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The Working White House: A Community of Workers

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Every occupational group, whether doctors, teachers, or factory workers, has its own distinctive culture. Each group possesses special skills, language, and knowledge, which are shared and communicated among all group members. Certain workplace behaviors and standards must be maintained, and an understanding of these conventions is regularly conveyed to new members of the occupational group.

When members of an occupational group work in a single building, such as the White House, the culture is even more distinctive. No other workplace is both a symbol of the nation and the private residence of an American family. Moreover, the White House staff must synchronize its culture with that of a new first family, in order to find the proper balance between serving the nation and serving the home’s residents to the highest possible standards.

Transmitting knowledge about White House operations from one generation of workers to the next maintains stability in work routines and solidifies workers’ sense of membership in the group. It also fortifies the teamwork essential to an efficient workplace and to a positive work environment.