What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Do you know what the most common organizational culture problems are? The people who can help solve these problems can make a big difference in your organization’s success.

In this post, we’ll list some of the most common organizational culture problems, explain why they happen, and suggest ways to overcome them.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Ambiguity, poor communication, and inconsistency are examples of frequent organizational culture issues. These factors may lead to a hostile and unpleasant work environment, which can make employees less loyal and contribute to problems such as harassment, bullying, and high turnover.

Companies with issues about their structure and organization may use outside consultants to get a new perspective on their culture, and they may also want to explore implementing employee evaluations to obtain input from their employees. These tools may assist businesses in identifying and addressing organizational culture issues.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Ambiguity is a frequent problem. Employees may not comprehend what is expected of them, or they may perceive that stated rules contradict real behavior.For instance, corporate regulations may declare that management promotes a good work-life balance, but the organization may only promote single individuals who are ready to work long hours without complaint. In spite of the notion that the firm is family-friendly, this is not the case.Inconsistency may also contribute to difficulties with corporate culture. Employees may believe that rules are not enforced uniformly and equitably; for example, supervisors may not be disciplined for behavior that employees would expect to be punished.

A company’s inconsistency among departments may also lead to the emergence of animosity. People in human resources, for instance, may wonder why the information technology department enjoys nicer offices or is often on vacation.

Another typical issue with organizational culture in businesses of all sizes is poor communication. Employees may have difficulty communicating with one another and may feel uncomfortable approaching superiors with ideas, comments, and concerns.

Companies may not properly define expectations and objectives from the top down, which may lead to confusion among employees on their duties.

Priority discrepancies are among the other organizational culture issues that might arise. Employees may believe that a corporation places too much emphasis on monetary gain and forces them to work excessive hours without providing breaks or extra pay.

Some organizations have a guilt-based corporate culture that compels workers to overwork in order to get the job done. This might result in retaliation as disgruntled employees take out their fury on coworkers or customers.

Poor leadership may also be a problem. Employees may have difficulty following somebody they do not respect or receiving directions from managers who look incompetent. Weak, inconsistent, or unscrupulous leadership may contribute to company culture issues.

Companies that are aware of organizational culture concerns might define them by compiling lists of instances to comprehend the particulars of the problems that must be addressed. With this knowledge, they can begin to address the problem.

For instance, if a company’s goals are unclear, its leadership might convene to discuss what the organization intends to do and how it plans to achieve its objectives. This information might be given to the company’s employees to make them feel more at ease.

Why does cultivating a positive workplace culture matter?

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management in the United States, said in 2020 that toxic environments cost firms billions. Nearly half of the respondents to the study said that they have considered quitting their present workplace owing to a problem with corporate culture. In the preceding five years, about one-fifth of the workforce had quit their jobs for the same reason.

Managers are also conscious of the importance of a functional workplace. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, nine out of ten senior executives feel that enhancing their corporate culture (and total employee experience) will raise the value of their company. Compared to the 16% who believe their culture is where it should be, this indicates a significant gap.

Where did the idea of organizational cultures come from?

Elliott Jaques, a Canadian psychiatrist and management consultant, is often credited as the originator of organizational culture types, which he established in his 1951 book The Changing Culture of a Factory. However, the notion did not gain traction until 30 years later.

Academics, psychologists, and novelists have since created their own categories based on personal experience and study. The ensuing insights provide effective strategies for corporate leaders to connect with, analyze, and grow their own unique culture.

What are the different types of organizational culture?

There is no exhaustive list of corporate cultures, but Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn from the University of Michigan have identified four of the most prevalent ones. Clan, Adhocracy, Hierarchy, and Market are the four categories. The hypothesis states that every organization has its own unique mix.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Clan culture

Clan culture has an internal emphasis, which is characteristic of many small firms, startups, and family-run businesses. It stresses interpersonal interactions, communication, and cooperation, and nourishes people who work inside the organization. By doing so, it hopes to have a large, happy family.

