Prof. (Dr.) Indu Rao

Associate Professor, Organization Behavior & HR 

Cultural Governance for Sustainability in Organizations

Organizations can be informal or formal, but are necessarily groups of people who come together for a common purpose, for profit or non-profit, and in public or private organizations. But how does organizational purpose get realized? What ensures that people interact and behave in desired manner and what ensures that organizations are able to effectively utilize the talents and capabilities of their human capital? It is the culture, a shared pattern of values, beliefs and assumptions, held by organizational members that translates into organizational behavior, which leads to organizational outcomes and performance. A rare, invaluable and inimitable culture can lead to a sustained organizational advantage. Further, cultures, once created and accepted are relatively stable and hard to change. However, today’s organizations face an unprecedented environment of change and uncertainty.

On the one hand, human race has achieved significant advancement of information technology, communications and of other physical infrastructure. On the other hand, employees are experiencing, across different organizations, an increased interpersonal conflict, perceived injustice, stress, insecurity, unfair practices, perceived bias in decision making and an unhealthy competition. 

Therefore, the benefits of improved technology, finance, and infrastructure and the overall developmental efforts in organizations may not yield desired results. This may lead to lack of motivation and the underutilization of talent at workplace and eventually a deterioration of organizational culture. The organizations may not get the desired performance and outputs due to inappropriate or even dysfunctional cultures. 

In absence of the right workplace environment and culture, the developmental initiatives are not likely to be sustainable. Therefore, it is important that organizations pay attention to the shared values and beliefs of people and invest in creating

the right culture at workplace. Cultural governance has been found to be the new mantra of success1,2. While the concept essentially involves “centrality of culture”; it is not the “governance of culture” but the “governance by culture”.


  2. Rao, I. (2016), When Culture Governs Business Practice: A Look at the Indian Diamond Cutting and Polishing Industry.

Global Business Organizational Excellence, 35: 6–17. doi:10.1002/joe.21666


Courtesy: Kaizen Committee 

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