What is a subculture? Should leaders even acknowledge this topic within their organization? The answers to these questions are complex. Various factors, such as geographical location or function in the company, define the subcultures that develop in the organization. While there is no guide to deal with this phenomenon, there are various strategies that can smoothen the process of managing subcultures.
Creating a Balance
Defining the boundaries of the corporate culture within your company is the most foremost task that has to be performed. It is difficult because it has to take into consideration the multitude of thoughts, cultural practices and workstyles of the diverse job force. The balance of respect and appreciation has to be achieved in the culture. National and ethnic culture usually takes precedence over the company culture. Thus, leaders should take measures to integrate any cultural practices that are significantly important for the employees into their workplace culture.
Good Relations with the Local Community
Culture is imperative because it defines the identity of an individual. Therefore, by extension, the corporate culture defines the professional identity of the employee with the company as well as the local community. Companies have to establish practices and protocols that show support to the local community where the business is based in. These principles and guiding behaviors regarding safety and ethics are part of the organization’s social responsibility and corporate citizenship. A detailed understanding of the local environment is the legal and moral obligation of any successful business.
Belongingness Builds Family
Employees need to feel a sense of purpose and achievement in the work they do. To increase engagement levels, companies need to form a culture where the employees feel they belong. Sharing and contributing ideas strengthen natural bonds. Leaders stand in the unique position of encouraging personal, team, and organizational bonds between the employees. A healthy mix leads to a better-engaged force as everyone feels that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Belongingness also makes employees comfortable to show their authentic selves. The validation of their worth positively impacts their productivity and boosts their self-esteem.
Role of Subcultures in Organizational Change
When planning changes that impact the organization as a whole, it is imperative to include the perspective of various subcultures. It not only provides a multitude of opinions but also anchors them to the organization and its goals. Being part of a wider initiative also helps to align everyone with the common values and vision of the organization. Different subcultures are impacted differently, thus, it is impractical to implement a blanket change to each subculture. Lending an ear to each division helps to develop better management techniques that take into consideration the unique position of each subculture.
Counter Subcultures are Harmful
If a section of employees goes rogue, it results in a counter subculture that no longer adheres to the central values promoted by the culture of the organization. It falls on the shoulders of leaders to conduct periodic check-ins and course corrections to prevent counter subcultures from destroying the central culture. Corporate leaders need to lay down the boundaries that define the values and position of the central culture within the organization. Leaders need to be mindful while dealing with subcultures since they represent the varied diversities that exist within the organization.
The Bottom Line
Recognizing, acknowledging, and validating the subcultures within the organization enhances the foremost goal of any company, which is to foster a sense of commitment within the employees. The sentiment of belongingness and professional identity has to match the principles of the standard of the organization, as defined by the leadership.<< back to Blog