Accessability Links

Organisation subculture - an observation

Posted by
27 Jul 2015
In recent weeks, I have spoken to several job seekers who have expressed their motivation to find a new role is that the culture they currently work within is 'difficult' or 'unpleasant'. I have been surprised to find that some businesses appear to have conflicting cultures depending on office location and it begs the question of what can lead to a main organisational culture having one or several "subcultures"?

Every organisation has a dominant culture and most large organisations also have numerous subcultures, which are made up of the core values of the company and additional values unique to the subculture. Subcultures can form when an office or group of people share something which is unique to them, including, geographical separation, job function and individual management styles. Sellick partnership have a variety of specialisms within our company which are of course Procurement, Finance and Legal with consultants specialising in their own area and six office locations. Subculture allows priorities within a particular environment or function to be met. They can provide the responses required and flexibility which a unitary culture may not. Pressures that may affect one team dramatically may have little bearing on another and by adapting to them as we need to, as a business we are stronger. Because of our differences we can also learn a lot more from each in how to approach things rather than applying one overall standard measure. Consistency at Sellick Partnership, however, is important and remains a focus overall, this is due to our exceptional internal organisation as demonstrated by our ISO 9001 accreditation.

On a personal note, I have visited each of the Sellick Partnership offices (apart from our new London office which I hope to visit shortly) and I have found there is a slight difference in culture in each. While we all promote our values of Passionate, Respected and Engaging, each office manager and group dynamic means there is a slightly different working environment, but I have observed that despite each consultant's speciality and regional traits we all share similar characteristics.

Staffing similarities may have emerged due to a shared vision and great team spirit. Sellick make a conscious effort for all of their offices to regularly meet, to share tips and for strategy reasons but also to promote teamwork. We all 'belong' here and feel part of something special as a result. It is unique for a company to schedule 2 days out of the office each year, dedicated to teambuilding exercises.

Most of Sellick Partnership's new starters display the same characteristics as our most successful consultants, managers and support functions. It is often easy to identify if someone will fit in well, but this is not a coincidence. From day one, Jo Sellick set out to create a different culture to other recruitment firms he had worked within. The fact we are owned by such a big character (Jo Sellick) has led to a more dynamic team where personality if encouraged, each consultant has their own USP, while remaining professional we are able to show our personalities.

We always consider culture and team fit as important an skill set when recruiting, but having given this some thought recently I have learned the importance of visiting each office of my clients as you cannot assume that what you witness in one office will be replicated in another.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the issues outlined in this blog in the comments section below. How have subcultures affected your workplace?
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