Definition Edit

Organizational culture refers to the values, beliefs, and norms that influence the behaviors and actions of the senior leaders/executives and individual members of organizations. Culture describes the way things are done in organizations and can explain why certain things occur.

Overview Edit

Risk management Edit

There is a direct relationship between organizational culture and how organizations respond to uncertainties and the potential for near-term benefits to be the source for longer-term losses. The organization's culture informs and even, to perhaps a large degree, defines that organization's risk management strategy. At a minimum, when an expressed risk management strategy is not consistent with that organization's culture, then it is likely that the strategy will be difficult if not impossible to implement. Recognizing and addressing the significant influence culture has on risk-related decisions of senior leaders/executives within organizations can therefore, be key to achieving effective management of risk.

Recognizing the impact from organizational culture on the implementation of an organization-wide risk management program is important as this can reflect a major organizational change. This change must be effectively managed and understanding the culture of an organization plays an important part in achieving such organization-wide change. Implementing an effective risk management program may well represent a significant organization-wide change aligning the people, processes, and culture within the organization with the new or revised organizational goals and objectives, the risk management strategy, and communication mechanisms for sharing risk-related information among entities. To effectively manage such change, organizations include cultural considerations as a fundamental component in their strategic-level thinking and decision-making processes (e.g., developing the risk management strategy). If the senior leaders/executives understand the importance of culture, they have a better chance of achieving the organization's strategic goals and objectives by successfully managing risk.

Culture also impacts the degree of risk being incurred. Culture is reflected in an organization's willingness to adopt new and leading edge [[information technologies]. For example, organizations that are engaged in research and development activities may be more likely to push technological boundaries. Such organizations are more prone to be early adopters of new [technologies]] and therefore, more likely to view the new technologies from the standpoint of the potential benefits achieved versus potential harm from use. In contrast, organizations that are engaged in security- related activities may be more conservative by nature and less likely to push technological boundaries — being more suspicious of the new technologies, especially if provided by some entity with which the organization lacks familiarity and trust. These types of organizations are also less likely to be early adopters of new technologies and would be more inclined to look at the potential harm caused by the adoption of the new technologies.

Another example is that some organizations have a history of developing proprietary software applications and services, or procuring software applications and services solely for their use. These organizations may be reluctant to use externally-provided software applications and services and this reluctance may result in lower risk being incurred. Other organizations may, on the other hand, seek to maximize advantages achieved by modern net-centric architectures (e.g., service-oriented architectures, cloud computing), where hardware, software, and services are typically provided by external organizations. Since organizations typically do not have direct control over assessment, auditing, and oversight activities of external providers, a greater risk might be incurred.