Definition of organisational culture

The set of shared values and norms that characterise a particular organisation.

A strong culture, in which members agree upon and care intensely about organisational values, can improve organisational performance by motivating employees and co-ordinating their behaviour. Organisational values can resonate with employees’ higher ideals and rally them around a set of meaningful goals. They also focus employees’ attention on organisational priorities, which then guide their behaviour and decision-making.

One method for strengthening culture is to choose new employees based on culture fit. New employees can then be socialised into the culture by being taught its values and expected behaviours. Early employee-employer interactions are vital; they can determine the employee's desire to “buy in” to the company's philosophy and establish long-lasting patterns of behaviour.


In the late 1990s, Cisco Systems developed culturally-consistent selection criteria, hiring candidates who were frugal, smart, enthusiastic about the future of the internet, and not obsessed with status. Cisco's hiring process helped it to maintain its culture and to be able to focus on improving its products and services.[1]

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