Corporate Culture Success.

Corporate Culture Success

Corporate Culture Success.

Executive Summary.


In the labyrinth of business dynamics, corporate culture emerges as a multifaceted and dynamic entity deeply embedded within an organisation. It is the tapestry of shared values, beliefs, practices, and norms intricately woven into the very fabric of an organisation. Significantly shaped by an organisation’s policies, practices, and systems, corporate culture transcends the mundane, serving as a guiding beacon and influencing employee attitudes and behaviours. Leadership behaviour and internal systems create the organisation’s ethical conduct, decision-making processes, and compliance strategies.


At its nucleus, corporate culture orchestrates how employees and management interact, perform, and engage in business transactions. It evolves organically, mirroring the cumulative traits of the workforce while also being susceptible to external influences like national cultures, economic trends, and international trade. Corporate culture permeates every aspect of an organisation’s operations – from dress code and office setup to client interactions and employee benefits – reflecting the organisation’s core ideology and modus operandi.


Corporate culture is a linchpin in corporate performance and health, inextricably linked to long-term value creation. It influences operational efficiency and imprints on the organisation’s identity, market success, and sustainability. It evolves with the organisation as a dynamic system, echoing and shaping its identity in the marketplace. Corporate culture epitomises an organisation’s collective conscience, encapsulating its operational ethos and strategic ambitions.


Corporate culture holds paramount importance in aligning with significant business objectives. It magnetises employees who resonate with the culture, bolstering employee retention and talent acquisition. It fosters a culture of innovation, which is vital for maintaining a competitive edge. Additionally, corporate culture doubles as a form of public relations, marketing the company to customers and society.


Informed by various legal frameworks like the Employment Equity Act, United Nations directives, and national constitutions, corporate culture from a legal standpoint emphasises diversity, equity, and adherence to legal standards. It encompasses aspects like health and safety, ethical conduct, prevention of harassment, respect for personal information, and rigorous policy implementation and monitoring, creating an ethical, inclusive, and compliant environment.


From a managerial perspective, corporate culture is a dynamic and complex set of shared values, beliefs, and practices that shape organisational operations. It includes leadership behaviour, collaboration, strategic alignment, focus on performance and health, continuous improvement, employee engagement, and recognition of desired behaviours.


Corporate culture is critically linked to long-term corporate value. It embodies shared values, norms, and behaviours that significantly shape an organisation’s identity, operations, and success. This culture influences everything from leadership and internal systems to long-term success, compliance, and ethical behaviour.


Corporate culture encompasses a range of elements like values and beliefs, differentiation factors, corporate governance, performance enhancement, and various types of organisational culture (Clan, Adhocracy, Hierarchy, and Market). Each plays a significant role in shaping organisations’ internal dynamics and strategic orientations.


Corporate culture influences various organisational decisions, including ethical choices, innovation strategies, and overall value creation. It is intrinsically linked to regulatory compliance, financial reporting quality, and the strategic balance between short-term and long-term goals.


Corporate culture, often implied rather than explicitly defined, develops organically over time and is reflected in every aspect of a company’s operations. It influences employee hiring and retention, performance, business results, and company longevity.


The concept of corporate culture emerged in the 1960s and became widely known in the 1990s. It includes various elements like company-wide value systems, management strategies, employee communications, work environment, and attitude. Influenced by national cultures and trends, corporate culture shapes companies in the era of globalisation.


A well-considered corporate culture provides a competitive advantage, positively impacting the workplace environment, employee motivation, performance quality, and business outcomes. Various corporate cultures include Clan, Adhocracy, Market, and Hierarchy, each with unique attributes and operational philosophies.


Successful corporate cultures are defined by vision, values, practices, people, narrative, and place. They encourage teamwork, training, innovation, and leadership, shaping every aspect of a business.


Building a corporate culture involves defining a company’s vision, values, and behaviours, gathering employee feedback, establishing communication methods, and fostering teamwork and diversity. It requires strong leadership, consistent messaging, and a focus on shared cultural values.


Corporate culture is essential to business success, representing a company’s values, beliefs, and goals. It is critical to attracting and retaining employees, supporting high-quality performance, and ensuring the longevity of a company.



