Topic: Organizational Climate and Organizational Culture

Author(s), Title and Publication

Schneider, B., Gunnarson, S. K., & Niles-Jolly, K. (1994). Creating the Climate and Culture of Success. Organizational Dynamics, 23(1), 17-29.


This essay examined management values that must be adhered to by employees for organizational effectiveness. Climate is employees’ perceived atmosphere that is created within their organization by executives’ behavior (e.g., encouraging innovation), and the actions rewarded. Culture refers to an organization’s values and beliefs. Culture stems from employees’ observations of management’s behavior, and interpretations of the values that produce the climate. This paper suggested that successful organizations usually make their employees perceive management values about innovation, excellent customer service, and citizenship behavior.

In highly innovative organizations, top management commits emotional and financial support to innovation; ensures there is a market for the planned innovation; has all levels of the organization support the planned innovation; evaluates the innovation with small steps and makes necessary adjustments before implementation. Employees perceive the organizational culture (or values) as success in the marketplace that comes from complete knowledge of the user; decisions are based on information rather than power; and progress comes one step at a time.

Organizations that deliver high quality service promote employee well-being and a sense of community are concerned with both retaining current customers and attracting new ones,  and they pay attention to details (e.g., employee training and resources availability). In this climate, employees are likely to understand that people (both customers and employees) are the key to success; employees have a tendency to treat others as they have been treated, and little things count.

The authors also suggested key issues related to organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), or employees’ supportive behaviors to their organization. A climate of good citizenship might be created when management is perceived to be fair and just, is willing to cooperate with and help employees, and rewards employees for their broad contributions (e.g., loyalty, tenure, and creativity) rather than job-specific performance. Based on this climate, the employer-employee relationship is two-way relationship, and earning employees’ trust is essential for the employer. In addition, leaders must do the same things that they expect from subordinates.

Implications for Practice

To create a climate and culture like the one mentioned in this essay, management could 1) recruit and select employees who are innovative, tend to treat customers as a family if they are treated well by the organization, and tend to cooperate with others, and work for the organization’s benefit; 2) emphasize the priorities in orientation and training programs; 3) reinforce employees’ impressions of the priorities with formal and informal rewards; and 4) provide sufficient resources to accomplish tasks.

Location of Article

The article is available online at: (purchase full article)


Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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