Monday, September 10, 2007

Fitting into a work regime (culture)

I remember how must of the participants were a bit taken aback when speaker after speaker emphasized the importance of fitting into the culture of a work place. After all, we are all individuals and want to be recognized as such.

I can see why indeed this is so important. In order to work well, to show up at work every day in a good mood and motivated in order to be productive, you need to feel in sink with your work environment. If you rub yourself all day against how people think and do things, you will not enjoy yourself, the work you do and it will show. Yet, the questions remains: how far can you go to fit in?

This insistence on fitting into a work-culture is perhaps more of a problem in South Africa than anywhere else around the globe as apartheid has separated people by force into different 'cultures', all deemed incompatible. Rather than fitting in, South Africans would demand respect for cultures and their particularities.

3 comments:

Susan Arthur said...

Thomas - I think the post I just wrote is
I think it's important to remember that (at least in a small office like mine - of 20 ppl) how you behave also influences the work culture - even if it can't change it completely. A work culture is determined by the people who work there.
I think it's important to fit in but not to try so hard to do this that you sacrifice your own happiness/ integrity. Read my post and let me know what you think.
Glad to know you are not dead yet!

Adam N. Mukendi said...

Nice point Thomas,
I have spent few weeks in a company where 98 percent of employees are white. As to acknowledge the impact of history in this country there is a notice facing the front door which says “the better employees are happy to be in this place more our clients will be amazed by our services –lets show gratitude to one another no matter our differences”. This thought says it all. The company’s website has pictures of all employees smiling for a reason. I never worked with people so friendly. From within I have noticed the management efforts to sink everyone in the work environment as you said. For example the company is sponsoring an intern team for the bed race challenge. I am sure that the company does get back what it invests in this funny race by other means such as productivity.
But from a traditionalist point of view, I think that through fitting efforts some may feel as if they are melting in. Everyone is not from the same moral philosophy-However the interest of organisation should prevail.
Thanks

Adam

themba nyauza said...

Well said Tomma,
I think the South African public is skating on a rather thin ice on this point- "culture". For starters, I am a xhosa but birth and therefore, it is being argued, I am culturally different form, say your Zulu, Sotho,Tswana,Venda, Pedi...etc.When I am in a group of these specific "cultural gropups" I am being consciously made to feel different and made believe that I am different. This applies across the board to all racial groups. What I call the "white - black-Indian cultural conundrum".My main point is that I hate to be pigeon-holed. It irks me.