Organizational Culture Drives Performance (Safety) — Occupational Health and Safety

Organizational culture drives performance (safety)

Organizational culture involves a set of assumptions and beliefs that guide customary and traditional ways of thinking.


People come together and join forces for a reason. To achieve the goal effectively and efficiently, they create an organization. The sum total of the beliefs, norms, attitudes and skills shared by these individuals are then reflected in the values, vision, goals, systems, functions, policies, procedures and practices of the organization. This can then be loosely said to be the culture of that organization. Organizational culture develops over time.

By its very nature, the culture ensures that its members continue to conform to governing norms. Making permanent meaningful change to organizational systems, practices, or procedures requires a culture change. Changing the culture is difficult, and it takes concerted effort and time to do so. To some extent, the culture of the organization is influenced by both internal (management, employees and their interaction) and external (business, national, legal, global, etc.) factors. All cultures have subcultures.

Management and cultivation

All organizational cultures are somewhat unique to this entity. Organizational culture involves a set of assumptions and beliefs that guide customary and traditional ways of thinking and doing things, which are shared to a greater or lesser degree by all of its members. Newcomers are expected to learn, conform and, at the very least, accept the main ideas in order to be accepted into service with the company. Thus, organizational culture affects how people and groups interact with each other, as well as with partners, customers, and with any other stakeholder.

“Safety culture” is a subculture of organizational culture and therefore constrained and influenced by it. Safety culture can be defined as the truths, ideas and beliefs that all members of the organization share about risks, accidents, injuries and occupational health. An effective safety culture can be described as the corporate atmosphere in which safety and health are understood and accepted as an important core value. The culture of safety is influenced by real or perceived management actions, expectations, the work environment and the leader-member exchange.