What is the Positive Culture Framework?


What is PCF? Click to view full size!The Positive Culture Framework (PCF) is an approach based on our latest research about improving health and safety in our communities and organizations. PCF seeks to cultivate health and safety. We intentionally use the word “cultivate” because PCF builds on shared values, beliefs, and attitudes that already exist in a culture to promote health and safety. PCF builds on the recognition that the solutions are in the community.

Would you like to get an in-depth look at PCF? Consider hosting your own private training for your organization.

PCF is a natural next step from “Positive Community Norms.” Positive Community Norms was developed largely based on social norms theory and emphasized communication campaigns addressing norms. PCF includes norms as well as other critical beliefs that influence behavior. Furthermore, PCF moves beyond only using social norms marketing campaigns to influence behavior. PCF takes a truly cultural approach. Those familiar with Positive Community Norms will find PCF an enhancement to their work. 

PCF fosters a cultural approach by recognizing that many different layers in a community (e.g., individuals, families, schools, workplaces, etc.) or organization (e.g., executive leadership, managers, supervisors, etc.) impact its culture. It is not enough just to focus on one layer. Instead, we need to engage all layers in addressing health and safety. When all layers share values, beliefs and attitudes, a healthier and safer culture emerges and is sustained over time.

PCF provides detailed steps and addresses the skills to successfully navigate these steps.  Skills are needed in leadership, communication and the integration of multiple strategies. The steps are applied to many layers within a community or organization.

Leadership, communication, and integration are the skills needed to be effective at improving health and safety.

Improving health and safety is an act of leadership – we are leading people to make healthier and safer choices. Changing cultural factors can be challenging – people often resist questioning their core assumptions. Developing leadership skills increases effectiveness.

Virtually all efforts to improve health and safety involve communication. However, often communication efforts addressing health and safety have minimal results – and sometimes have even made things worse. It is very important to ground our communication efforts in strong research and to recognize that even conversations are important communication opportunities.

When we recognize the work of improving health and safety is about impacting many behaviors across the social ecology, we realize that there is no single strategy that will address these complex issues. Accepting that we need a portfolio of strategies means we must also accept the need to actively manage and align these strategies. This management and alignment of strategies is the work of integration. Integration is about making things whole. Developing skills in integration means we can foster better resource utilization, reduce competition and foster cooperation, align purpose, and increase the effectiveness of our efforts.

Center for Health and Safety Culture. (2016). Positive culture framework: A foundation for cultural transformation. Montana State University.