Organizational culture is difficult to define and to measure. Broadly speaking, it refers to a system of values and beliefs shared by members of a particular group.
Where organizational culture is found wanting organizations perform at less than optimum levels. Worse, it can herald a fertile breeding ground for unethical behavior and corruption. If this occurs, the quality of public services is diminished, and managerial skills and careful policy making is undermined.
An organization’s culture underlies behavior and can dictate how its members, both at the employee and supervisor levels, approach decision making and respond to the daily challenges of work. Culture plays a particularly important role in relation to unsupervised conduct, or when decisions are made in “grey areas” not covered by the codified policies and procedures of an institution. In this way, building a strong, ethical, organizational culture can help public institutions prevent corruption by influencing the way staff conduct themselves, make decisions, and exercise discretion.
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Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, "Improving Organizational Culture: How Public Institutions Can Promote Integrity and Prevent Corruption" (2017). Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (Inactive). 52.