Although the process throughout which culture unfolds within an organisation entails and involves the active participation of all of the employees working within it, insofar as it can be averred that each individual actually contributes to its creation, not all of the individuals working within the same organisation develop the same perception and feeling about the final outcome produced by that process.
Taking as axiomatic that organisational climate is concerned with individual perceptions and feelings, it could be worth trying to find out which is the impact produced by these perceptions and the extent of their practical implications.
Burton et al (1999) aver that climate can be considered as a “relatively enduring quality of the organisation which is experienced by its members.” Similarly, Field and Abelson (1982), Dailey (1988) and French et al (1985) define organisational climate as a (relatively) persistent and enduring quality. As a general rule, it can be argued that since organisational climate depends on organisational culture, individuals should not be likely to frequently change their interpretation of the work environment, unless some relevant changes occur in the organisation’s culture.
associated with individual perceptions and feelings, which sometimes could also
be caused by misunderstanding, bias and misjudgement of some events occurred to
these. Employees join organisations, but leave their managers (MacLeod and
Clarke, 2009). More often than not, a “simple” change of Line Manager can strongly
and abruptly contribute to change individual perception of the overall
organisational environment and of its practices and policies. Albeit in general
climate can be considered as a rather enduring and persistent quality, it is
also important to consider that individual perceptions can at times be
influenced and distorted by the behaviour of every single employee working
within the organisation who, to some extent, prevents other individuals to
really understand and appreciate organisational climate as they should. As
stressed by Schneider (2008), organisational climate is indeed concerned with the
employees’ perceptions about the formal and informal practices, procedures and
policies executed within a business. It could be argued that it is actually up
to the employers to do what it takes in order to aver such situations to practically
occur, which is absolutely true but which actually represents another and
different aspect of the matter. Such episodes would clearly result to be
irrelevant and insignificant at organisational-culture level where all of the
employees are concerned and a few “exceptions” (provided these really are a
few) should not strongly affect and impact the business culture. Climate, nevertheless,
is not concerned with staff and the workforce considered as a whole, but rather
with each individual and his personal feelings, appreciation, understanding and
Some Authors have further investigated the meaning ascribed by individuals, according to their perceptions, to the work environment referring to a two-level scale based on a clear distinction between “psychological climate” and “organisational climate.” More in particular, psychological climate would be identified with individual-level perceptions, whereas organisational climate would be associated with the broader unit or organisational level perceptions. The latter case occurs when people within the same unit share the same perception and feeling about the work environment (Joyce and Slocum, 2004; Jones and James 2004).
As for strategy, it cannot be maintained
that an organisation’s culture is better than another (Armstrong, 2009) so that
the comparison between different cultures of different businesses would represent
a pointless exercise. Additionally, what can be considered good for an
organisation cannot be necessarily considered as good for another. Yet, as
suggested by Alvesson (2001), “Some things that may be seen as good may be less
positive from another angle.”
The quality of an
organisation’s climate is clearly strictly dependent on the level of fairness,
consistency and integrity an organisational culture is able to inspire and foster
in each individual concerned. Differently from culture, individual perceptions are
not immediately and directly influenced by the level of performance a business culture
is able to foster within the organisation, but rather by some other aspects as
fairness, equity, consistency and integrity.
Influences on behaviour