When implementing change, culture plays a pivotal role in how we communicate, train for, and reinforce the changes that are being made. Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in the workplace. Because these shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization — dictating how they dress, act, and perform their jobs — taking culture into account is critical to any change effort.

However, culture manifests itself differently in various parts of an organization. This especially rings true in organizations that are geographically dispersed or operationally siloed, where several variations of the culture may be present. These micro-cultures bear the marks of the broader company culture, but also feature their own sets of norms, beliefs, and behaviors based on their unique experience and surroundings. 

Micro-cultures are expressed in a variety of ways, including varying definitions of the same terminology, different work practices and processes, and diverse attitudes toward leadership or other parts of the organization. Employees can be part of several micro-cultures simultaneously. For example, a member of the project management team who works in a field office may demonstrate behaviors of both sub-groups — approaching her work with the collaborative spirit of the project management team, but also feeling a skepticism toward corporate like her colleagues in the field office.

While micro-cultures add a layer of complexity to your change initiative, they also present an opportunity to interact with your employees in new ways to earn their buy-in by using these strategies: