The horror of a bad organizational culture

Many companies strive to create a strong organizational culture where the core values of the organization are intensely held and shared among employees. In order to instil a positive and strong organizational culture, it is important for the management to provide employees with a sense of direction and expectations that allow them to be on task. Additionally, with a proper structure that has well defined roles and responsibilities, every employee would better understand what his or her duties are and the way to accomplish these tasks before the deadlines.  Besides direction, unity and identity are also factors which contribute to a positive and strong organizational culture. Unity helps to promote cohesion among employees which would further spur cooperation and open communication in the workplace; whereas the forging of a reputable identity allows the organization to build a brand image that is acknowledged and respected by all its stakeholders.

Even though a positive organizational culture is the goal of many companies, there are still many organizations out there with weak and negative organizational culture. I did my first internship at an integrated marketing firm that has an atrocious organizational culture and its bad organizational culture engendered many repercussions such as high turnover rate as well as a loss in profits. From the most evident material symbols which include the size and layout of the office and the elegance of furnishing, I was already able to somehow deduce the culture and climate of this firm on my first day of internship. The office was very messy with boxes and logistics lying around; however, none of the employees took the initiative to clear this mess. The interior of the office was already quite cramp and the mess in the office further compounded this problem, making it difficult for us to move around the office. This revealed to me that the employees in this firm did not have a sense of belonging and responsibility towards their company; because if they did, they would have volunteered to clear the office instead of just turning a blind eye towards the mess. Additionally, this showed that the firm cultivated a very individualistic culture where employees were only concerned with their own projects instead of the firm as a whole.

Besides the messy environment of the office, there was also insufficient working cubicles for the employees. Hence, newer employees and interns had to share cubicles; some of the employees were made to sit in the meeting room temporarily given that there were no more cubicles even for sharing! Thus these employees had to endure the trouble of moving in and out whenever there was a meeting to be held in the meeting room that they were not involved in. This actually placed a great disruption to their work since they often had to waste time shifting their documents and laptops in and out of the meeting room. Thus it was inevitable that the employees were not performing at their highest productivity level. Additionally, I spoke to some of the newer employees who were in their probation period and they mentioned that they were planning to leave after their probation period and were already in the midst of searching for a new job. The inability to provide employees with the most basic working conditions had led to them having the perception that their presence were dispensable and that their services were not valued by the company. The firm’s lack of emphasis on its people resulted in the formation of a weak organizational culture where employees were loosely knit and had no sense of loyalty for the company. Hence it was of no surprise that the company was facing a high turnover rate with employees leaving every  other week.

Not only was the company negligent towards its employees’ welfare, it also displayed irresponsibility towards other stakeholders, for example: its suppliers. The lack of proper organizational structure often led to confusion over which employees should take charge of payment of bills to suppliers thus an oversight occurred frequently. Therefore suppliers were often calling the office complaining that they did not receive long overdue bills. Some disgruntled suppliers even terminated their working relationships with the company since they found it difficult to be paid on time.

The structural deficiency in the company led to a poor management of the office environment as well as a breed of irresponsibility towards stakeholders, which includes its employees. This eventually cultivated a negative and weak organizational culture which was ineffective for working which explained why the company has been experiencing losses for the past few years. Without a proper revamp to its culture and structure, I wouldn’t be surprised if the company were to go out of business soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *