Projects managers do not work in vacuums and as such, need to take some time to understand the culture of any organization in which they find themselves. One effective way of making sense of organizational culture is Geert Hofstede's 6 dimensions of organizational culture.
Because organizations cannot be placed in boxes with rigid cultural boundaries, you'll find that most fall on varying positions across the continuums of the different dimensions.
Explore these dimensions to see what type of culture suits you.
Process-oriented Vs Results-oriented
While some organizations place a higher importance on what you achieve (Results-oriented), others place a higher importance on how you do the work (Process-oriented).
Process-oriented organizations usually have well-defined processes and procedures that must be followed to complete a task, either to reduce risk or to avoid violating regulations. Airlines for example, place more importance on how things get done and not what gets done.
Marketing organizations on the other hand, care more about what you achieved than the process you followed to deliver results.
Job-oriented Vs Employee-oriented
Job-oriented organizations place a higher importance on the work than the welfare of the staff doing the work. In such organizations, there is an emphasis on getting the work done often at the expense of the staff doing the work. Such organizations give little or no attention to the personal goals, aspirations and challenges of their staff.
Employee-oriented organizations on the other hand, place a high importance on the welfare of their staff. The interests of staff are considered when making work decisions to ensure that they are in the right frame of mind to deliver their best.
Open Vs Closed
In open systems, employees are very friendly, welcoming to new entrants and are relatively easy to join. In closed systems however, new entrants have to work hard to gain trust and acceptance into the organization.
Tight Control Vs Loose Control
This refers to the level of work discipline involved in the organization. In tightly controlled organizations, there's a sense of seriousness attached to everything – punctuality, physical appearance, planning work and so on. This enforces discipline and structure within the organization.
For organizations with loose controls, the culture is more easy-going, unpredictable and you will find that the organization is relaxed, flexible and people are ready to improvise.
Pragmatic Vs Normative
Pragmatic organizations are flexible in their operations, with employees identifying more with their profession or the nature of what they do.
Normative organizations are more rigid and ideological in their approach to getting work done. They tend to have a lower level of diversity since there's pressure to act, speak, dress and behave in a certain way.
Internally Vs Externally Driven
Employees in an internally-driven culture tend to see themselves as experts, knowing what clients need and responding accordingly while those working in an externally-driven culture usually do what the clients want, believing that the customer is always right.
Extreme cultures tend to create a sense of frustration and dissatisfaction in employees. Take the time to understand the culture of any organization you find yourself in (or intend to join) so that you are better able to adapt and meet the demands of working in such an environment.