Facilitating a culture change in an organization, both large and small, is a daunting task. The first basic step in this process, to identify the existing culture of the organization, is often the first miscue. This can send the organization down the wrong path from the beginning resulting in wasted time and effort, and causing frustration. EH&S culture is often difficult to correctly determine because the factor of being "politically correct" may cloud the ability to see through facades disguising the true beliefs within the organization.
One of the modern technical definitions of culture, "socially patterned human thoughts and behaviors" shows us that we must identify an organization's true culture through the behaviors and beliefs of all levels of employees. Being able to correctly assess an organization's culture is imperative to understanding what changes must occur in order for the entire organization to progress.
An organization's EH&S program and its culture share a symbiotic relationship. Culture, employee behaviors and beliefs, initially defines the EH&S program or lack there of. The EH&S program, once implemented, will then affect the culture. As the culture changes, this in turn will allow the EH&S program to shift to a level of greater prominence, which will then again affect change in the organization's culture. This process will continue until halted by the culture reaching a point of resistance philosophically in which beliefs and/or behaviors can no longer be changed.