Workplace culture Section A: Communicating differently in different
This chapter explores how and why people in different workplaces tend to communicate differently. For example, while the employees of a particular workplace usually engage in a lot of small talk including personal topics, at another workplace people may hardly use any small talk, and if they do, this could involve relatively impersonal topics like sport and the weather. Equally, when it comes to decision making, the staff at one workplace may stick very closely to rules, regulations and approved practices while at other workplaces people tend to approach each problem individually, making up the rules as they solve the problems. These distinct ways of doing and saying things are particularly obvious to newcomers or outsiders when they enter a new workplace. People who are new to a work environment often notice how people communicate, dress or behave. For example, they might nd the frequent use of expletives inappropriate, and they might be surprised to see that some people are not wearing shoes in the ofce. An important part of understanding what is going on in a workplace and of becoming a fully integrated member of that workplace involves identifying and learning some of these practices that characterise a particular workplace and that distinguish it from others.