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Corporate culture is the environment that surrounds you at work all of the time. It is a powerful element that shapes your work enjoyment, your work relationships, and your work processes. But, corporate culture in general and Egyptian corporate culture in particular is something that you cannot actually see, except through its physical manifestations in your work place. In many ways, culture is like personality. In a person, the personality is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, interests, experiences, upbringing, and habits that create a person’s behavior.
An organization’s corporate culture is made up of all of the life experiences each employee brings to the organization. It is especially influenced by the organization’s founder, executives, and other managerial staff because of their role in decision making and strategic direction.
The above outlines and defines corporate culture in general. However, defining a particular corporate culture for your own employer embraces a higher level of detail orientation and understanding. Especially when the corporate culture under question is an Egyptian corporate culture as manifested in our beliefs, traditions, management tendencies and deeply rooted employer- specific unique foundations. In addition, Egyptian corporate culture exists within multinational organizations based inEgyptnotwithstanding the geographical origin of the business or promoted products and services. The Egyptian corporate culture is an encrypted code, to be able to unlock this code, there are tools and signs to look out for and analyze. The question is you are probably asking is:
Why would I be keen and willing to unveil my employer’s corporate culture?
Getting yourself acquainted with your employer’s corporate culture shall pave your way for a healthier work environment and a more elevated morale. More often than not, conflicts appear and arise due to the fact that an employee may not be able to interpret the underlying concepts and values formulating the basis of the employer’s atmosphere. Absorbing your employer’s culture shall further contribute to your overall career experience and reduce turnover and/or absenteeism issues. You can start revealing the corporate culture within your employer primarily by scanning the following arenas: managerial hierarchy, career opportunities and employee involvement.
An employer’s managerial hierarchy is the way the organizational structure is set up in terms of direct and matrix reports. This is manifested in who reports to whom and who manages which function. In organizations based inEgypt or managed by an Egyptian management team, the tendency would be to further stress on the hierarchy and mark the levels within the structure of the employer. Perhaps in some occurrences the manager/subordinate relationship will manifest the hierarchal space intended to separate between the manager and his/her subordinates. In some institutions, the subordinates hardly ever get a chance to sit down or meet with their manager. In which case, the culture of the employer states that the subordinate maintains the space allocated to be setting manager and subordinates apart is larger than other employers. This would mean that you need to understand that the way the structure has been set up has been agreed upon for a reason and not to challenge the status quo and end up causing conflicts for yourself of you colleagues. In some other institutions, the subordinates maintain an open line for conversation and a possibility to sit down and meet on weekly basis with their manager. Consequently, in this culture, you are encouraged to constantly cultivate an open channel of communication between your manager and yourself. Take some time to meet regularly with your manager and discuss work related issues that may come to your mind. However, this does not necessarily mean that the above mentioned cases are under a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ scenario. This just paves the communication process foundation for that particular employer and how the hierarchal structures are set up. If you are in either situation or feel that you cannot perform your work duties efficiently, perhaps your best potential will be utilized with another employer. It has been registered via known statistics that more than 85% of managers believe employees leave because they have been pulled away by “more pay” or “better opportunity.” Yet, more than 80 percent of employees say it was “push” factors related to poor management practices or toxic cultures that drove them out.
Career opportunities and employee involvement are another two factors that highly contribute to formulating our Egyptian corporate culture. Some organizations make career related decisions merely on employee’s total years of experience and educational backgrounds. In that case, there would be a pre-set time frame for the employee to move from level 1 to level 2 and level 2 to level 3, etc. Other employers bear in mind the employee performance in addition to employee’s own career preferences (employee involvement in the career progression process). Both cases are available within Egyptian corporate cultures whether for local or multinational organizations. The key is to observe closely the career paths of those who have been with the company for a while and how they talk about the steps that they have climbed in their career ladder. This would give you a better insight on the inner workings of the company’s career development and employee involvement frameworks. Again, the purpose of this insight is not to charge an employer guilty and prove an employer superior. The purpose of this differentiation is to see where you stand to be able to determine the next step for you and whether it is within the current institution or elsewhere. Nevertheless, bear in mind that your career development is your job as much as it is your manager’s concern. According to a recent survey conducted by MRINetwork, the world’s largest search and recruitment organization, 69 percent of the respondents reported meeting with their bosses only once a year to discuss their careers. Of the 2,100 people who participated in the survey, only 15 percent had meetings every three months and 16 percent every six months.
Multinational, local, big, small organizations, all products and services as well as geographical locations only participate in formulating a part of the employer’s corporate culture. Corporate culture should not be confused with the corporate mission. The Egyptian corporate culture is not how ‘things are meant to be done’ and rather how ‘things are actually done’. I hope you now have enough clues to be able to break the code and resolve any conflicts you might face!
Human Resources Development Specialist