Influencing culture – when it’s not ‘our culture’

Across many industries, the concept of safety culture and its importance is becoming widespread and well accepted. Implementation of tools and guidance for the workforce to support culture development is occurring in many different ways, such as through a behaviour standard. However, what happens when the culture you are trying to influence is not within your own organisation?

Many organisations use contractors in conjunction with their workforce to support operations. There is an expectation that the culture of the client is the one that will prevail in the combined workplace. However, each organisation has it’s own culture, it’s own ‘way of doing things around here’ which has developed over time to support their operations and workforce. Trying to merge those cultures on a particular site can present challenges. It may even be the case that it would be detrimental to do so. Instead, the focus should be on finding commonality between cultures that can be used to further strengthen performance.

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It is tempting to view the actions, policies and decisions of others as inferior to our own. But it is crucially important to understand the influences on others before judging the effectiveness of their actions. Therefore, when we want to help to influence the culture of another organisation, our starting point should also be one of understanding their position. From here it is possible to focus on the strengths of each organisation and their associated culture, and developing an integrated approach. The Keil Centre has extensive experience in influencing culture, across various industries and organisations.

For more information on how to influence culture, both within and outside of your organisation, contact Melanie Todd ( or Nicole Gray ( in Australia or in the UK.

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