Collective vs competitive working culture: Find the best culture for your business!

CULTURE is the organisation’s immune system in many aspects and there’s no magic formula for a great company culture than to develop, nature and sustain it. Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company and what differentiates all that is the “culture”.

By Emmanuel Zvada

Companies who ignore issues of culture do so at their peril because the world of business is increasingly becoming unpredictable and what is left for organisations is to focus on building a strong company culture that will pave way for a sustainable competitive advantage.

Organisational culture represents the collective components that are important in sustaining organisational performance and creating an environment which is more productive and conducive to a healthy work environment. Culture refers to the way a group of people thinks, respond to situations and behaves, guided by various norms, values or beliefs. Although there are different cultures in organisations, we have a look at the collective versus the competitive culture.

Collective culture

These cultures normally only allow the same-line of thinking and avoid critics, since they believe in shared or common ideas. The collective culture also allows no room for different ways of thinking and, therefore, hinders innovativeness in organisations.

In such cultures, relationships with other members of the group and the interconnectedness between people play a central role in each person’s identity. If someone in the group deviates from the cultural norm in a collective culture, they are considered to be weak or to have bad character.

This then allows no room for saying “no” to an idea which then distorts the real culture as an engine for driving organisational success. Nevertheless, the idea of saying “no” should not be taken as bad character in an organisation that wants to succeed. It should rather be taken as an opportunity to utilise the idea into something meaningful.

Competitive culture

Contrary to this, organisations that are exponential and wishes to follow the pathway to become among the few blue ocean companies, should uphold a competitive culture. Organisations that stimulate their employees with a clear culture of inventiveness and novelty will definitely reap. Strong organisational culture such as competitive culture supports adaptation and develops an organisation’s employee performance by motivating employees toward a shared goal and objective. This results in shaping and channelling employees’ behaviour toward that specific direction. Competitive culture plays a vital role in performance and innovativeness. Winning cultures treat performance and innovativeness as an overt output and foster an environment that is conducive to generating the best possible result and it’s a gift to know how to create such culture.

First things first, it is very crucial to note that employees are competitive by nature. What may start as an innocent game of competing for best ideas at workplace among co-workers can quickly devolve into best ideas that can help the company and those who sit in strategy meetings. What will be needed is to harness the competitive energy and use it to the company’s advantage

To develop a competitive culture guidance is needed and this is when we set parameters for workplace competition so as to guarantee a fair fight and ensure overall company goals are not overlooked in the competitive excitement. By this we ensure that overall objectives and vision for the company is not overlooked at the same time maintaining an entrepreneurial and competitive spirit.

Inspiring people is also crucial in creating a competitive culture, let’s bundle competition with at least a small token of achievement when the idea is brilliant this will act as a stimulant to employees. Culture is about performance, and making people feel good about how they contribute to the whole organisation. If we reward them both monetarily and verbally it will make them fill appreciated for the extra effort to think outside the boxes for the good the company.

Spinoffs of competitive culture

Evidence shows that organisations that have strong competitive cultures are capable of increasing revenue, profitability and shareholder value along with standing the test of time in terms of competition. Similarly, organisations with feeble cultures find it difficult to change and adapt to market demands. Competitive culture, therefore, plays an important role in creating an environment that enables learning and innovative response to challenges, competitive threats, or new opportunities.

Creativity and innovation also activate the performance of employees and it will be facilitated by competitive culture. This type of culture lies at the heart of organisational norms and will reflect the influence on creativity and innovation, therefore, improving performance, productivity and profitability.

Patience is a virtue

No organisational culture is formed in a single day. In order to keep the organisational culture alive, the organisation has to ensure that its culture is transmitted to members.

An employee can find it difficult to implement new ideas, concepts and innovation in a culture which is not inflexible.

For him/her the culture becomes a limitation, where s/he has to work as per the set guidelines and predefined policies, because the competitive culture provides room for that.

Emmanuel Zvada writes in his own capacity he is a human capital consultant / international recruitment expert and author: For comments inbox to emmanuelzvada@webmail.co.za or call +263771467441.

1 Comment

  1. great article man, keep up the good work

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