How NOT to do Anything About Culture in Building and Construction

How NOT to do Anything About Culture in Building and Construction

imageThe recently released Culture Standard for the Construction Industry ( ) is a classic example of how to look like culture is identified and being addressed, when it is not. Here are a few tips to keep up appearances:

  • The first and most important thing when speaking about culture is to not define it.
  • Similarly, one can use the word ‘culture’ but make sure you substitute its meaning for: systems, behaviours, values or psychosocial well-being – which of course are small elements of culture.
  • Once you create the idea that the topic is about culture you then shift any sense of meaning to things like ‘Time of Life’, ‘Well-Being’ and ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion’.
  • Once culture has not been defined then continue to speak about ‘culture’ as if the term has meaning.
  • Then it’s time to address the hidden concerns: economics, performance, psycho-social issues and productivity.
  • Issue standards that relate to the above but make sure that the underlying issues related to culture remain hidden.
  • Make sure the productivity and performance underpin the language of ‘culture’.
  • Frame standards in economic terms.
  • Include charts of economic and productivity performance.
  • Add set photos of people in construction attire, smiling and happy in neat graphic design

Don’t get me wrong, this document has some good things to say about well-being, gender diversity and work-life issues but it says precious little about culture.

Then again when the highest selling product in the safety industry is a product selling checklists called ‘safetyculture’ ( ) what could you expect?

If you want to learn about culture then you can study here:

Download the documents:

  1. Draft Culture Standard: Draft Culture Standard for Construction (1 download)
  2. Cultural Maturity Scorecard: Culture Maturity Scorecard – Consultation Paper (0 downloads)
  3. Fact Sheet: CULTURE STANDARD FACTSHEET (0 downloads)

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