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6 Organizational culture books to help you deal with the crisis

It’s clear that with the end of the pandemic in sight and glimpses of what the new normal will look like, companies need to tend to their cultures. Some organizational cultures have taken a hit during the pandemic, while others helped build resilience. Whatever the case, moving forward means turning back to core values, strengthening the company’s ties to them, and rebuilding an even stronger culture starting from there. It also means incorporating lessons learned during the pandemic.

Organizational culture is very similar to a growing organism. It needs attention, care, and knowledge to deal with it. The first two are easily accomplished by making a deliberate effort and setting aside the time, but the knowledge comes from research and staying on top of developments in the field.

6 Books about organizational culture to help you navigate the crisis

Here are some top organizational culture books that can help professionals deal with the current crisis:

  1. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

    Powerful by Patty McCord takes a look at the notorious Netflix culture deck – the author is one of its creators. There are great insights into what motivates people to contribute to success and make changes fast enough.

    The manager’s and responsibility for creating a powerful and inventive workplace is discussed at length. One of the most important takeaways of the book is that “Great teams are not created with incentives, procedures, and perks. They are created by hiring talented people who are adults and want nothing more than to tackle a challenge, and then communicating to them, clearly and continuously, about what the challenge is.

    Read more: On cultural profiles and other organizational demons (Part I)

  2. The Culture Blueprint: A Guide to Building the High-Performance Workplace

    The Culture Blueprint by Robert Richman is a comprehensive how-to guide for finding the right building bricks for your organizational culture.

    As a culture strategist and Zappos co-founder, Richman emphasizes the importance of designing a workplace that is attractive to top talent and can motivate and retain these valuable employees.

    A useful formula is presented in this book that helps organizations unveil their core values and gives effective leadership tips for unlocking and harnessing the maximum potential of the workforce.

    Read more: How to build a culture of learning for your team

  3. The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace 

    The Best Place to Work by Ron Friedman takes a scientific approach to building an organizational culture.

    The author demonstrates that “the secret to happy workplaces isn’t spending more money. It’s about creating the conditions that allow employees to do their best work.” Looking at the principles of behavioral economics, neurology, and managerial psychology, Friedman identifies the many ways in which a work environment impacts people’s way of thinking.

    With a good balance of science and anecdotes, the book looks at complex topics such as how office design impacts motivation, hostage negotiation techniques for resolving workplace conflict, and the benefits of rewarding failure.

  4. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

    The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle explores top organizations, both business and non-business, to see the elements that lead to top-notch team spirit and collaboration are.

    The author identifies three essential elements present in all highly successful groups: group safety, sharing vulnerability, and establishing purpose. He then goes on to outline good strategies for inspiring camaraderie, personal growth, and willingness to go through positive changes.

    The book works both for building a new organizational culture and taking the right steps to make an existing one better.

    Read more: Build a connection culture and boost employee engagement

  5. Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

    Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock is based on the author’s personal experience with building an award-winning organizational culture for the tech titan Google.

    As Head of People Operations, he was one of the architects of the legendary workplace many dream to be part of. He showcases some of his personal experiences at Google while also showcasing other relevant success stories. Furthermore, he supports his experiences with behavioral research. Work Rules! is a practical guide for building a work environment that is positive and empowering.

    Read more: How to integrate culture-specific elements in your online courses

  6. The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People Like to Work

    The Culture Question by Randy Grieser, Eric Stutzman and others says that: “Though organizational culture isn’t a physical thing, you feel it every day in the ways you work and engage with others. Culture is represented in the language you use, the stories you tell, and your daily work practices.

    The authors identify six key elements that make for a healthy workplace:

      • communicating purpose and values;
      • providing meaningful work;
      • focusing the leadership team on people;
      • building meaningful relationships;
      • creating top-performing teams;
      • practicing constructive conflict management.

    The book offers useful tips for making these six elements happen and shows how each impacts

    the organization and the people who work there.


Reading these books on company culture will offer you multiple perspectives on an issue that is one of the most relevant in the current circumstances.

They will offer not only good advice but also case studies of past success stories to inspire companies to rethink and rebuild their organizational culture.

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