Corporate culture, an in-depth assessment.


Defining corporate culture from a legal and corporate governance viewpoint.


Based on the Employment Equity Act, United Nations ST/SGB/2008/5, International Labour Organisation Conventions, the South African Constitution, and various acts like the Labour Relations Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Protected Disclosures Act, Protection from Harassment Act, and Protection of Personal Information Act, a definition of “corporate culture” can be formed.


Commitment to Diversity and Equity:

Adherence to International and National Legal Standards:

Following the guidelines and standards set forth by the United Nations, national constitutions and local laws often emphasise employee rights and welfare.


Health and Safety:

Ensuring a safe working environment per the Occupational Health and Safety Act is crucial to a responsible corporate culture.


Ethical Conduct and Transparency:

As seen in acts like the Protected Disclosures Act, encouraging ethical behaviour, transparency, and accountability, especially in matters related to employment practices.


Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination:

Actively working against harassment and discrimination in the workplace, guided by laws like the Protection from Harassment Act and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.


Respect for Personal Information:

Safeguarding employees’ and stakeholders’ privacy and personal information, in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act.


Implementation and Monitoring of Policies:

Annually review and update all company policies and procedures to ensure they align with the South African legal requirements and ethical standards, as the Code of Good Practice suggests.


The corporate culture in the context of corporate governance laws is about creating a workplace environment that is ethical, inclusive, respectful, and compliant with national and international standards for employee treatment and corporate governance.


Defining corporate culture from a management point of view.

Corporate culture is a dynamic and complex set of shared values, beliefs, behaviours, and practices that shape an organisation’s operations. It is deeply influenced by leadership behaviour and essential to organisational performance and health.


Effective corporate cultures often involve:


Leadership Conduct:

The role of managerial staff in an organisation must be balanced. They are responsible for setting the tone and leading by example, shaping the organisation’s overall culture. A strong leader directs and manages their team effectively and creates a work environment that reflects their values and principles. Their daily conduct and management style serve as a blueprint for the rest of the organisation.


Collaboration and Communication:

Effective communication and collaboration are crucial for achieving success in any organisation. When teams and departments work together and communicate well, they can foster a sense of unity and shared purpose. This can lead to increased productivity, improved problem-solving, and better decision-making. Strong communication skills are fundamental in today’s fast-paced business environment, where teams often work remotely and need to rely on technology to stay connected. By emphasising the importance of collaboration and communication, organisations can create a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that encourages innovation, creativity, and teamwork.


Alignment with Strategic Goals:

To ensure an organisation’s success, its corporate culture must align with its strategic vision and management’s goals and objectives. This alignment between culture and strategy provides the necessary support and impetus to drive the achievement of goals. Employees must have clarity on the reason “Why” and the goal to fully understand and embrace the organisation’s vision and objectives. Employees are likelier to work towards their fulfilment, resulting in greater productivity, efficiency, and overall success.


Focus on Performance and Health:

Organisations need to maintain a balanced focus on both performance and health. Performance means achieving organisational goals, while health maintains a positive, safe, ethical work environment. By giving equal attention to both these aspects, organisations can ensure sustainable growth and success while ensuring the well-being of their employees. Developing strategies and policies that promote a healthy workplace culture where employees can thrive and achieve their full potential is essential. Their physical, emotional and mental health is given due consideration.

Continuous Improvement and Adaptation:

Organisations must prioritise continuous improvement and adaptation of corporate culture to achieve their objectives. This involves regularly monitoring and assessing various cultural aspects and making necessary adaptations to ensure they remain relevant and effective in achieving organisational goals. Ethical behaviour and conduct by all staff must be prioritised and monitored continually. By doing so, organisations can stay ahead of the curve and better respond to changes and challenges in the dynamic business landscape.


Employee Engagement and Development:

Fostering a workplace culture that prioritises employee engagement and development is crucial for the growth and success of any organisation. By investing in employee skills development and training, companies can create an environment that values and encourages employees to contribute their best to the organisation. Providing opportunities for learning and development helps employees build new skills and boosts their confidence levels and job satisfaction. It also helps create a sense of loyalty and commitment towards the organisation, increasing employee retention rates. Therefore, companies must prioritise employee engagement and development to maintain a healthy and productive work environment.


