We like to think that the title of this issue is a clever one.
Because of the ambiguity leant by the intentional word order: in this issue we’re talking not only of culture, at work; culture-at-work; but also culture at work - in case punctuation helps establish our readers distinguish differences.
Outside of the other intersections of geographical, neighborhood, ethnic backgrounds, work history, et cetera - there are multiplicities of cultures at-work, at work.
Perhaps some of our readers have learned about cross-cultural communication through trainings or classes, maybe you’ve read about it in our series on Diversity and Inclusion
, or maybe you’ve learned about it organically in your life experiences.
What makes Professional Cultures unique is that they are not exempt from influence from any of the intersections mentioned above.
They are, however, intentional in the goals of cultural behaviors a la professionalism, whereas other cultures can formulate organically as a bi-product of human interaction.
Ultimately, Professional Cultures desire a professional outcome.
Because of the nature of ‘face
’ in professionalism, this dictates the design of some aspects of its associated cultures - but let’s take a look at our glossary for this month’s issues.
A set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize a location of work. Related to the mundane and day-to-day aspects of behavior and actions shared by the overall workplace community - local groups: teams, departments, lunch groups, resource groups, clubs, et cetera, all contribute to the workplace culture. A company may have multiple offices and thus might have different workplace cultures associated with different locations. To consider things in a classical anthropological example: the workplace is the village. This is our ‘micro’ level.
A set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization. How the company expresses its values and beliefs through its communication, dress-code, policies, management practices, employee/client/customer treatment, et cetera. If the workplace is the village, then the company is the kingdom. A kingdom may have multiple villages, or it may just be a castle or it may be just a flag flown in various locations, a la remote work. This is our ‘local’ level.
A set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize the organization of an organization. This includes generalized beliefs and behaviors, company-wide value systems, strategies, communication, policies, work environment, and attitude. Corporate culture involves the origin of myths, symbols, phrases, logos, slogans, products, design. If we have villages and kingdoms, the corporate culture is the interpretation of the holy book that guides it all. This is our ‘macro’ level.
The last series, I admit I was guilty of referring to concepts by capital letters which is actually just referring to their attempted quantification.
Culture, by its nature, is unquantifiable - so I asked Paul if he could help elaborate on a few abbreviations he uses in his line of work.
To avoid the newsletter resembling spoonfuls of alphabet soup, Paul has created a page on Fortify’s website
that we’ll link to in each issue as he updates the list for reference.
Read on about the effects of modern technology has had on professional culture as written in the Atlantic last month.