Week One: How Gov't Organizations Serve Society

1.4 External and Internal Cultures in Public Organizations

External culture can be described as the particular environment in which a public organization serves. It varies a great deal, depending on the setting. For instance, a sheriff's department in rural, southwest Colorado exists in an environment that is much different than the police department in Los Angeles. These examples illustrate how a public service organization might be viewed differently by the society they are serving, depending on the external culture.

The internal culture of an organization serves to express the values, beliefs and assumptions that guide member's behaviors. Internal culture is affected by the external culture and by the events that shape member's opinions. A sheriff's department in Colorado might have an internal culture based on pride and the well wishes of the public while there may be an atmosphere of confrontation in the police department in Los Angeles.

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