Recognition and Reinforcement of Desired Behaviours:

Establishing a culture that aligns with the company’s goals and values is vital for success. Recognition and reinforcement of desired behaviours effectively promote such a culture. This involves acknowledging and rewarding positive behaviours that align with the desired culture, such as teamwork, innovation, and customer focus. By recognising and rewarding such behaviours, employees are more likely to repeat them, leading to an overall positive impact on the company’s culture. It also sets a standard for acceptable behaviour, creating a sense of unity and shared values among employees. Ultimately, this can increase productivity, employee satisfaction, and a more robust company culture.


Defining corporate culture from an operational point of view.


In analysing scholarly research from the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, a comprehensive understanding of “corporate culture” can be formed by training and conduct.


From this perspective, corporate culture is critically linked to corporations’ long-term value. As refined by scientific studies, corporate culture is a complex and dynamic system embedded within an organisation, encompassing shared values, beliefs, norms, and behaviours. This multifaceted aspect significantly shapes an organisation’s identity, operations, and success, profoundly impacting employee behaviour and decision-making processes. It is influenced by leadership and internal systems and plays a critical role in driving the organisation’s long-term success, risk-taking, compliance, and ethical behaviour.


Furthermore, corporate culture manifests as a pattern of behaviour reinforced by both systems and people. It establishes the norms and expectations that govern employees’ behaviour, aligning their actions with the organisation’s goals. This evolving aspect reflects and shapes the organisation’s identity and its success in the marketplace, making it an integral element in the sustainability and performance of the organisation.


Corporate culture must examine systems like corporate governance, which can reinforce or work against the culture, influencing elements like integrity or collaboration.

Corporate culture can be refined to encompass several vital aspects:


Values and Beliefs:

Organisational culture constitutes an intricate system of shared values, beliefs, and behavioural norms that significantly influence organisational members’ decision-making processes and conduct. These foundational elements, often ingrained subconsciously, serve as a potent directive force in guiding employee interactions, problem-solving approaches, and achieving organisational objectives. This cultural infrastructure is essential in determining its members’ behavioural standards and adaptation strategies, thereby playing a pivotal role in steering the organisation’s direction and achieving its overarching goals.


Differentiation Factor.

Organisational culture is a pivotal differentiation factor, setting apart one entity from another in the business landscape, even among companies with similar technologies or market environments. This distinction is exemplified by organisations such as Apple, IBM, and HP, each of which has cultivated a unique cultural identity focusing on varying priorities such as innovation, elegance, or efficiency. This diversity in organisational culture not only underscores the uniqueness of each company but also significantly influences their strategic approaches and market positioning, thereby establishing a clear and distinct corporate identity.


Corporate Governance and Management:

A well-developed corporate culture is instrumental in enhancing corporate governance and management. It plays a pivotal role in shaping overall corporate performance. This cultural framework influences ethical conduct and extends its impact on strategic decision-making processes. The effectiveness of organisational culture is thus a critical contributor to the governance and management realms, significantly affecting how a corporation performs and conducts its business operations in a professional and ethical context.


Enhancing Performance:

A robust organisational culture is paramount in boosting organisational performance, serving as a cornerstone for aligning future business trajectories. Such a culture, characterised by open and transparent communication, inspires employees, elevating overall performance and productivity. The strength and positivity of corporate culture play a significant role in guiding the organisation’s strategic direction and fostering an environment where employees are motivated and aligned with the company’s goals, leading to enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in achieving business objectives.


Types of Organizational Culture.

Organisational culture manifests in various forms, each characterised by unique attributes and operational philosophies.


These include:


Clan Culture

The Clan Culture is an organisational culture that prioritises employee engagement, teamwork, and collaboration. This culture focuses on creating a supportive and employee-oriented environment where everyone is encouraged to work together to achieve common goals.


One of the defining characteristics of the Clan Culture is the role of management. In this type of culture, managers act as enthusiastic mentors who guide and support their subordinates. They are approachable, and their doors are always open for their team members to come and discuss ideas or concerns. This creates an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.


