How to Create a Company Culture with Roseto Effect?

21 June 2021 | 2 Minute
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How to Create a Company Culture with Roseto Effect?

If you have come across Gladwell's "Outliers'' book, you may be asking yourself how to develop a company culture similar to Roseto in your organisation, like any human resources professional. Here is Roseto's story for inspiration in creating company culture...

Roseto is a town in America built by Italians who emigrated from Italy in the 1890s with the promise of a new world in great poverty and desperation. The feature of this town that will be the subject of our article is that there were very healthy people in this town, unlike other towns where British or German immigrants lived, which Medical Doctor Stewart Wolf discovered in the 1960s. Not only that, when Wolf, who embarked on very serious research, examined all people between the ages of 20-65 in this town, he found that heart disease was almost nonexistent - which was almost a miracle if we considered that the most important cause of death in those years and the current treatment methods were not available - no suicide, no alcoholism and substance abuse. Also, the crime rate was extremely low.

Dr. Wolf researched the secret of this town for a long time. He first examined nutrition. But this was not the main reason, he saw that people consumed over 40% fat and calorie foods. Cigarette consumption was also high and many people were suffering from obesity. So, it was not different from other towns. Secondly, he focused on genetics and went as far as Italy, finding a similarity in genetic structure and its relatives. But that was not it either. His relatives in Italy, like other towns, had high rates of heart ailments and illnesses. Even when they looked at all causes of death, it was seen that there were at least 30-35% fewer deaths in Roseto. Third, Dr. Wolf wondered if it is a feature of the settlement. But they saw mortality and morbidity rates were high in the towns next to it. In the words of Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the book "Outliers'' that introduced us to Roseto, "The people in this town are just dying of old age." So, what was the secret of this town?

Dr. Wolf realized that the secret was Roseto itself. So, he started to examine Roseto's social structure and culture. He saw that since they were closed to the outside, they met all their needs by themselves and created their own ecosystems. This meant serious work and task sharing. Despite this intensity, that people taking time to chat with each other, mutual aid (there were seen 22 different civic organisations), that three generations living under the same roof, respect for the elderly, the integrative and calming influence of the church as a government, the rich never coming to the fore and that wealth is not being a privilege, an egalitarian philosophy of life closing each other's failures and putting collective success at the forefront... In short, such a culture of trust that nurtures happiness and respect has been created to protect them physically and bodily from the harmful effects of the modern world.

Do you think, is there an organisation, where employees come to work every morning, smile at each other, reveal all the energy of each employee for success, three generations work together with respect and high harmony thanks to employee loyalty, individual success turns into team success, criticism is accepted as a gift and development opportunity. It has become one body for the values and goals of the institution?

Characteristics of Strong Company Culture


Although it is difficult to come across such perfect ones, it is possible to come across teams with a company culture close to Roseto.

  •  Even though people with different personalities and competencies come together, they have strong communication and trust each other,
  •  Having fair and dynamic performance management processes, being managed with goals, such as OKR, which is clear and unites the whole team in common goals,
  •  Using 360 feedback and performance evaluation methods effectively,
  •  The existence of a trust-based, employee-valued and respectful culture,
  •  Selecting employees among the best according to their individual abilities and evaluating them as a team,
  •  Most importantly, the combination of talent, opportunity and a suitable environment for success,

can be given as examples to create a strong company culture.

So how would you use the Roseto effect in creating your own?

Dilek Mete

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