The Risks in Maintaining an Unresponsive Organisational Culture

As we have already indicated in an earlier article, corporate culture often develops over a period of time, virtually unwittingly and without any real strategy. One of the principal drawbacks of this type of disorganised culture acquisition is that it will almost certainly lack what is considered to be one of the most crucial components of a successful organisation – responsiveness – and in this article we look at some of the organisational deficits that are likely to be apparent in a business that has developed such an unresponsive culture. This is best evidenced in the manner in which the organisation relates to its workforce.

“The Organisation is only Interested in Profit”

When it comes to building and maintaining a highly skilled and motivated workforce it is essential that an organisation adopts an inspirational, responsive culture which places its personnel and their well being above the desire to make a profit. The failure to adopt this responsive value-base is likely to result in a disengaged workforce. People are not driven by profit; they are driven by a sense of purpose in the contribution of their role towards organisational success. if internal and external perception that profit is the only important item on the organisational agenda, inevitably the result will be a difficulty in attracting and retaining the quality of personnel who will be prepared to subordinate their own interests to the overall good of the business.

“The Organisation has no Transparency”

Another sterling feature of a responsive operation is the manner in which it includes its workforce in all aspects of the organisation’s operations. Sharing knowledge with the personnel regarding performance, resources, goals, incentives and forward planning will engender a sense of shared ownership. Failure to adopt this changing mind-set is likely to have the opposite effect and to alienate the workforce from making what might be valuable contributions to the shared business vision.

“The Organisational has a Pecking Order”

Another major cause of alienation among the workforce is where there is a genuine (and justified) perception that any views, thoughts, fears, concerns, ideas and contributions concerning the business are considered valid only if they come from more senior members of staff. The existence of this type of hierarchical culture risks estranging more junior staff members, creating an aura of disunity and discouraging what might be invaluable input into the operation of the business.

“The Individual Doesn’t Matter”

Whilst the development of team-based goals and targets is invaluable, this should not completely undermine the importance of enabling individual attainment. Competition between individual members of a team can be positive if it is balanced correctly against the overall health of the business. Removing any reference to the valuation of individual achievement, on the other hand, may represent a disincentive to aspiring individuals who want their personal contributions to achieving the organisation’s vision to be appropriately recognised.

“The Workplace is Stagnant”

It can be difficult to achieve a fluid, dynamic and adaptable workforce in premises that are constructed in the stereotypical static model. Whilst there are likely to be certain physical constraints, if a more responsive environment can be achieved it is likely to encourage the responsive inter-relationships referred to above. Maintaining the typical, static and stagnant structure, where staff, managers and owners are isolated from one another is likely to maintain more than simply a physical separation!


The potential disadvantages of failing to make these changes are all too obvious. What will remain is an organisation whose relationship with its workforce is marked by confusion and a lack of responsiveness which renders it unable to properly develop, expand and sustain itself throughout its corporate existence. Responsive organisations are those that are successful today and prepared for a changing future.

Article written by Mark Edwards
Marketing Director, Adcurata Limited

Other articles in this series:
Changing an Organisation’s Corporate Culture
The Best Way to Unearth Your Corporate Culture

Responsive organisation, business reacting quickly, business reacting positively, adcurata, responsive business

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