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Culture Clashes at Work – Fact or Fiction?

By July 11, 2019April 20th, 2022No Comments2 min read

I come across a ton of articles about workplace dynamics and how the current rate of unhappiness at work hovers around 70%!

70% – wow!  This means that almost 3 out of 4 workers spend a huge portion of their waking hours, dissatisfied.  Put another way, if you happen to be in the 30%, you’re surrounded by unhappy colleagues.  If you’re in the 70%, it’s a miserable place to be.

unhappyWhat is the source of such massive discontent at work?

According to Inc. magazine, (Dec 2017) there are 10 Science-Backed Reasons You’re Unhappy at Work

  • Your boss. One huge reason for unhappiness at work is your boss. …
  • Your co-workers. We are surrounded by others in our office all day long. …
  • The type of work you are doing. Many do not enjoy the type of work they are doing.
  • Your attitude. …
  • The commute. …
  • Stagnant growth. …
  • Lack of appreciation. …
  • Overworking.
  • Jealousy of your friends.
  • What your company stands for.

As agile practitioners, measurement specialists and IT people (my readers) – I wonder if there is isn’t also a Culture Clash – constantly having to answer questions and explain why we do what we do (5W’s and How about technology) – that contributes to discontent.

I believe that (in most companies), we have a minimum of three distinct cultures at work – (each with its own language, set of goals, and behavioral norms):

  • Business
  • IT (and technology pros)
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • etc.

Geert Hofstede (Software of the Mind, circa 1980’s) developed a model of Cultural Dimensions that delineated National (country specific) Culture in 5 dimensions:

Image result for cultural dimensions

I believe a similar construct could be made to delineate the differences between Workplace Cultures.  We walk around all day speaking the same physical language (English in the US) – yet our work languages are vastly different.


Similar to how countries (and states within many countries) are unique, workplace cultures present unique cultural challenges/opportunities.

What do you think?  Is it research worth pursuing?

I’d love to hear your comments… Carol