Tip of the Week: Organizational Culture is Essential to a Successful Pharmacy


Promoting a positive organizational culture is an essential requirement for the effective management of a community pharmacy.

Traveling to a faraway country and observing significant cultural differences can be an awe-inspiring experience. Upon further contemplation and reflection, it becomes apparent that even small cultural differences can lead to noteworthy changes in how a society functions. But how about an organization? Whether at an organizational or societal level, culture is an overarching and encompassing blanket that defines and affects behaviors and outcomes.

Rosenthal and Holmes assessed the relationship between the professional culture of community pharmacies and the implementation of MTM services.1 This study, which employed a nationwide sample of pharmacies responding to a survey, demonstrated a significant relationship between the provision of MTM services (immunizations, medication therapy reviews, disease management, etc.) and 6 organizational culture factors: social responsibility, innovation, people orientation, competitiveness, attention to detail, and reward orientation.

Reward orientation refers to the culture at a given organization that emphasizes achievement through rewarding employees. Although terms like competitiveness and innovation have generally broad meanings, in essence, they are referring to how a pharmacy stands out from competition and how certain programs such as service for minor ailments, making therapeutic substitutions, and medication optimization can help transform the role of community pharmacy.

Promoting a positive organizational culture is an essential requirement for the effective management of a community pharmacy. By establishing a positive work culture, you not only can transform your work environment to be a more desirable workspace for your team, but by addressing the 6 aforementioned factors you could more effectively and successfully implement MTM services, create a more pleasant atmosphere for patients, and potentially diversify your revenue streams. Other research exists that demonstrates the importance of organizational culture on various pharmacy and patient outcomes such as likelihood to successfully prescribe and uptake of health literacy-sensitive professional practice.2,3

Some educational programs have been developed to foster skills and mindsets that help lead to a more positive organizational culture. One such program, known as Educating Pharmacists in Quality (EPIQ), is offered free of charge by the Pharmacy Quality Alliance. The program was designed to boost innovativeness and other important factors. These and other non-pharmacy sources can help pharmacy leaders understand the tremendous impact that organizational culture plays in a myriad of outcomes. Everyone contributes to organizational culture, not just managers; however, the manager can set the tone for positive contributions from staff and even patients.

Additional information about Organizational Structure and Behavior can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

Sina Hosseini, is a PharmD Candidate at Touro University California.

Shane P. Desselle, PhD, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at Touro University California.


1. Rosenthal MM, Holmes ER. The professional culture of community pharmacy and the provision of MTM services. Pharmacy. 2018; 6(2):25.

2. Rosenthal MM, Houle SK, Eberhart G, Tsuyuki RT. Prescribing by pharmacists in Alberta and its relation to culture and personality traits. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2015;11(3):401-411.

3. Shoemaker SJ, Staub-DeLong L, Wasserman M, Spranca M. Factors affecting adoption and implementation of AHRQ health literacy tools in pharmacies. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2013;9(5):553-563.

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