Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is unique to each organisation and is shaped by a shared set of beliefs, values and principles that form the foundation for workplace management systems, practices and behaviours.

The relationship between workplace culture and alcohol-related harm is widely recognised. Workplace culture plays an important role in; 12:

  • forming, influencing and maintaining employee beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours around alcohol consumption and drinking patterns;
  • the expectations concerning alcohol use in specific work contexts; and
  • the degree to which alcohol is available in the workplace.

Workplace factors including workplace customs and traditions, workplace conditions and controls as well as factors related to the wider community and the individual can also shape the culture of an organisation. These factors can significantly influence employer and employee alcohol-related norms, alcohol use and patterns of alcohol consumption and the way in which the workplace responds to alcohol-related harm and issues.3

Understanding the relationship between workplace culture, workplace factors and alcohol use will assist your workplace to:

  • identify the extent and nature of potential alcohol-related risks to the safety and health of employees;
  • identify and implement appropriate responses to alcohol-related harm; and
  • develop a safe workplace environment around alcohol aimed at preventing and managing alcohol-related harm in the workplace.

To achieve this, successful workplace responses should be based on quality occupational safety and health practices and be consistent with your workplace’s occupational safety and health framework and risk management approach.


Cercarelli, R., Allsop. S., Evans, M. and Velander, F. (2012). Reducing alcohol-related harm in the workplace: An evidence review: full report. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Melbourne, Australia.


Pidd, K. (2005). Workplace culture and alcohol use. Of Substance, 3(1), 18-21.


Pidd, K. and Roche, A. (2013). Policy Talk. Workplace alcohol and other drug programs: What is good practice? Australian Drug Foundation.

Page last updated: 20 July 2020

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