The advantages of a Clan culture

Clan culture eliminates barriers and creates strong, close-knit teams by replacing standard organizational hierarchies with a framework that is more horizontal. Relationships between mentors and mentees grow, information is freely shared, and leaders seek input and suggestions from their employees. Consider the adaptability of startups as one example.

Happy is the clan prototype. And engaged workers who feel appreciated, supported, and respected are more willing to go the additional mile – which is both good for people and excellent for business.

For businesses that depend on remote work or have a large number of frontline or deskless employees, such as salesmen and other offsite workers, this sort of organizational culture may be very effective, uniting teams and fostering loyalty.

The disadvantages of a Clan culture

This horizontal structure may be limiting as a firm becomes larger because it lacks the strong, decisive leadership required to propel the organization forward and offer clear direction. It may be more difficult for leaders who want to be everyone’s closest friend to exercise power or make uncomfortable judgments.

Without the hierarchy that is often required for decision-making, the emphasis on individualism may also result in personality conflicts. Individuals might lose sight of their place in society. The seeming absence of regulations might facilitate improper conduct, such as discrimination.

Clan culture may also instill a dread of speaking out against the group’s consensus.

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Adhocracy culture

A society that feeds on excitement and upsetting the status quo. A culture of adhocracy, which is characterized by its willingness to take chances, values creativity and initiative and confidently navigates change. It also fails rapidly and adapts swiftly to errors in order to make the required adjustments for the future. In terms of being entrepreneurial, energetic, and imaginative, IT businesses are exemplary.

The advantages of an Adhocracy culture

In terms of profit margins and employee engagement, this organization’s culture consistently accomplishes lofty goals. This cultural paradigm fosters confidence and originality, and the door is always open for those with innovative ideas, regardless of their position in the organization.

It is an atmosphere conducive to the professional development of the person in which the quality of contributions to brainstorming sessions matters. Adhocracy, like Clan culture, is very adaptable, but takes an outwards orientation with a view to the future. What can we do that others can’t or aren’t doing?

The downsides of an Adhocracy culture

Adhocracy may increase workplace rivalry as a result of the individualistic philosophy it promotes. This may be tremendously motivating, but there is a risk of undue tension and anxiety among individuals who fear being outperformed by their colleagues and losing monetarily or in terms of reputation.

When a corporation takes risks with big stakes, there is always a potential that such risks may not pay off. And this may be detrimental to people as well as the corporation as a whole.

Market culture

The cultural type inside a company that is the most aggressive. Expect a workplace that is driven by goals, deadlines, and the pressure to achieve outcomes, and where employee performance is carefully scrutinized. Clan and Adhocracy cultures value adaptability, but Market culture need stability to flourish, making it characteristic of larger and longer-established businesses.

Additionally, it maintains a focus on the client and how to best its competition. Reputation is important, as is keeping ahead of the competition.

The advantages of a Market culture

Results, results, results. With a focus on success and ambitious leaders pushing people to accomplish, teams often reach objectives, surpass expectations, and contribute to profit maximization.

This is an organizational culture that unifies teams in their pursuit of a decisive victory for the benefit of the company’s customers or shareholders. Furthermore, it may be a rewarding atmosphere for workers. Not simply because of the considerable financial incentives offered, but also because they work in an environment that supports continual professional growth.

The disadvantages of a Market culture

Burnout. Employees’ health and well-being, as well as their capacity to cooperate, might be negatively impacted by continual achievement pressure in a highly competitive atmosphere. It may have a negative impact on production and morale, so affecting the bottom line.

Hierarchy culture

Everyone in their proper position. This specific corporate culture is formal, with leaders at the top and a hierarchical structure in place. It is, in essence, the conventional corporate form.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

The advantages of a Hierarchy culture

The clarity of duties and responsibilities is accompanied with effectiveness, coordination, and organization. Unlike the risk-taking mentality of Adhocracy, this approach is all about policy, preparation, and procedure. Stability and a well-functioning firm are of utmost importance, as is the pursuit of gradual expansion.

This is the optimal working environment for folks who want clear guidance. The framework fosters a feeling of stability and outlines a clear road to advancement – as well as the enhanced prestige and influence that accompany it. This may be very motivating for workers.

