each category to create a distinct work environment. The following are the most frequent organizational cultures in the workplace:

Pragmatic

A pragmatic culture prioritizes the client and uses that priority to guide workplace choices. Apart from servicing the consumer, there are no precise regulations or requirements. Pragmatic organizations are adaptable to their customers' demands. The rules and regulations are minimal, and employees have greater discretion over customer service choices than they might in a more typical working atmosphere. Certain sales and marketing businesses promote this culture.

These organizations enable the customer to become the primary focus by providing staff with greater autonomy than is standard. Individuals who thrive on self-direction and problem-solving are well-suited to this atmosphere.

Academy

The academy culture emphasizes education as a priority for team members. Companies seek new hires for their advanced skill set and expect them to expand their knowledge as they perform their role. In an academy culture, management fosters an atmosphere that encourages people to study to stay current on new information and research.

The health care industry, academia, and other fields where continuing education is necessary to use this culture. They often integrate professional growth into their daily routines and seek ongoing certification through training and tests. Professionals that are persistent in their growth and development may flourish in this kind of culture.

Related: Professionalism in the Workplace

Baseball team

Employees are the focus of baseball team culture. Benefits such as free food and beverages in the workplace, rewards for completing short-term targets, and productivity bonuses may be available to employees within this type of company culture. Businesses that promote this culture often feel that if employees are happy in their work environment, they may be more productive, propelling the business forward.

Tech organizations that thrive on innovation and collaboration often promote this culture. They empower individuals to create an environment that inspires and encourages them. If you want to work in an atmosphere that values and encourages people with awards and positive affirmation, this type of workplace might suit you.

Club culture

Club culture focuses on highly trained professionals. Business organizations that use this strategy implement a rigorous recruiting procedure to identify candidates that meet their company's stringent hiring requirements. Companies often reward employees for their efforts, but their performance usually undergoes scrutiny. This environment values exclusivity and productivity once team members join the company. Club culture may be helpful in areas that need a high level of specialization, such as law or finance.

The everyday operations of this work environment might be unfamiliar to people who don't work in the field. If you enjoy being a member of a small group of highly trained specialists and have the confidence to perform at a high level, you may prosper in the club culture.

Fortress

Some people refer to this as a results culture, as the fortress environment values success. Productivity is essential, and employees who don't meet goals are often terminated, while employees that perform at or beyond business standards often receive praise and rewards. Businesses that adhere to this culture have high employee turnover, and they're ready to hire and educate new employees with the expectation that they improve their performance.

Industries reliant on productivity to meet contractual obligations, such as sales and real estate enterprises or inbound marketing centers, often use this setting to inspire employees. They establish clear objectives for what they want employees to produce and plan frequent meetings with staff members to evaluate figures. If you have organizational skills and can complete tasks effectively, you may succeed in a fortress culture.

Constructive

A constructive culture relies on collaboration. In this environment, employees work in teams to complete tasks. Constructive culture asserts that team success is more important than the individuals. Positive results come from working together to overcome challenges, making each employee grow in their knowledge and skill. Constructive cultures exist in industries where many staff members work on the same project to achieve a goal.

This is relevant to software development and engineering-based fields. If you excel in communicating ideas and motivating others in a team setting, consider working for an organization or industry that follows a constructive culture.

Related: Top 10 Workplace Skills Every Employee Needs

Purpose

Organizations that work towards a common cause foster purpose culture environments. These organizations have an intrinsic desire to help others, motivating employees. They're often team-oriented, and staff members are a part of a community. Non-profits are often part of this category, as are businesses that function for a specific charity.

The business model for a purpose-driven organization may be to donate a maximum amount of profit to a charitable cause. Non-profits exist to serve a specific group without retaining any revenue for the company. If you feel passionate about helping others and making a difference for a particular cause, an organization with a culture of purpose may be a good fit for you.

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