Another essential aspect of the Clan Culture is the emphasis on good relationships. People are expected to be friendly, helpful, and supportive of one another. This encourages teamwork and collaboration, which is critical to the organisation’s success.

In a Clan Culture, everyone’s contribution is valued, and every employee has the potential to make a significant contribution to the organisation. The culture is designed to empower individuals and encourage them to take ownership of their work. This can lead to increased productivity and creativity.


Finally, the Clan Culture is known for adapting quickly to change. Because of the collaborative nature of the culture, organisations with a Clan Culture can respond to new challenges and implement changes more effectively than those with other types of culture. This can lead to better outcomes and increased success for the organisation.


Adhocracy Culture

The Adhocracy Culture is characterised by its unwavering emphasis on innovation and adaptability. This culture fosters a conducive environment for creativity and flexible approaches. The Adhocracy Culture creates an entrepreneurial workplace where executives and employees are encouraged to function as innovators and risk-takers.


In this dynamic environment, agile thinking is required and nurtured. Employees are motivated to present and pursue their aspirational ideas. Companies encourage staff members from all levels to take definitive action to achieve results that can advance company goals. The Adhocracy Culture advocates for a non-hierarchical approach, where employees can experiment and make decisions independently.


This culture encourages experimentation and taking calculated risks, which has a positive and lasting impact on employee morale. The Adhocracy Culture results in new and unconventional products and services that are the mainstay of the organisation’s success.


Market Culture

The Market Culture is an organisational culture that revolves around competition and market achievement. This culture places a high value on rivalry and market success. The primary focus of this culture is to meet specific targets and bottom-line goals.


As a result, this culture creates a working environment that is highly competitive and demanding. Management is most interested in business results, and employees are encouraged and supported to work hard and “get the job done”. The goal is to enhance a company’s market presence, profits, and stock price.


While employees may feel stressed in such a workplace, they can also feel enthusiastic and excited about their work. This culture is characterised by a fast-paced, high-pressure environment that rewards individuals who can perform well under stress and meet their targets. It is also a culture that values innovation, risk-taking, and a willingness to challenge the status quo.


Overall, the Market Culture is a culture that places a high premium on winning and achieving success in the marketplace.


Hierarchy Culture

The hierarchy culture is a type of organisational culture distinguished by its structured and rule-based nature. It emphasises order, procedural adherence, and a transparent chain of command from top to bottom.


This culture is common in traditional corporate environments, operating according to a company’s executive, management, and staff organisational structure. In this structure, executives oversee employees and their work efforts to meet specific goals, while employees follow clear directives from their superiors.


One of the defining characteristics of the hierarchy culture is its emphasis on stability and conventional methods of operation. This means that the work environment can be seen as more rigid than some other cultures, as rules and regulations are strictly followed. However, this can also create a sense of security for employees, as they clearly understand their roles and objectives.


Furthermore, the conservative approach to running a company can also lead to a more predictable work environment, which can be reassuring for some employees. The hierarchy culture is a well-established and widely recognised corporate culture model with advantages and limitations.


Impact on Decisions and Value.

Corporate culture profoundly influences an array of organisational decisions, encompassing ethical choices, innovation strategies, and overall value creation. This culture is intrinsically linked with regulatory compliance and the quality of financial reporting, playing a crucial role in guiding corporate conduct and governance.


Moreover, it significantly impacts the strategic balance between short-term tactics and the pursuit of long-term value, shaping how companies address immediate challenges while maintaining a vision for future growth and sustainability. An influential corporate culture thus not only steers day-to-day decision-making but also aligns these decisions with broader organisational objectives and ethical standards.


Understanding Corporate Culture


The concept of corporate culture has been evolving since the 1960s, gaining more attention and recognition in the 1980s and 1990s. Initially, it was viewed as a way to describe the character of a company, encompassing a range of beliefs, behaviours, values, management strategies, employee communications, work environment, and attitude.


Over time, corporate culture has become more complex, influenced by national cultures, economic trends, international trade, company size, and products. Today, a company’s culture is shaped by its founders, management, employees, and interactions with the broader world.


