Analyzing a Workplace Culture Essay

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Organizational Culture of NYU Langone Medical Center

As a non-traditional volunteer intern at NYU Langone Medical Center from September to December 2016, I obtained a first-hand look at the organization's culture. My objective as a student intern was to develop my communication and problem-solving skills by shadowing various employees at the center and performing tasks appropriate to my skill-level and background. What I discerned in terms of workplace culture came by way of conversations with employees at Langone, observations of interactions among staff and supervisors, documents like the employee hand book and physical artifacts -- like the promotion of the NYU logo on merchandise almost everywhere one looked. In this paper, I will provide an analysis of the culture at NYU Langone Medical Center and explain why the organization's culture supports organizational goals and the well-being, morale, and productivity of individual employees.

Langone's Culture

The organizational goals of Langone Medical Center are "to serve, teach, and discover" (Our Leadership, 2015). The values of the employees with whom I came into contact are appeared in line with these objectives. I shadowed several persons throughout my fifteen week internship and every one of them embodied these values: they communicated the importance of serving others in their actions, always putting others first and giving people their time; they greeted me warmly and made me feel welcomed; the furniture where I was stationed the longest (during the database entering phase, which lasted two weeks) was arranged neatly and professionally, promoting the idea of orderliness, dutifulness, and studiousness); and on the desks, doors and walls of the rooms I visited were a wide array of images and slogans -- from family pictures to ideals that the individual who posted it wanted to share with others.

In all, the atmosphere of NYU Langone Medical Center was fair, welcoming, upbeat, positive, ordered, and professional. While I was never formally admitted as a "team player" or assigned to a unit with fully-functioning duties, I observed that all the employees I shadowed were very knowledgeable about their roles and willing to share their knowledge and experiences, generally speaking. The workers were obviously proud of their organization and believed NYU to be the best place to work, which is something that often stated.
There was a clear sense of love and affection on the part of the staff for the organization, which to me indicated that the organizational culture was succeeded in effecting high morale among the staff and was meeting its objectives (if it was not, staff members would have been less effusive in their praise of BYU).

Everyone seemed to wear the NYU logo everywhere I looked, which gave a real feeling of solidarity, uniformity, and team spirit. People looked like they were proud and happy to be part of the organizational culture and wanted to show their support by wearing clothing that promoted the school and center's identity via the logo. Other places of employment would no doubt love to have the kind of devotion and support from workers that Langone had.

The Distribution of Power

Power and authority are distributed through the medical center in a hierarchical fashion, yet there is a sense both of a centralized authority that oversees various departments and independent authority within various operations and units, where smaller teams and workgroups focus on specific activities. I observed that these teams and workgroups were highly motivated and accountable to a team leader, who was mostly there in the same way a coach might be there for a team: he or she is supportive of team players and provides motivation and insight -- but every coach is different, some calling plays more than others. These managers were also responsible for describing the outcomes of various projects, but there was no indication of micro-managing occurring anywhere I went. Centralized authority was not evident on the surface but rather sensed in much subtler way, as though it existed behind the scenes and acted only in an oversight manner and not in a punitive or dictatorial manner. The culture of the groups and units was positive everywhere I went and no one expressed any frustration with the group, team, unit or activities that they were engaged with. Everyone seemed satisfied with the work and happy to have it….....

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Our Leadership. (2015). NYU Langone. Retrieved from

Watkins, M. (2013). What is organizational culture? And why should we care? Harvard Business Review: 1-5.

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