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What Is the Relationship between Organizational Culture and Innovation?

Esther Ejim
Esther Ejim

Organizational culture and innovation refer to the way in which an organization can utilize innovation and creativity to make itself more relevant and in tune to the needs of its customers and the ever-evolving market. Running a successful organization is not just about the internal structure of the organization; it also necessarily involves the external environment within which the organization must function. To this end, the organization must look for ways in which it can effectively deliver its services to the consumers, which is where inventiveness comes into play.

An organization that refuses to grow or respond to changes in the culture and habits of the environment in which it is operating will soon be phased out by more inventive and culturally progressive organizations. For instance, with the advent of the Internet, record companies realized that they had to tap into the culture where most people now looked to the Internet as a source of acquiring new music as opposed to shopping in music stores. Most record companies tried to fight those innovative entrepreneurs who saw this need created by the culture and tapped into it. These organizations soon realized that they were fighting a losing battle because they could not change the culture.

Expectations for employee behavior are an aspect of corporate culture that can either foster or hinder creativity.
Expectations for employee behavior are an aspect of corporate culture that can either foster or hinder creativity.

In order for such companies to survive, they had to adapt to the changing culture by coming up with innovative ways in which to market their products. This led to official online record stores where people could download music by their favorite artists. The innovation is such that fans can either purchase one favorite song or the whole record. Even this is an innovation from a period when people had to buy the whole record just to listen to one favorite song.

Such organizational culture and innovation is necessary if organizations are to succeed in a competitive market. The success of organizational culture and innovation in any organization is often dependent on good management. Good leaders are essential in the quest for organizational creativeness and innovation. A good leader is open-minded, dynamic, visionary, charismatic and intelligent. This leader uses his or her talents to inspire and stimulate the employees in an organization to come up with inventive ideas in line with the goals of the organization.

Organizational culture and innovation sometimes means pushing barriers in an effort to anticipate the needs of the market in line with an expected shift in culture. This involves actively searching for new opportunities in the market and experimenting with new concepts. It may even mean taking some measure of calculated risks in order to emerge as pacesetters in the competitive market.

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Discussion Comments


I'm not sure if innovation is good or bad. It's good in the sense that it can make an organization's operations easier, faster and more efficient. But on the other hand, it requires more investment, it's costly to adapt to innovation. The organization has to buy more equipment, it has to invest in software and various systems. Then, it has to train its staff to use those systems. And technology is moving so fast these days that there is always something new to adapt to.


@ZipLine-- Government agencies are bureaucracies. So they are more rigid and generally have a harder time changing that private corporation. But this doesn't mean that innovation has no place in government. Even government has to keep up with technological developments in order to function. All government systems now use information technology and communications technology. So they are definitely taking advantage of innovation, not only to keep up, but also to make their work more efficient.

There is something called "e-government" now. This term basically refers to the government using innovations like email, internet websites and networks to send information between agencies, as well as between the government and the public.

So innovation is necessary for every organization, whether it's public or private. Organizational culture has to be welcoming to innovation. There is no other choice, like the article said.


It's funny how some government organizations survive even though they are not very innovative. Private businesses that refuse to adapt to change never make it.

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    • Expectations for employee behavior are an aspect of corporate culture that can either foster or hinder creativity.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Expectations for employee behavior are an aspect of corporate culture that can either foster or hinder creativity.