Топик по английскому: Corporate Culture

Corporate Culture

Introduction Corporate culture is the shared values and meanings that members hold in common and that are practiced by an organization’s leaders. Corporate culture is a powerful force that affects individuals in very real ways. In this paper I will explain the concept of corporate culture, apply the concept towards my employer, and analyze the validity of this concept. Research As Sackmann’s Iceberg model demonstrates, culture is a series of visible and invisible characteristics that influence the behavior of members of organizations. Organizational and corporate cultures are formal and informal. They can be studied by observation, by listening and interacting with people in the culture, by reading what the company says about its own culture, by understanding career path progressions, and by observing stories about the company. As R. Solomon stated, «Corporate culture is related to ethics through the values and leadership styles that the leaders practice; the company model, the rituals and symbols that organizations value, and the way organizational executives and members communicate among themselves and with stakeholders. As a culture, the corporation defines not only jobs and roles; it also sets goals and establishes what counts as success» (Solomon, 1997, p.138). Corporate values are used to define corporate culture and drive operations found in «strong» corporate cultures. Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, and Bonar Group, the engineering firm I work for, all exemplify «strong» cultures. They all have a shared philosophy, they value the importance of people, they all have heroes that symbolize the success of the company, and they celebrate rituals, which provide opportunities for caring and sharing, for developing a spirit of «oneness» and «weness»(Weiss, 1994). Organizations that stress competition, profit, and economic or self-interests over stakeholder obligations and that have on morally active direction often have cultures that are in trouble. The founders of an organization set the tone for the beginning stage of what a company’s culture will be. The practices of the founders and first employees begin the rituals, the corporate stories, and norms. Ethics are a major factor in the development of a positive or negative culture. If companies allow unethical acts to occur, this behavior will perpetuate itself through the life of the organization. Promotions and raises also affect the type of culture a company has. Is everyone given a chance to excel or are there picks and choose as to who will get the promotion? This type of behavior creates mistrust among employees of a company, thus causing an intense environment. Ethics are an important role in how everyday activities are carried out. The struggle that most people have today is implementing ethics into their daily life is the question, «Will it benefit the Company?» or «Is it right?» The method used to get on the right tract towards ethics is the decision that one may make. There are many different questions asked about guidelines of how to create and maintain a strong corporate culture. One may be able to set up a goal or future vision to help strengthen his or her environment. This idea can help create an environment, which focus on enhancing the founders’ mission and objectives (Weiss, 1994). Communication also affects the strength of weakness of a culture. It is essential that management communicate the accomplishments as well as the failures of the departments of the organization, not only vertically but horizontally as well. Reward criteria, conflict tolerance, and control are dimensions of a corporate culture. The culture of a company is very influential in daily transactions. It establishes what can and cannot be done. Some practices may be written down or may not be written down and are learned through observation. Planning, leading, organizing, and controlling are functions that are affected by the strength of weakness of a culture. Satisfaction of a job well done, benefits, and other factors apply to the effectiveness of a culture. If leadership focuses on not only the well being of the organization but its members as well, this will encourage full participation from its members. Corporate cultures affect the internal and external activities of a company on a daily basis. The culture creates the environment that sets the mode for the total practices of an organization. A culture may be strong or it may be weak; strong cultures share a common goal and have a positive environment. They hold true the not only the mission and objectives of the founding members of the organization, but they are aware of their employee and the roles they play in its existences. Employee participation and involvement creates a surrounding that perpetuates positive outcomes. Weak cultures may allow unethical practices in the organization to continue either by its leadership or its subordinates. Fierce competition, favoritism, and weak communication create weak environments, thus allowing the breakdown of a culture. In either situation, it affects the total performance of the organizations and its members. Application Culture appears in organizations in various guises. The Iceberg model demonstrates culture as a series of visible and invisible characteristics that influence the behavior of members of organizations. Visible manifestations of culture at Bonar Group are obvious in the