One way or another, bad organisational culture costs – possibly big-time – according to Leanne Faraday-Brash in her book Vulture Cultures: How to Stop Them Ravaging Your Organisation’s Performance, People, Profit and Public Image. The book identifies a number of attributes of destructive workplace cultures, encourages an honest appraisal, and gives advice on how to improve culture to enhance opportunities for everyone.
The many ways in which cultural problems in an organisation may arise include through peer groups, job-related selection criteria, unhelpful existing cultural norms, a “the end justifies the means” attitude, poor self-awareness and low accountability, poor management skills, fear of confrontation, and personality disorders. The author provides an extensive inventory which can be used to diagnose cultural problems.
Part 2 of the book discusses the particular cultural problems of corruption, unethical business practices, workplace bullying, discrimination and harassment, and incompetent leadership. Part 3 discusses a range of strategies and techniques for intervening in toxic situations and improving the culture at various different levels within an organisation.
Anyone with a reasonable amount of leadership experience will recognise at least some of the situations described by the author. It takes constant leadership vigilance to maintain a positive organisational culture and keep out the toxic elements which so easily creep in, and this book will provide invaluable assistance for senior managers in assessing the risks and identifying and dealing with cultural issues when they arise.