Corporate culture is a term used to describe the collective beliefs, value systems, and processes that provide a company with its own unique flavor and attitude. Businesses of all sizes posses some type of corporate culture, in that every company has a set of values and goals that help to define what the business is all about. Here are some examples of elements that go into creating and defining a corporate culture.
At the foundation of any company culture are the standards that govern the operation of the business. These standards are usually expressed in terms of the policies and procedures that define how the company will operate. This will include how different departments or functions relate to one another in the production process, the line of communication established between management and departmental employees, and rules governing acceptable conduct of everyone who is part of the company. This basic organizational culture makes it possible to develop other layers of corporate culture based on these foundational factors.
Above and beyond organizational and procedural factors, corporate culture is further informed by the attitude of everyone involved with the organization. When executives, managers, and rank and file employees are all on the same page as far as basic corporate values, it becomes possible to have general agreement on the relationships that must be in place to accurately reflect the desired corporate culture. For example, when employees are provided with ways to make suggestions that could improve the productivity or the general working environment of the company, it can be said that the corporate culture is inclusive, as it allows for free communication between everyone employed by the business.
As with many types of cultures, corporate culture usually involves the inclusions of some rites or rituals. This can be something as simple as the annual holiday bonus, a week in the summer when the entire company shuts down, or even the naming of an employee of the month. These rites help to bond people together and provide some sense of collective identity, which is very important to the creation of a positive corporate culture.
It is important to note that a particular corporate culture may be positive or negative. Businesses where the rules constantly change, employee input is not encouraged, and rites tend to change constantly could be said to have a negative or counter-effective corporate culture. Since most companies cannot survive without the support of all employees and a dedication to core values, any business that develops negative corporate attitudes and culture is likely to be extremely limited in growth, or will fail to survive.