office’s decor and upkeep, and in the services that Bonar Group provides, engineering. These two items are important symbols of Bonar Group’s culture. The facility itself is kept neat and clean; offices are not cramped; equipment is modern and functional; and throughout the building, there are various kinds of potted plants and flowers. All cubicles in which employees work are located near open walking space so that interaction is possible. On the walls are artworks with beautiful landscapes or buildings that we designed and copies of the statement of corporate mission. Verbal manifestations of culture at Bonar Group can be seen in the language the employees use to communicate regular points of discussion. «Is Daryl coming up,» means is our vice president coming to our Valparaiso office from our main office in Ft. Wayne. Also, statements like: «what a crazy place this is,» or «we’re all crazy around here,» tend to be used as tongue-in-cheek allusions to the casual, but sometimes hectic nature of working at Bonar Group. One notices that employee interaction is generally friendly and relaxed, and while an element of professionalism is always present, employees can speak frankly with one another. Of visible culture that occurs nonverbally as ritual and ceremony at Bonar Group, breaks and lunch time quickly come to mind. Everyone is given two fifteen minute breaks and a one hour break for lunch. Some employees use the full amount of time, some liberally exceed the allotted time, and a few spurn their downtime and seem to work straight from eight o’clock to five. A yearly ritual dear to Bonar Group is that of the holiday party, which is another example of visible, nonverbal culture. This gathering is the one social event that Bonar Group annually sponsors. Employees and their families are invited to an evening of cocktails and dinner at a fine restaurant or country club. Bonar Group’s holiday party offers other elements of Sackmann’s Iceberg theory to explore-items below the iceberg’s surface. Invisible culture regards internalized beliefs about an organization’s priorities and processes. The holiday party is Bonar Group’s way of recognizing and rewarding its employees for their hard work. It is also Bonar Group’s alternative to a «Christmas bonus,» and turnout consistently is very high. Every year after the meal, a member of the site design team and a project manager present gifts to Bonar Group’s president and vice president on behalf of all Bonar Group’s employees. Then the president and vice president give speeches in which they reflect on the past year and wish good fortune to all the employees and their families in the coming year. The whole series of events is very much an institutionalized ritual
and the holiday party’s emphasis on family, giving deserved praise and thanks, and its generally positive affect demonstrates Sackmann’s theory of visible and invisible culture within Bonar Group. Being an engineering firm there are certain rules and regulations that we have to follow for fear of legal ramifications. Bonar Group’s ethical stance is one of always doing what is right and just. Unethical acts are very few and far between because if one is to commit such an act, that person puts the entire company’s reputation at stake and this is very undesirable. If mistakes are made, employees inform their immediate supervisor and seek to correct them as soon as possible because that is the right thing to do. Employees are encouraged to do such things on a regular basis. Analysis Culture, as defined by Sackmann, is as a shared set of manifest and latent beliefs and values. What one can learn through the definitions of culture is that it shapes organizations and is shaped by members of organizations. This is true with my experiences with my employer’s culture. Bonar Group’s culture clearly exists in both visible and invisible components, as Sackmann proposes, including Bonar Group’s actual building, common speech patterns, and rituals. Some facets of Bonar Group’s culture, then, are a hierarchical structure, respect for authority, and pleasant but businesslike interactions. More facets include a shared philosophy, valuing the importance of people, having heroes that symbolize the success of the company, and celebrating rituals. This in turn leads to Weiss’s concepts of «oneness» and «weness» which is also demonstrated in the culture. Founders are the origin of corporate culture which employees learn vicariously. Individuals who have worked at Bonar Group the longest know the culture best and presumably like it, or they would have removed themselves from it. The existentially compelling question of culture in organizations is well documented, but suggested answers for it are many and constantly fluctuating. What can be known is that corporate culture is a powerful force that affects individuals in very real ways.


Sackmann, S. A. (1991). Uncovering culture in organizations. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 27: 295-317.

Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40: 437-453.

Solomon, R. C. (1997). It’s good business: Ethics and free enterprise for the new millennium. Parham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publisher.

Statement of Corporate Mission vol. II. (2000). Bonar Group, Inc.

Weiss, J. W. (1994). Business Ethics: A managerial, stakeholder approach. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

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