Your HOA Board Cultivates Its Culture

Your HOA culture has a personality – homeowners share in common behaviors, beliefs, rules, values and symbols that your membership accepts.  They do so, generally without thinking about them, and that personality is the symbolic communication shared between neighbors which reflect its culture.

So, why should Board members pay attention to their role to influence their community’s culture?

Culture is cumulative.  It is a slow accumulation that occurs over many changes in Board leadership; culture is the product of their direction and of the individuals who compose them.  Culture holds a community together or can pull it apart.  It is, literally, the way of life that homeowners follow, and that includes complying with the rules, i.e., securing trash cans appropriately, parking off the street, paying dues, and so forth.  Homeowners do this willingly so that they can be accepted as contributing members of their neighborhood.  It is essential for HOA Board members to positively and publicly acknowledge those who advocate for their community. 

In “An Integrative theory of leadership,” M.M. Chemers goes a step further saying that leadership can define a group’s culture by publicly promoting shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs and learned values through socialization.  Thus, an HOA’s culture can be seen as the growth of a neighborhood’s identity that can be fostered by social patterns unique to those living within an association.  A governing Board who oversees a community has a direct impact on the frequency, quality and the degree of socialization. 

No matter what kind of leadership a Board chooses, one thing is certain, it will change and incoming Board members can either address the underlying principles that define their community or they fail to see its correlation.  Without firm leadership, adherence to this socialization of culture will slip and may result in a negative perception of their community, higher noncompliance community rules and ultimately lower property values.

Culture is important

Culture has become key to our interconnected world, and is the fabric that threads the meaning of our lives to our religion, ethnicity, ethical beliefs, and, essentially, all of the elements that make up one’s personal surroundings.  However, if ignored by Board leadership will result in homeowners detaching from their sense of community and unravel an individual’s connection to their neighborhood.  We tend to see this behavior in today’s politics where those who feel unrepresented, polarize themselves from the whole and separate their beliefs, values and behaviors from the prevalent norms. 

Our surrounding environment plays a stronger role than previously thought and is often overlooked by Board members.  The community in which one lives influences their views, their values, their humor, their hopes, their loyalties and their worries and fears.  So when homeowners are visiting with their neighbors, these views bring perspective and common ground between them.

The sad truth of culture is that a community will create a culture on its very own if left by chance.  Lumen Learning explains in their book, “The Role of Socialization,” the lack of social engagement, few social opportunities and little social interaction between neighbors will result in personal isolation from the collective group. 

For more information on how you can improve your homeowner’s association culture and engage your neighbors, contact MGM Association Management at (208) 846-9189 or visit  MGM is the largest and most trusted association manager in the State of Idaho and believes in helping communities thrive.