The organizational climate is the general set of attitudes that the members of an organization, especially its management, have. These attitudes can affect decision-making and member satisfaction with the organization. Organizational climate concepts apply to businesses, nonprofit organizations, clubs and any other situation where groups of people gather for a common purpose.
Each organizational climate has its own attitude towards diversity, either positive, negative or somewhere between. Ideally, all organizational climates should have a positive attitude toward diversity. Organizations should not discriminate against people based on race, religion or gender.
Centralized or Decentralized
Organizational climates are either centralized and hierarchical or decentralized. Centralized organizations give certain individuals power over others. Decentralized organizational cultures have authority spread out between different members.
As workers become more specialized, they need more autonomy and self-regulation, since authority figures will not always have the knowledge necessary to manage more sophisticated tasks. However, workers have more responsibilities placed on them in decentralized organizations than in centralized organizations, since they mainly decide which actions they will take, not the superiors.
Formal or Informal
The climate can have a more formal or informal structure. Formalized structures have standardized rules about how workers carry out activities in the organization, while less formalized structures give members the freedom to engage in alternative solutions to problems, with members having more freedom.
The level of social interaction in an organizational climate influences how innovative and cooperative the climate is, according to Chung-Jen Chen and Jing-Wen Huang in the International Journal of Information Management. Some organizational climates are more teamwork-oriented, while other organizational climates have isolated members operating on their own. Teamwork-oriented climates are more supportive.
Integration is the extent to where the subdivisions of the organization work together. Organizations that are highly integrated have more opportunities for the members to work together, share information, learn from each other, solve problems and identify potential problems that other members miss.
Organizations vary in the extent to which the members feel like they have control over themselves and the organization. Some organizational climates have a high degree of stress, which increases the chances that members will experience burnout and increases the rate at which members leave due to low satisfaction with the organization. Workers experience burnout when they feel exhausted both emotionally and with their work.
- University of Maryland; Libraries' Organizational Climate and Culture Survey; Paul J. Hange et al; January 2005
- NOVA Southeastern University; How Organizational Climate and Structure Affect Knowledge Management — The Social Interaction Perspective; Chung-Jen Chen; 2007
- University at Albany; Organizational Climate and Burnout: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach; Eunju Lee et al.; 2009
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