5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 2: Organizational Culture and Organizational Communications

The second chapter of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide deals with the “ecology” of a project and how it fits into the context of an organization.  The first two topics in the chapter, Organizational Culture and Organizational Communications, are relatively short, and in my experience, do not have as many questions as the subject of Organizational Management (the following topic), but the topics are nonetheless important.

This post will cover them both.

1. Organizational Culture

The organizational structure is to the organizational culture what hardware is to software. The organizational culture is shaped by the common experiences of the members of the organization. As these members become more diversified in terms of what culture they come from, they will end up necessarily affecting the organizational culture. The theme that the 5th Edition stresses is that of globalization or organizational culture.

The organizational culture becomes one of the most common inputs to any project management process in the form of an Enterprise Environmental Factor, or EEF. This topic of an EEF is discussed later in the chapter, but you can see that an organization’s culture or “software” will have an influence on the way a project is done.

In particular, the organization’s culture can include the following

  • Shared visions, mission, values, beliefs, and expectations;
  • Regulations, policies, methods, and procedures;
  • Motivation and reward systems;
  • Risk tolerance;
  • View of leadership, hierarchy, and authority relationships;
  • Code of conduct, work ethic, and work hours; and
  • Operating environments.

2. Organizational Communications

The theme of globalization is also stressed as a factor in organizational communications, along with the increasing importance of electronic communications, including the phenomenon of virtual teams. If you combine international communications and virtual teams, you can have many challenges to an organization’s communications, some of which are addressed in the following post summarizing a webinar put on by the Economist.


Because of the increasing complexity of communications on a project, having a communication plan is more vital than ever, and that is the subject of the Communications Management knowledge area.

Tomorrow’s post will deal with the “hardware” side of organizations, that of organizational structures, and their affect on project management.

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