I B Mahapatra Started The Discussion:
Hi all, Pl. give your input on "The difference between organisational culture and organisational climate". What are the distinct elements of culture and climate of an organisation?
Member Opinions In This Discussion
India, Mumbai
Management Consultant
Australia, Ballarat
Principal Hr Consultant (ohs&w)
I B Mahapatra
India, Sambalpur
Stories, Change Management, Organizational
+2 Others

I understand organisational culture to describe all the unwritten rules, practices, attitudes and beliefs that affect the way in which business is done and underpins the interactions of staff and customers.

Organisational climate describes the morale and perceptions of the organisation and is quite subjective. A major education department in South Australia has just undertaken an organisational climate survey in which staff have been asked to rate their work environment and teams against 16 criteria, incuding team functioning, leadership, clarity of purpose and roles etc. With a large number of responses, a very clear picture of the organisational climate is emerging. The process also highlights a high level of variability across different sections of the department.

I've attached a powerpoint file that outlines the major features of the organisational climate survey.

Progress Enterprise


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File Type: ppt decsinitialbriefing_30marc_162.ppt (341.5 KB, 1805 views)

The Climate of your Organization is the State of its Health

How your employees feel about their jobs, their supervisors, their peers, top management, and many other factors affects their individual productivity, and collectively the ability of the organization to achieve its objectives.

Without a formal process, finding out about employee attitudes usually relies on the manager's instincts or the employee's own willingness to communicate upward. But managerial instinct rarely provides the kind of hard data needed for decision ‑ making. And most employees are hesitant to communicate anything but positive information to their supervisors.

The formal process generally involves using a climate survey or questionnaire, and you have probably learned that there are lots of them out there.

Organizational climate measures attempts to assess organizations in terms of dimensions that are thought to capture or describe perceptions about the climate.

1.Structure ‑ feelings about constraints and freedom to act and the degree of formality or informality in the working atmosphere.

2.Responsibility ‑ the feeling of being trusted to carry out important work.

3.Risk ‑ the sense of riskiness and challenge in the job and in the organization; the relative emphasis on taking calculated risks or playing it safe.

4.Warmth ‑ the existence of friendly and informal social groups.

5.Support ‑ the perceived helpfulness of managers and co‑workers; the emphasis (or lack of emphasis) on mutual support.

6.Standards ‑ the perceived importance of implicit and explicit goals and performance standards; the emphasis on doing a good job; the challenge represented in personal and team goals.

7.Conflict ‑ the feeling that managers and other workers want to hear different opinions; the emphasis on getting problems out into the open rather than smoothing them over or ignoring them.
8.Identity ‑ the feeling that you belong to a company; that you are a valuable member of a working team.

9.autonomy ‑ the perception of self‑determination with respect to work procedures, goals and priorities;

10.cohesion ‑ the perception of togetherness or sharing within the organization setting, including the willingness of members to provide material risk;

11.trust ‑ the perception of freedom to communicate openly with members at higher organizational levels about sensitive or personal issues, with the expectation that the integrity of such communications will not be violated;

12.resource ‑ the perception of time demands with respect to task competition and performance standards;

13.support ‑ the perception of the degree to which superiors tolerate members' behaviour, including willingness to let members learn from their mistakes without fear of reprisal;

14.recognition ‑ the perception that members' contributions to the organization are acknowledged;

15.fairness ‑ the perception that organizational policies are non‑arbitrary or capri­cious;

16.innovation ‑ the perception that change and creativity are encouraged, including
risk‑taking into new areas where the member has little or no prior experience.

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Organization culture can be a set of key values , assumptions,
understandings and norms that is shared by members of an

Organization values are fundamental beliefs that an organization
considers to be important , that are relatively stable over time,
and they have an impact on employees behaviors and attitudes.

Organization Norms are shared standards that define what
behaviors are acceptable and desirable within organization.

Shared assumptions are about how things are done
in an organization.

Understandings are coping with internal / external problems

LEVEL 1---VISIBLE, that can be seen at the surface level
-dress codes
-office layout [ open office]
-ceremonies[ monthly / annual awards/long service/birthdays etc.
etc etc

LEVEL 2- INVISIBLE , that can be cannot be seen but only felt.
-stories about people performance
-symbols [ flag, trademark, logos, etc]
-corporate mission statements
-recruitment/selection [ methods used]
-fairness in treatment
-social equality
-risk taking in business deals
-formality in approach
-autonomy for departments
-responsiveness to communication
-empowerment of staff.
etc etc.

hope this is useful to you.


Dear Leo Lingham and numerouno, Thanks for your valuable explanation on the subject. It’s really useful. I B Mahapatra
HI Numero Uno,
I can;'t open after downloading the ppt file - is it a ppt file - can you send to ? Thanks

Here's my reflection on culture vs climate so far:
1. Climate touches on values about working relationships in the organization -eg communication, level of openness, trust, etc that Leo Lingham has pointed out. Climate survey asks about the espoused values of the organization and see to what extent members feel there are behaving in alignment to those values.

2. Culture is deeper shared tacit assumptions that is held by many people in the organization (there cld be subcultures as well for different grps). It describes people's mindset about how the organization works - the scope cld be more than just working relationships. It may be an assumption about the strategy, customers, how money is used (ref from Schein).

Stories and Reflections
...but what is the difference between such terms as corporate culture and organizational culture?
Organization Culture Organization Climate

1 Culture might be described as the foundation upon which any organisation is built. Climate, on the other hand, could be described as something more surface level and relates to the here and now; it is about what it feels like to work in the organisation
2 Culture consists of the values – stated and implicit- beliefs, norms and traditions which guide how the organisation does its business and in turn how people behave. Climate has more to do with the mood or prevailing atmosphere within the business. The climate is prone to more short term fluctuations and is determined by many factors which include leadership, structure, rewards and recognition.
3 Culture is deeper shared tacit assumptions that is held by many people in the organization (there could be subcultures as well for different groups). It describes people's mindset about how the organization works - the scope could be more than just working relationships. It may be an assumption about the strategy, customers, how money is used  Climate touches on values about working relationships in the organization -eg communication, level of openness, trust, etc that Leo Lingham has pointed out. Climate survey asks about the espoused values of the organization and see to what extent members feel there are behaving in alignment to those values. 
4 Culture refers to the deep structure of organization which is rooted in its values, beliefs, assumptions held by the organization members. Climate protrays organizational environment as being rooted in the organizations value system. But tends to present these social environment in relative static terms, describing them in terms of fixed set of dimensions.
5 Culture describes the social context of the work environment. Climate describes the psychological impact of the work environment
6 Culture develops naturally in an organisation such as what is right & wrong Climate develops effortfully with focus on how to behave.
7 Culture influences the behaviour of employees towards collegues, supervisor, subordinates, clients, competitors etc. Climate represents personal characteristics of members of an organisation such as values, needs attitudes, expectations, leadership, stay in the organisation.


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