The disadvantages of a Hierarchy culture

Stability may rapidly deteriorate into stiffness. Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that Hierarchy culture is also known as control culture. There is little to no opportunity for impromptu innovation, and without this inventive spirit, businesses may be reluctant to change and run the danger of becoming less competitive. Less essential than one’s position in the hierarchy is their life experience.

Oftentimes, this approach cannot meet a person’s need for flexibility, such as in the case of childcare or illness. And the requirements of the organization must always take precedence. Meanwhile, promotion-based recognition might foster unhealthy levels of rivalry.

It may cost extra as well. Multiple levels of senior management may also result in increased expenditures for the firm, placing strain on budgets and dispersing financial incentives throughout the remainder of the organization.

The 5 Most Common Problems of Organization


1. Absence of clear direction.

One of the most prevalent organizational issues is a lack of direction, which has two underlying causes:

1. The leader or leaders seldom discuss or plan a purposeful path or strategy for the future, or they fail to deliver a unified message to all members of the company about the strategy.

2. The company lacks the alignment essential to obtain the traction required to change, adapt, and influence the future—activities that would secure its long-term, sustainable development. Too many functions and people lack a comprehension of how they fit together or why they are significant.

As a consequence, individuals grow comfortable, willing to just show up, do the day’s tasks, and trust that someone is piloting the ship from the helm. In short, too many functions and individuals lack an understanding of how they fit or why they matter.

As a result, people become complacent, content to just show up, take care of today’s business, and hope that someone is in the wheelhouse steering the ship.

2. Difficulty blending multiple personalities into a cohesive and unified team.

Whether the team is a member of the executive suite, a special project team in an R&D lab, or an operational team in a manufacturing plant, this may be a tremendous difficulty. Personalities vary greatly, and the variety of origins, beliefs, viewpoints, and experiences may create difficulties for teams. This generates a distinct set of possible challenges and possibilities.

If you can bring individuals into alignment and garner their support for similar goals, a diverse team of leaders may create astounding outcomes, fulfill the needs of consumers, and counter the danger of rivals.

However, if executives fail to share knowledge, refuse to engage on common challenges, or lack the entrepreneurial attitude, the company will underperform. You must have a team that is both inside and external to the firm.

3. Failure to develop key competencies and behaviors.

In the course of our work with organizations, we often meet a large number of dedicated individuals with excellent intentions. However, despite the industry knowledge, technological ability, and subject matter expertise that many executives bring to the table, developing a high-performance company is sometimes unattainable.

Nearly everyone we encounter, especially senior leaders, has at least one (and in some instances, numerous) leadership flaws. Sometimes leaders are conscious of their behavioral deficiencies, while other times they are oblivious to their leadership faults. People inside a company are often hesitant to speak their views openly, and it might be difficult to assist wildly successful executives with their Achilles’ heels.

Organizational leadership and management is a challenging endeavor that demands a diverse set of talents. Leaders must leverage their inherent abilities, but they must also continuously seek methods to narrow their own performance gaps and enhance their conduct.

Without continual improvement, the capabilities of a company are severely constrained. If leaders do not continuously improve their performance, they will drain a company of all vitality and employee engagement. Leaders must always be aware of and actively pursue their own possibilities for growth.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

4. In this regard, there seem to be two extremes

Either they avoid confronting others and keeping them accountable, or they relish every opportunity to verbally abuse, degrade, and demoralize others.

I have worked with several leadership teams where a lack of honest, constructive, and open communication regarding team members’ practices, styles, talents, or behaviors was the number one issue. Without an openness, feedback, and coaching culture, firms will struggle to expand.

In fact, second to mistake number one (lack of clear direction), this is the most common complaint we hear. This problem is so predictable, pervasive, and harmful that we prepare materials on it before working with individual leaders or leadership teams.

Many teams attempt to navigate this by tolerating the bully or guessing what others want or need from them.

People frequently tell us that they fear reprisal or retaliation if they are open, but the reality is that leaders cannot execute on their strategies, reduce costs, or effectively launch new processes or services if people fail to communicate with constructive candor. Therefore, this issue must be resolved.

