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21 Examples of Work Culture

 , September 11, 2019
Work culture is everything about an organization that is not officially captured in processes, rules and regulations. In other words, it is the intangible aspects of work that emerge over time. Management influences culture with their example, behavior and policies but doesn't directly control it. The following are illustrative examples of work culture.

Shared Experiences

The collective shared experiences of employees over the course of a firm's history. For example, challenges that were faced together and overcome can build a sense of belonging, fulfillment and comradeship.

Tone At The Top

Tone at the top is the behavior of a company's executive management. For example, a CEO that is admired versus a CEO that is viewed as dishonest or incompetent. This impacts behavior across a firm as employees tend to mirror the behavior they see at the top.

Company Image

How employees view the firm. For example, a firm that is viewed as innovative as opposed to a firm that is viewed as inefficient and backwards.


The basic expectations that emerge within a firm such as an expectation that meetings will start on time and everyone will be prepared.


The boundaries of acceptable behavior such as a firm where swearing is common versus one where it is viewed as unacceptable.

Management Style

The style of management that prevails. For example, a command-and-control environment where authority is everything versus a firm where managers are expected to influence without overrelying on their authority.


Common habits such as a firm where employees typically keep workstations and common areas clean and tidy.


Traditions such as welcome lunches for new employees and goodbye parties for departing coworkers.


The unique vocabulary that emerges within a firm. This is an element of culture that can distinguish between newbies and experienced employees. As such, learning the language signals that you're a member of the culture.

Ethical Climate

The expectation that employees strive to do good. For example, a firm where customers are always discussed respectfully with genuine intent to solve customer problems. This can be compared to a firm with an antagonist or opportunistic view of customers.


Loyalty to a firm and its mission.


The degree to which employees identify with each other and enjoy a sense of teamwork.


The intensity of competition between employees.


Fairness and perceptions of fairness. For example, a firm where valuable contributors are promoted as opposed to the friends of managers.

Resistance to Change

A firm where employees accept aggressive change versus one where they value stability and defend the status quo.

Failure is Not An Option

A culture where failure is not recognized or acknowledged such that the company is likely to continue losing strategies and poor money into failed projects.

Risk Taking

An environment where employees openly communicate and pursuit brave ideas versus a conservative environment whereby everyone is afraid to say something dumb or fail.

Unspoken Rules

Unspoken rules such as a firm where everyone must stay at work until their manager leaves in the evening.

Tolerance for Disagreement

The personal resilience that is expected of employees such as an ability to handle disagreements and criticism.

Saving Face

Efforts not to embarrass each other. For example, a firm where constructive criticism is the norm as opposed overly harsh or personal criticism.

Employee Satisfaction

The degree to which employees are happy with their job and see the job as part of their future.
Overview: Work Culture
Intangible aspects of an organization that emerge with the shared experiences of employees.
Also Known As
Related Concepts

Work Culture

This is the complete list of articles we have written about work culture.
Risk Taking
Saving Face
Status Quo
Team Culture
Team Weakness
Work Culture
Work Environment
Work Principles
Work Values
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