Organizational culture can be difficult to define with a company. This is because most organizations have multiple cultures. These cultures may vary as much as the wind chill factor on a gusty day. Depending upon which department is examined, the dynamics of the employees and their relationship to the manager's leadership style can all change the subcultures working in an organization. Collectively these will all have an impact on the overall organizational culture. Organizational culture refers to the "unwritten, often unconscious message that fills in the gaps between what is formally decreed and what actually takes place; it involves shared philosophies, ideologies, values, beliefs, expectations, and norms". (Deshpande).
Why is the culture of an organization a topic of discussion when reviewing quality issues? On the surface it would seem that these are unrelated topics. But, organizational culture can provide a useful framework for measuring effectiveness. In this scenario, effectiveness is equal to providing a product to the customer which performs within the advertised labeling expectations. Organizational effectiveness and defining organizational culture involves four functions: 1) the values and beliefs of the members of the organization, 2) the policies and practices the organization uses, 3) the translation of the first two functions into the "vision" of the organizations leader, and 4) the relationship of the first two functions to the environment context. (Frost) .
An even more basic definition of organizational culture is "a compilation of each person's beliefs and mental models. These beliefs are primarily forged by emotions" (McManus) This definition does not address the goals and values of management and its impact upon a group of employees. It does fit in well with the cultural purism definition of organizational culture. Cultural purism maintains that an organization is its culture; therefore culture can only be influenced by addressing the most basic levels of values and attitudes.