5. Lack of awareness.

Building a successful organization requires hard effort and an acute knowledge of the business’s culture and surroundings. The majority of CEOs are very occupied; many things compete for their attention.

In a VUCA (velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) environment, market circumstances may change rapidly, requiring a significant amount of a leader’s attention. This is affectionately referred to as the “task magnet.”

Sadly, while focused on their many important operational diversions, many managers lose sight of the importance of cooperation. Consequently, communication suffers and executives get busy, failing to acknowledge individuals, celebrate accomplishments, establish a talent pipeline, or devote time examining systems, policies, and methods for improved cross-functional collaboration. People get disconnected, feel ostracized, and lose concentration and dedication.


How can you change your organization’s culture?

Step one is to determine your existing cultural type. What are its strong points and weak points? Does it adapt to market and global changes? The fast acceptance of remote work, for instance, has altered the way in which many firms operate and switched the emphasis of workers from job satisfaction to job security.

Customer and supplier feedback, as well as employee satisfaction surveys and self-evaluations, may be beneficial here. Examine the unstated expectations, conventions, and assumptions. Consider how individuals interact with one another, their everyday work patterns, and what your top performers have in common. Your goal is to comprehend how individuals function.

Once you understand where you are, you may consider where you want to go. In addition, you may choose which characteristics of the various corporate culture types best align with your goal.

Five steps to cultural transformation

1. Define your core values

Why do you do what you do? This includes the manner in which you handle your employees, vendors, and consumers. Your company’s actions are guided by these basic beliefs. Once you have determined what they are, you should convey them to your staff and explain what they represent for the firm and everyone inside it.

2. Lead the way

Ensure that your company executives are aware of their roles in the change. What do they need to know, feel, and do to facilitate a successful cultural shift? Are they prepared to convey the crucial messages and assist their teams during the transition?

3. Engage employees

Share your vision, provide frequent updates to your teams, and solicit input. Your business culture is exemplified by the daily work habits of your employees. People are crucial to the development of the business. In the words of the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends study, leaders may add purpose to even the most mundane tasks by connecting them to greater aims.

4. Recruit the right people

Diversity is essential for corporate cultures. The goal is thus not to create a workforce that is identical in terms of thought, behavior, and appearance. Find people that can contribute in their own unique manner while still sharing and enhancing the ideals of your business.

5. Be consistent – and patient

Focus your attention on tracking and analyzing development, while maintaining a vigilant vigilance. Corporate culture permeates every part of the firm and its operations. Changing your culture takes a movement, not a mandate, according to Harvard Business Review.

Current Organizational Theory is Over 250 Years Old

Physicists such as Newton, Boyle, and others provided the world with scientific rules that engineers, architects, and businesspeople used to begin building a world of machines. The creation of these new items requires vast labor teams and specialized organizational abilities.

The factories that arose were created according to the same ideas that were used to create the machines; thus, corporations became a product of many pieces, such as departments, divisions, and job descriptions that arrange individual jobs.

The hypothesis was that if each component functioned well, the machine would also function properly.

Traditional Companies

In the past, manufacturers could produce the same product for decades without having to adapt, but today’s linked globe has increased the pace of change, necessitating that businesses adapt.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Traditional businesses are structured to deliver identical outcomes every time, much like a machine. They are not intended to be malleable, subjective, or flexible.

The following are ten disadvantages of conventional organizational systems. Leaders must continually review the organizational structure and its market relevance.

The organizational structure may determine the success or failure of an organization.

10 Drawbacks to Traditional Organizational Culture

  1. As systems are intended for stability, they respond slowly to external and internal changes.
  2. Too many structural levels impede and diminish communication efficiency.
  3. Authority Is managed centrally, diminishing the efficiency of front-line employees
  4. Problems are difficult to resolve and continue to reoccur, consuming time and resources.
  5. Frequently, goals are at odds (e.g., finance wants to conserve, whereas departments need to spend).
  6. By separating and confining individuals, the structures and systems cause issues.
  7. The majority of individuals are excluded from the decision-making and thinking processes, consequently impeding the capacity for rapid change and adaptation.
  8. People are not connected or included in the organization’s mission and feel apart from it as opposed to a part of it.
  9. Failure is more important than achievement.
  10. The organization’s performance falls short of expectations or potential.