In the wake of globalisation, multiple terms now relate to companies affected by diverse cultures. This includes terms such as multicultural, cross-cultural, and global organisations, which aim to reflect the reality of today’s business environment. Companies must know their culture and its interaction with the broader world to succeed in an increasingly globalised marketplace.


In today’s globalised business world, cross-culture interactions have become increasingly common. This term refers to situations where people from diverse backgrounds, with different values, beliefs, and communication styles, come together in a business environment. These interactions can be challenging, as cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and inefficiencies. Therefore, many companies invest significant resources to create a better cross-cultural experience for staff and facilitate a more acceptable and productive corporate culture. This involves strategies such as cross-cultural training, diversity and inclusion initiatives, language and communication support, and cultural sensitivity awareness.


By fostering a culture of respect, openness, and mutual learning, these companies aim to leverage the strengths of diverse perspectives and talents to achieve their business goals while also promoting a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all employees.

Culture shock is the disorientation and unease individuals may feel when exposed to an unfamiliar culture or society. It is a common phenomenon experienced by people doing business or travelling in a foreign country. Various factors, such as differences in language, customs, values, and social norms, can cause culture shock. It can also result from differences in how business is conducted, such as business practices, negotiation styles, and decision-making processes.


Culture shock can range from mild to severe and affects people differently. Some individuals may experience feelings of frustration, confusion, and homesickness, while others may feel a sense of excitement and curiosity. It is essential for individuals to prepare themselves for the potential challenges of culture shock and to approach different cultures with an open mind and a willingness to learn and adapt.


Reverse culture shock is a complex phenomenon often experienced by individuals who have spent significant time living or working in a foreign country. It is characterised by disorientation, confusion, and even emotional distress upon returning to one’s home country. Reverse culture shock can manifest in various ways, such as difficulty readjusting to familiar surroundings, feeling out of place among old friends and family, and struggling to re-engage with familiar cultural norms and values. This condition is common among business travellers who have spent extended time overseas and can take time and effort to overcome.


In today’s business landscape, the significance of corporate culture cannot be overstated. According to Deloitte, 90% of executives firmly believe that a solid corporate culture is critical for achieving business success. This is because corporate culture shapes an organisation’s values, attitudes, behaviours, and work environment. A positive and empowering culture can inspire employees, foster innovation, increase productivity, and attract top talent, while a toxic culture can lead to disengagement, turnover, and reputational damage.


Therefore, companies must prioritise and invest in creating a culture that aligns with their mission, vision, and values and promotes a sense of purpose, belonging, and accountability among their stakeholders.


Importance of Corporate Culture


In today’s fast-paced and competitive business world, a company’s corporate culture is crucial in determining its success and longevity. A well-crafted corporate culture that values innovation, creativity, and inclusivity can help a company stand out from its competitors and attract top talent.


A robust corporate culture can improve employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction, resulting in better business outcomes. Therefore, companies that invest in developing a thoughtful and impactful corporate culture can reap significant benefits in terms of brand reputation, customer loyalty, and financial performance.


A well-crafted corporate culture is essential for creating a positive workplace environment. It includes various elements such as shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that promote a sense of community, teamwork, and collaboration among employees. In such a culture, employees feel valued, supported, and appreciated for their contributions, which encourages them to give their best effort and fosters loyalty and commitment to the organisation. A positive workplace environment benefits employees and contributes to the company’s overall productivity, growth, and success.


A well-crafted corporate culture is one of the critical factors that can contribute to the success of any business. A strong corporate culture can create an environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and creativity, ultimately leading to increased productivity and profitability. Companies can build a corporate culture that promotes employee satisfaction, retention, and loyalty by creating an engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated workforce. This can be achieved through various methods, including providing employees with opportunities for professional development, recognising and rewarding outstanding performance, and fostering a sense of community and teamwork. By investing in their corporate culture, businesses can create a positive and supportive work environment that benefits their employees and contributes to the company’s long-term success.


Fostering a well-crafted corporate culture can be highly valuable for any organisation. Such a culture can attract top-quality employees who align with the company’s values, vision, and mission. An inclusive, supportive, and positive work environment can create a sense of belonging among employees, leading to higher employee retention rates, improved productivity, and better customer satisfaction. A strong corporate culture can also help build the company’s brand and reputation, making it an attractive employer and a preferred choice among job seekers. Therefore, investing in a well-crafted corporate culture is wise for any organisation looking to attract high-value employees.


