What does ‘organisational culture’ mean?
Organisation - The mode in which something is organised; systematic arrangement for a definite purpose
Culture – an ephemeral term which defies definition but we know what culture is. Culture just happens to a large extent – the formation of a culture is not a conscious action. Culture evolves over time depending on the people within the organisation.
Placed together it creates an oxymoron. Culture defies a systematic arrangement for a definite purpose because it is a totality unto itself to a large degree.
At Woodford House there is a multiplicity of sub cultures. Each curriculum department has its own culture (Interesting how each department uses Woodbook – the English department uses it as a social message board space whereas science use theirs for resource notification); each of the four Houses has its own culture; each year level dean will develop their own culture as well.
There is no universally acceptable map of what is entailed in an organisational culture but for the purposes of this inquiry it is necessary to consider the basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of the school – the driving energy behind the organisation.
There are tangible and conceptual levels to culture. The tangible includes symbolic outward expressions of the culture. The intangible comprises the values, philosophy and ideology of the school.
Basically culture is ‘the way we do things around here’. To understand what a culture of a school is, one must live in it for a period of time and observe what goes on. After a year in the school I feel like I now have a greater understanding about what goes on at Woodford House.
It’s around this time (up to a year to eighteen months) that the school’s unique cultural qualities are most apparent, before the process of immersion in the culture ends with someone becoming the culture.