The concept of organizational climate was popularized by Litwin and Stringer in 1968, and is defined as a combination of measurable elements of the perceived workplace environment, that is created by and directly or indirectly affects or influences people who work or interact within this workplace, in a way that motivates or demotivates their performance and productivity. Simply put, it is the nature of a workplace. AIHR defines organizational climate as an employee’s long-lasting perception of the workplace.
Key components of an organizational climate include:
These components seem to have a common meaning in scope, but have some separation when analyzed in-depth on the basis of their impact and applicability in an organization. They include;
- Management orientation/ style
This refers to whether the dominant style of management is task-oriented or relations-oriented. Some organizations have democratic leadership systels, others have autocratic, authoritarian and even authoritative styles, all of which have a variety of impact on workplace relationships.
- Interpersonal interactions
The nature of relationships among employees is also an important indicator and component of an organization’s climate. Organizations with favorable climatic conditions try to foster cohesion and collaboration among people in order to leverage diversity and inclusion.
- Type of leadership structure
Some organizations promote centralized systems that see superiors give commands and orders to subordinates, while others create a more open structure where authority is decentralized, increasing engagement, participation and loyalty among subordinates.
- Concern for employees
An organization creates an environment that supports a certain concern it would like to foster among its employees. If an organization wants to foster creativity, it will create an environment of free-thinking, effective communication and collaboration, if an organization wants to foster leadership among employees, it will create an environment of delegation and decentralization.
- Degree of trust and control
Some organizations have tight, centralized and rigid control systems with little levels of trust for individual employees, a climate that deters growth, while others are more open, decentralized and flexible, with high levels of trust for individual employees.
- Individual freedom
Some organizations choose to give employees autonomy to act in the best professional and ethical manner they deem best, while others maintain rigid systems that prohibit deviation from predetermined standard operating procedures.
Some organizations take great risks while others don’t. When organizational leaders are risk takers, they promote that culture among employees, which encourages employees to try new ideas without fearing, hence promoting innovation and creativity. Other workplaces prohibit risk taking, which curtails innovation and creativity for fear that should something not work, or go wrong, the employees would pay dearly.
- Appraisal/ Reward system
This refers to how organizations reward and recognize their employees for work well done. For example, some organizations throw parties, give trophies, salary and allowance increases among others benefits, while others don’t reward or recognize work well done, which can be demotivating for employees.
- Conflict resolution
In a workplace where more than one person is working, it is impractical to assume there will be no conflict. However, the manner in which those conflicts are resolved is what defines a great or bad workplace. Great workplaces resolve conflicts amicably while terrible workplaces ignore and even unfairly resolve conflicts.
All great workplaces have at least one thing in common, an excellent organizational culture/ climate. Make no mistake, organizational climate is not something you can build overnight, it is just like character, it takes time, but the little progress made every day counts a lot towards the overall climate. We hope you now have a hang of what organizational climate is all about and are ready to start cultivating your positive organizational climate.