A STRONG organizational culture is said to exist where the staff responds to stimulus because of their alignment to organizational values. In this kind of culture, people will do things because they believe that it is the right thing to do.

On the other hand, there is a weak culture in place where there is little alignment with organizational values and control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy. This is kind of culture is also associated with negative culture.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Organizational culture is a very broad subject that can reflect many facets of human behavior inside the organization. We will focus on the culture of executives and managers doing the daily operations of business because they are leaders who define and shape the culture of the organization as observed by their employees.

I remember working with a medium size company outside the country in the 1990s where most of our autocratic managers would just eliminate staff they do not like or whom they think threatens them. I just finished my contract and left the organization for good because top management closed the door for new ideas to change things that can lead to innovation and ultimately benefits the whole organization. They believe that the "status quo" is still better to improve productivity despite the fact that their net income for the last three years were flat - which I attributed to some structural defects caused by the existence of a negative culture that eclipsed the whole organization.

As business leaders you should watch out for the very first sign of a negative culture in your organization before it escalates to a bigger problem. For instance, if you have an insecure manager who will sometimes try to eliminate his/her staff for the simple reason that they seem to have a different viewpoint from him/her even though the latter can be very competent, talented or even loyal employees. However, this scenario is just a tip of an iceberg. What is very frightening is when an insecure manager would get rid of a talented and honest employee whom they perceive as a threat to discover some anomalous transaction that has been going on for a long time and worse if the anomaly has also benefited other managers whom I'm sure would connive to eliminate the threat.

In the book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", there are three cultural levels of manager: the "dependent", "independent" and "interdependent".

The dependent manager is the one who often blames people if anything goes wrong. On the other hand, the independent manager will often use languages that show that he does not need the employee. Words like, "I don't need you" or "take it or leave it." This level shows that a manager has acquired the independent level of maturity, but still has not reached the interdependent level.

Very often, it is difficult for an insecure manager to move from an "independent" to an "interdependent" level of maturity, because it involves personal character building and the ability to let go. That's where the problem starts. The manager feels insecure and any opposition from his subordinates is deemed a threat to his authority.

What the insecure manager wants are the "yes-men" in his department and that nobody dares question his/her authority even though sometimes these are flawed. When these poor employees falls to the trap of accepting this negative culture for fear of losing their job, they will never answer back or give any problems, and even produce reports that cleverly show the upbeat performances of the department while hiding the highly critical negative true situations.

Company owners should have the business acumen to determine who are these managers running your business that exemplify a negative culture towards the employees because this would surely reduce the competitiveness of your company and I'm sure not for so long, you will encounter financial losses.

(The writer is the CEO of Human Potential Management Consultancy who helps companies achieved their mission and goals. You may contact him at cell No. 09266468591 and email: archietim@yahoo.com)