When developing an organization’s structure, its executives must guarantee that it is adaptive and flexible.

What is a culture of innovation?

There are some characteristics innovative teams share, despite the fact that innovation means various things to different individuals. According to The 2018 Global Innovation 1000 survey, the high-impact innovators possess the following characteristics:

  1. They link innovation strategy closely with business strategy.
  2. They cultivate a company-wide culture that supports innovation.
  3. The company’s executive leadership is extensively engaged in the innovation program.
  4. They base their innovations on direct feedback from end-users.
  5. They use stringent project selection criteria at the outset of the innovation process.

The most successful innovators excel in each of these first five traits and are able to combine them to produce one-of-a-kind client experiences that can revolutionize the market.

Observing the behavior of employees, particularly when the boss is not there, may reveal a great deal about a company’s culture.​

A culture of innovation stresses the generation and implementation of new ideas, as well as the pursuit of continuous improvement in all aspects of the organization. Innovation is all about creating progress on a personal and organizational level. Consequently, the optimal culture for innovation promotes ongoing education and experimentation.

Due to the fact that individuals are the primary influencers of culture, the most frequent obstacles are often associated with people.

1. Resistance to change

Changing people’s mentalities and attitudes may be difficult. Frequently, individuals have their own, ingrained perspectives and practices. Despite the fact that there is nothing inherently wrong with this, these underlying attitudes and assumptions may occasionally inhibit creativity.

When something has been the standard for an extended period of time, it becomes the norm. This often causes individuals to become oblivious to potential inefficiencies in their own work and routinely utilized methods.

Things that worked well in the past are not always guaranteed to work in the future, which is why it is essential to continually examine your assumptions, be open to change, and search for ways to enhance your and your team’s work. In the long term, complacency with the status quo has shown to be detrimental.

In addition, individuals might be resistive to change due to a fear of failure. No one likes to be accountable for anything that did not go according to plan, therefore it is only reasonable to be terrified of making a mistake.

However, these views may be altered by fostering a workplace that promotes a “fail fast” culture. Innovation nearly always entails a degree of risk and uncertainty. Due to the fact that not all ideas may be successful, it is essential to convey that failure is OK as long as people are learning from it.

Start with small victories

Oftentimes, the most difficult aspect of altering mentalities is getting started. To achieve success, it’s crucial to understand why individuals oppose change.​

Frequently, the explanation is because they do not comprehend what the change will imply for them. They may, for instance, see innovation just as a demand to labor harder and fail to recognize its potential beneficial effects on their job.

Your responsibility is to convey how these changes will effect your team in practice and, more crucially, what they stand to gain. Assist individuals in comprehending why change is required for the continued success of the organization and the well-being of the team.

You may begin by making tiny, incremental adjustments to your team’s working methods and then shift your attention to achieving favorable outcomes rapidly. Consider implementing these so-called “low-hanging fruits” before announcing company-wide adjustments.

Organizing an idea challenge, for instance, is one approach to kick off the discussion. Once individuals have accumulated a few initial good experiences, they can recognize the benefits and are more likely to be receptive to changes and new chances.

2. Not communicating the purpose

We spend the majority of our waking time at work. Without a greater purpose for our actions, it is easy for individuals to see their jobs as nothing more than a source of income. It might often be challenging to motivate individuals to always provide their best effort. Without purpose, there is no direction, and without direction, there is almost no possibility of attaining your target.

By articulating intent I am not talking about delivering a motivating speech or posting inspiring slogans on the workplace walls. For individuals to experience genuine satisfaction and significance in their professions, they must believe they are an integral part of something that makes a significant difference.

