Creating a culture


LOL and OMG were added to the Oxford English Dictionary at the end of last month. This move has not been popular with everyone. It does prove however that these terms are commonly used and understood. Although originally used mainly in electronic communications, LOL and OMG now regularly occur in spoken language. The initials LOL were first used in an email in the 1980s in response to a joke. It is not only young people using these terms. According to Marie Clair of the Plain English Campaign 'There is a worrying trend for adults mimicking teen-speak'. While some people shun changes to the English language, others embrace these variations. Tony Thorne, author of the Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, goes into schools to record the slang words being used…like 'lolcano' (an eruption of laughter). He says 'If you talk to the kids they will say this is our language – this is what identifies us.' Language is constantly evolving and developing and the use of terms like LOL, FYI and OMG are clearly becoming part of our culture. (BBC News 8th April 2011)

Just like different countries have their own cultures, defined by sets of beliefs, traditions, behaviours and attitudes, so too do organisations. Sometimes the culture of an organisation develops over time. Other times there is an intentional move to change or to shape organisational culture. Virgin Trains has a vision 'To become the most safe, consistent, reliable and profitable of the train operating franchises in a climate that respects different views and people need not be afraid to be open and honest'. For this vision to become a reality it needs to be part of every aspect of work – it has to become part of the culture. In order to ensure this happens, a range of activities are provided. These include vision workshops, reward and recognition policies and learning and development opportunities. Through Virgin Train's new culture of participation, both employees and passengers benefit, with the result being improved customer service ratings, fewer complaints and lower staff turnover.

1.Define the term Vision.
2.Explain why it is important for organisations to have a vision.
3.Write a vision for an organisation with which you are involved e.g. sports club, school, drama club.

1. A vision is a motivating summary of what an organisations hopes or intends to achieve.
2.Answers may include:

  • To form the basis for organisational objectives
  • To give direction for future activities or changes
  • To motivate workers
  • To demonstrate to customers what the organisation stands for