Common organizational culture challenges in the Philippines that can be addressed by Team Building
Each organization has its own unique culture, given its unique mix of people, structure, and business
practices. But there are some cultural characteristics that are common among many companies and a
number of these characteristics can cause challenges in the workplace and hinder the organization’s ability
to reach its full potential.
Here are some common organizational culture challenges in Philippine companies and how team building
activities can address or alleviate them.
Fear of authority
Most Filipinos grow up being taught to respect authority. In general, this works because authority figures
are usually older and more experienced. However, this can be detrimental in a business environment
when employees fear their bosses and are afraid to speak up, even if the boss encourages them to do so.
Team building can alleviate this when the boss and the employees engage in activities together and form a
personal bond. Sometimes people just need to interact with the boss outside of the office in order to
become comfortable with him or her.
Working in silos
Many organizations are structured in a way that departments or business units operate so independently of
each other that their respective people hardly interact. Sometimes this is because their functions are very
different, such as revenue-earning sales teams and administrative groups like HR and accounting, for
example. Sometimes this is because the leaders of these units don’t work well together and this trickles
down to their people.
Team building addresses this by allowing people to connect directly with each other outside of the walls
of the office and the company structure. This allows them to get to know people in other departments,
building up a network of internal contacts. This also allows unit heads to interact on a more personal level
and may lead to a better working relationship back at the office.
Lack of communication
Similar to working in silos above, many organizations have a challenge with lack of communication, where
employees just do their work with little coordination with others in the same organization. This is either
due to myopia or selfishness, and can lead to confusion or chaos in the workplace.
Team building naturally addresses this by getting people together and forcing them to act as a group. This
encourages people to be aware of the need to coordinate with others. No teamwork is possible without
communication, after all.
“Puwede na yan”
Many Filipinos have a habit of using the phrase “puwede na yan,” which means settling for mediocrity.
Brought to the workplace, this results in many employees being lazy and doing mediocre work,
considering it good enough, instead of striving for quality work.
Team building can address this by encouraging employees to do their best during activities that simulate
some of the challenges they encounter at work. These activities emphasize both speed and quality. And
working together as a team, quality work is ensured by the group and mediocrity is not accepted by the
All work and no play
Some companies are run very traditionally, with strict policies and very little attention paid to the people
aspect of the business. In such an organization, employees can feel like their being treated like assets and
not as human beings with feelings and non-work-related concerns.
Team building addresses this by taking employees out of the office and letting them have fun. Since this
is at the company’s expense, this is a way to show that it cares for its employees and it cares about them
working better together. This is even more effective if the bosses participate and show a willingness to
have fun with their people too.