In the context of fostering an innovative culture, it is essential for individuals to understand why change is necessary. For example, if you are in a dying industry, you must merely refresh in order to survive. It is your obligation to convey what has to be changed and what each person must do to implement this change.​

Create a movement

Clarifying your vision and transforming it into a compelling narrative that people want to be a part of is the first step in communicating your organization’s mission. This aids in persuading others to align their behaviors with the shared objective and join the “movement.”

If you were worried about the viability of your firm, you would want to ensure that your employees are aware that they must continue to develop their skills and expertise on an individual level.

Even if your position is not as dire, you should always strive to understand more about your staff and what drives and energizes them. In addition, while employing new members for your team, instead of focusing just on competence, you should always search for attributes that may contribute to the advancement of your overall mission.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

3. Rigid organisational structures

Typically, organizational structures are rather hierarchical, particularly in bigger businesses. Having some type of hierarchy is required, but if it impedes the flow of information, it may produce innovation bottlenecks.

Frequently, middle management, which controls the flow of information to the front line, becomes a bottleneck. Even if managers wanted to hear ideas from the front line, they are often too busy to do so, and hence end up favoring innovation above their existing job.

Typically, this conveys a message that the workers’ contribution is unappreciated, resulting in a decline in their enthusiasm to contribute fresh ideas.

Move decision-making closer to the front-line

Innovation must occur at every level of the company. There is a danger that the feedback and review process may become inefficient when ideas must pass through many layers of management. In light of this, excessive organizational obstacles and hierarchies will ultimately stifle creativity.

Communication should flow not just upward but also below and across the company. When middle managers are overburdened, they often only focus on short-term objectives and are under continual pressure to meet their performance criteria, leaving little possibility for long-term progress.

One strategy for overcoming this difficulty is to relocate decision-making closer to the front lines. Managers might explain innovation from a broader viewpoint and guide the proper sort of activity by establishing objectives that promote the right kind of transformation.

In order to do this, managers must have faith in their staff and allow them to implement their own ideas, while simultaneously providing them with some constraints to help them maintain focus. Developing an inventive culture requires the ideal balance of freedom and control.

Therefore, instead of having management make all of the choices, you should delegate greater authority to people who are eager to assume it and enthusiastic about driving things ahead.

4. Lack of commitment and reinforcement

Low levels of management commitment are another reason why innovation culture initiatives fail. If innovation is seen as a mere “extracurricular activity,” it may easily interfere with everyday responsibilities and routines. Employees are unlikely to be committed if management is not.

​Innovation is not only a leisure activity. To achieve your immediate and long-term objectives, you need creativity.

Innovation is like a habit; it takes time and work to develop, but once it’s acquired and incorporated into everyday life, you’ll gradually begin to see the intended outcomes. As with the acquisition of any beneficial habit, dispersed and transient attempts do not last. Change is seldom instantaneous, and innovation in particular needs a mental paradigm change as well as continuous reinforcement.

The true problem, despite the fact that people are continually generating fresh ideas, is to use these ideas to generate additional value.

Continue to provide unique obstacles to boost energy and enthusiasm. Because activity generally corresponds with outcomes, you cannot really expect to achieve exceptional results if you do not promote employee participation.

Tie innovation to actual ways of working and reward active participation

Innovation must be related to the real working methods and projects that your teams are now engaged in if it is to provide the greatest potential outcomes. This guarantees that employees are always advancing and gaining knowledge while doing their duties.

Introducing a few basic performance measures helps inspire workers to continue enhancing their work. Clarify the company’s overarching objectives as well as the contributions of each team and person.

Ultimately, the executive level is equally accountable for maintaining an active discussion. Inspiring and inventive atmosphere enables quick exchange of ideas both vertically and horizontally and continually presents the correct kind of challenges to individuals.

Remember to constantly reward the most active participants in order to maintain the flow of ideas. Never undervalue the power of good comments and always give credit for exceptional work.

What Does It Mean to Have a Toxic Company Culture?

Before considering the possibly negative features of organizational culture, let’s clarify what the phrase “business culture” means.

As previously mentioned in our corporate culture guide, the definition of company culture is the organization’s personality. This includes how workers and executives conduct their job and engage with one another in accordance with their shared values and beliefs.

