Organizational culture, why do we do the things we do?

Every company is different, not only in their production or strategy, but also in their culture. People who have worked in that company usually do not see these differences as clearly as new entrants do.  The creation and development of the culture has thus been partially unconscious and beyond the firms power. If nobody consciously created it, how did it come to be?

In the following video this question is clearly answered with a very interesting monkey experiment. 5 monkeys are put into a cage and create their own culture. Watch what happens when new entrants are placed in the cage and culture is passed onwards. No worries, no animals were hurt during the creation of this video.

What we can learn:

  • Some cultural activities might be useless or even counterproductive; we must therefore always critically reflect on why we do the things we do.
  • Listen to a new perspective; instead of making new entrants immediately adapt to your own culture, listen to their opinions and habits. This might lead to a more productive culture.
  • Culture can be partially influenced by the firm and its actions; culture is therefore not entirely out of control and firms must carefully consider which policy to implement and how it affects culture.
  • Make sure the organization’s culture rewards followers but does not punish free-thinkers in the process.