• Organization or Workplace Community?

  • “A community can exist only with a common tradition, common ideas, common ideals and good communication.”          ~Various~

    Shouldn’t a community exist in the workplace?  Good question! What defines a “community?”  We know that a community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, and often have common characteristics or interests.  That sounds like the workplace could have all of the right ingredients, right?  Wrong!  Unfortunately, this is not generally the case in the workplace.

    There are many possible reasons for this.  An organization’s culture, the values, beliefs and norms that shape
    its behavior may be at fault.  In other words, the organization may not place much value on human relationships.

    Perhaps there is too much to do and not enough time.  Whatever the reasons, you can be sure that the organization does not consider building a community as a priority.  Building community in the workplace may sound odd to you at first.  Isn’t a community different from a organization?  The answer is both yes and no!

    Most of us live in some sort of community with the freedom to do as we please within our communities.  We can live where we want to, choose the schools that our children will attend, participate in different religious groups and associate with people who have similar interests and values.  Our places of work may also be situated in the communities in which we live.  The biggest differences between a workplace and a community is the reason for its existence.

    The workplace is where we go to produce a service or product for which we are paid.  Typically there are fewer freedoms in the workplace.  Workplaces are organized in such a way as to “manage” people’s behavior in order to produce goods and services.  In short, an organization has to be economically viable.

    Obviously there are some major differences between a community and a workplace.  But organizations that thrive have learned the importance of valuing people for their unique contributions.  At the same time, they provide opportunities for people to contribute to something greater than themselves.  Perhaps there would be a greater number of thriving organizations if building a community was a part of their operating platform.