In light of this, there is no universal definition of a “poor” business culture. In the end, every business is distinct. A characteristic that may be deemed unsuitable in one organization (or geographic region/industry) may be seen as typical in another.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Certainly, there are some traits that are universally regarded as poisonous by organizations worldwide. Some examples include:

  • Frequent employee disagreements or friction between employees and management.
  • A failure of communication between personnel
  • Negative sentiments among workers (such as toxic competitiveness amongst colleagues or poor morale)
  • There is widespread anxiety in the air.

Building a healthy culture is, however, without a doubt one of the most difficult areas of management.

The Telltale Signs of a Toxic Company Culture

Even if your firm is thriving, it is essential that you keep an eye out for tiny changes as a manager.

Between meetings and your regular forays to the office kitchen, don your business culture evaluation hat and engage in conversation with your colleagues.

Examine the monthly, quarterly, and annual reports for minor information. Examine if the teams are cooperating.

Simply put: use caution.

Here are some traditional indications of a poisonous organizational culture.

1. High Employee Turnover Rate

If your workers are quitting at a higher rate than typical while receiving competitive compensation, it may be time to examine your company’s culture.

A high staff turnover rate is the most prevalent indicator of a deteriorating corporate culture.

In fact, according to our 2018 Employee Retention Report, 26 percent of questioned employees were more likely to leave owing to a lack of respect among coworkers.

2. Lack of Collaboration Among Teams

A lack of cooperation between workers and peers is another basic indicator of a subpar business culture.

If you find yourself often settling problems, coping with missing deadlines, or correcting mistakes, the culture may be to fault.

Your culture is heading in the wrong way if your workers do not appreciate cooperation, which involves sharing the workload, bouncing ideas off one another, and uplifting one another.

3. Decreasing Performance Levels

In our Guide to Employee Engagement, we’ve emphasized that engagement is a crucial component of business culture growth.

This suggests that, in the absence of a stable, positive culture and a lack of involvement, performance levels decline.

Do not rely on our assertions. Research indicates that disengaged workers cost the U.S.

3. General Dissatisfaction Among Employees

If you see a fall in employee happiness, it might very possibly be due to issues with the company’s culture.

A poisonous work environment influences how individuals approach and perceive their employment.

Using an employee feedback platform, such as TINYpulse, you may monitor the performance of your staff.

Ultimately, understanding how to harness employee input during organizational transformation is vital, as it will assist you in focusing on the areas that need genuine improvements.

4. Office Gossip

Last but not least, you must keep an ear out for workplace gossip, the most typical indicator of a negative business culture.

This cannot, however, be measured by a survey.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

This requires interacting with the staff, being vigilant, and keeping an eye out for unpleasant comments.

The 3 Culprits Behind Toxic Company Culture

Once you’ve decided that your organization’s culture isn’t how you’d like it to be, the next step is to identify the culprits.

There could be many factors hindering the development of your company culture.

The three usual reasons include:

1. A Lack of Clarity on Core Values

Your company’s core values are the principles upon which the business’s foundations — the daily activities and interactions of workers — are founded.

They are also represented in the purpose and vision statements of your organization.

In a sense, basic principles may serve as the seeds from which a robust culture grows.

For instance, Google’s corporate culture is founded on ideals such as customer-centricity, speed, and the absence of underhanded commercial practices.

The crucial aspect is effectively conveying these values to workers.

If you have not yet communicated your fundamental principles, it is likely that your lack of communication is the primary cause of a negative corporate culture.

2. Incompetent or Careless Management

Change always begins at the top.

How can you expect the other workers to uphold the company’s culture and key principles if the middle and line managers do not?

If a small number of managers are responsible for the loss in the quality of the company’s culture, swift action will be required.

3. Inadequate Feedback

The third most prevalent offender is insufficient feedback, which is the result of negligent management.

When workers do not given sufficient feedback on their actions and levels of performance, they ultimately lose interest.

6 Steps to Fixing Toxic Company Culture

Building a pleasant and healthy corporate culture requires persistence and effort.

