Culture within a business is not spontaneous. It is deliberately cultivated and created. Organizational culture consists of different behaviors that can include routines, rules, and the overall identity within a professional environment. Culture is used as a means of controlling behavior, providing stability, and the employees sense of belonging. Individuals who disrupt cultural controls within their organization run the risk of being deemed aberrant. Leaders develop positive cultural controls in hopes of creating social norms and a sense of shared values within the organization.
In healthcare, many of the larger facilities claim to promote individuality, but in reality, create an environment of conformity, many of which are expected behavioral norms within the organizations.
Social norms within an organization are considered unwritten rules of behaviors that determine how employees may react to specific situations. Typically, these are applied by peers through different social acts. For example, if your workplace has an unwritten rule of not addressing unethical practices, then the employee who speaks out against it may be ignored and excluded from future group activities.
As a new employee, there are different ways one could get insight to the company’s culture and overall method of behavior controls. One may be the employee handbook, that can consist of nondisclosure agreements, anti-discrimination policies, expected work schedules, standards of conduct, and general information. Another way to gage culture is through onboarding and training. Usually a manager will train you and how they do so can speak volumes. Leaders must act in a way that reflects the organization’s values, otherwise, employees can become cynical and resentful.
An understanding of an organization’s rules and regulations should always be integrated into the company culture and even become rooted in the shared values and social norms of the culture (HBR).