However, if you prioritize the proper areas, you will see excellent results. They may arrive gradually and steadily. But be patient.

In light of this, here are some measures you may take to change your company’s culture.

1. Create or Reassess Your Core Values

Let’s begin with the fundamentals.

Values and corporate culture are interconnected.

Prior to anything else, you must examine your company’s fundamental principles or, if you haven’t previously, develop them from fresh.

Here are some practical suggestions:

  • Draw a Picture – Begin by listing the features of an ideal corporate culture. Then, consider if the present values are consistent with them.
  • Ask Around – Consult with other managers and investigate the guiding principles of other businesses in your field. Importantly, use business culture surveys to inquire about your workers’ perspectives, including their hobbies, interests, and views.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Remember that it is crucial to include pertinent questions in employee satisfaction surveys. You may choose to ask the following examples of corporate culture questions:

  • Do you appreciate your company’s culture?
    Feel appreciated for your contributions?
    Do you sense a connection with your coworkers?

Try to generate a few more.

Begin drafting a list of key values while keeping in mind the ideal corporate culture, the perspectives of management, and employee feedback.

2. Communicate and Cement the Values

Some businesses commit the error of developing their core principles but failing to communicate them to their workers and prospective stakeholders.

Consequently, it is essential to be explicit about the views you want your colleagues to evaluate and accept.

There are several one-time and ongoing methods to do this:

  • Incorporate your basic principles into your website’s “About” section (or creating a separate webpage dedicated to just the values)
  • Include/print your essential principles in your primary employment paperwork.
  • Placing a few of plaques with the organization’s key principles prominently displayed throughout the office.
  • Occasionally highlighting important ideals at meetings and informal gatherings.

This is significant for two reasons:

  • Your current workers get a type of guide on how to act and approach their employment.
  • You have the ability to seek out new personnel who are ideal matches for the firm.

It is ultimately more vital for values to be understood and acted upon than for them to just exist.

3. Start with the Managers

As stated before, the first step in repairing a dysfunctional corporate culture is to focus on the management.

Consider holding one-on-one meetings with middle and first-line managers to explore their values and passions.

If a manager’s daily actions and performance do not represent the company’s basic principles, you should speak with them.

Communicate precisely what is expected of them and underline the significance of their participation in building the company’s culture.

4. Hire the Right People

This is self-evident.

In the long term, you can reduce staff turnover and preserve a strong business culture by aggressively recruiting qualified candidates.

This is particularly crucial when recruiting managers. When faced with such a circumstance, you should seek for people with particular leadership attributes.

However, this is far simpler to say than to accomplish.

In the job description, highlight the soft talents more than the needed technical abilities.

In addition to competency-related questions, incorporate questions on your fundamental values and company culture in early interviews and/or surveys.

In addition, you may use personality tests to boost your chances of choosing the ideal candidate.

5. Reinforce Positivity in the Workplace

Now that the rules have been established, it is time to guarantee that everyone adheres to them.

The only way to do this is to reward your staff for exhibiting excellent behaviors and practices.

From an employee of the month award to a hefty cash bonus, there are a variety of possible incentives.

What Are the Most Common Organizational Culture Problems?

Rewarding your staff will encourage them to go above and above and act in the manner that your organization requires.

6. Gauge the Health of the Culture

In conclusion, keep in mind the prior advice: be attentive.

Use surveys and business culture interview questions to assess the status of your corporation periodically.

Ask your staff about their ideas and insights on the company’s current culture.

Periodically revisit it and make necessary modifications.

You may use frequent pulsing to constantly be aware of the status of your culture at any given time.


The organization’s culture affects the way people think, act, and communicate with each other. It creates a unique way of operating. This is the way it has always been done. This is how we do business.

The culture of your organization should be a reflection of who you are as an organization. This is the best way to attract the talent you need.

The top reason companies fail to innovate and stay competitive is because their organizational culture doesn’t foster innovation.

To avoid organizational problems, you must develop and reinforce a healthy organizational culture. A healthy organizational culture is characterized by trust, respect, humility, openness, integrity, and accountability.

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Pat Moriarty
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