Organisations that invest time and resources in building a strong and positive corporate culture tend to have lower employee turnover rates. When employees feel valued, respected, and motivated, they are more likely to stay with the company for longer. A well-crafted corporate culture encompasses various aspects such as employee engagement, work-life balance, career development opportunities, open communication, and recognition programs. By focusing on these areas, companies can create a work environment that fosters employee loyalty and commitment, ultimately reducing turnover and increasing productivity.


In today’s competitive business landscape, having a well-crafted corporate culture is crucial for organisations to thrive and succeed. A solid corporate culture goes beyond having a mission statement or a set of values and beliefs. It encompasses the attitudes, behaviours, and practices that define how employees interact with one another, their customers, and the broader community.


A well-crafted corporate culture can drive and improve performance quality and productivity in numerous ways.

Firstly, it fosters employees’ sense of belonging and ownership, leading to higher engagement and motivation. This, in turn, translates into better decision-making, innovation, and problem-solving capabilities.

Secondly, a robust corporate culture promotes transparency, trust, and open communication, which helps to build stronger relationships with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Finally, it creates a sense of purpose and meaning for employees, who are more likely to stay committed and loyal to the organisation.


Overall, a well-crafted corporate culture is a powerful tool that can help organisations achieve their goals and objectives while positively impacting society. When a company has a well-crafted corporate culture, it results in a positive work environment where employees feel valued, appreciated, and respected. This, in turn, leads to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and employee retention rates. A positive corporate culture also helps attract top talent to the company and fosters strong relationships with customers and clients. A strong corporate culture can produce favourable business results, including increased profits, growth, and success.


Corporate culture plays a vital role in the success and longevity of a company. A well-crafted corporate culture sets the tone for how employees interact with one another, approach their work, and engage with customers. It encompasses the company’s values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours and governs how things get done. A robust corporate culture promotes employee engagement and retention and attracts top talent. It also fosters a positive work environment, increases productivity, and enhances customer satisfaction. A robust corporate culture is the foundation of a successful and sustainable organisation.


Creating a well-crafted corporate culture is crucial for success in today’s business world. It involves establishing shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that shape how employees interact with each other, customers, and stakeholders. A strong corporate culture can enhance employee engagement, boost productivity, and improve customer satisfaction, leading to a higher return on investment (ROI). By investing in a positive work environment, companies can attract and retain top talent, foster innovation and creativity, and build a loyal customer base.


Corporate culture is the set of values, beliefs, and behaviours that shape an organisation’s operations. A well-crafted corporate culture can provide numerous benefits to a company. Such a culture can help attract and retain top talent, boost employee morale, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction. It can also provide a competitive advantage by setting the company apart from competitors in a crowded market. When employees feel a sense of ownership and purpose in their work, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their performance, leading to better outcomes for the business. Therefore, companies must invest time and resources to create a positive and effective corporate culture aligning with their mission and values.


A well-crafted corporate culture is an essential element of any successful business. It involves the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviour patterns that shape the workplace environment and employee interactions. To foster a positive and productive culture, it’s essential to clarify for employees the goals of their positions, departments, and the company overall. This includes providing clear job descriptions, performance metrics, and feedback mechanisms to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. It also involves promoting open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect to build trust and engagement among team members. When employees feel valued, supported, and empowered, they are more likely to contribute to the company’s success and to stay committed to its mission and vision.


Developing and implementing a well-crafted corporate culture is essential for success. A positive corporate culture can significantly impact employee morale, job satisfaction, and productivity. It can also help to attract and retain top talent, including individuals from diverse backgrounds. By promoting a culture of inclusivity and equity, organisations can contribute to diversifying their workforce, leading to a range of benefits, including increased innovation, improved decision-making, and better customer understanding.


Characteristics of Successful Corporate Cultures

Whether meticulously crafted or organically evolved, one finds the embodiment of a company’s core ethos and operational modus operandi in corporate dynamics. These cultural facets influence every facet of an enterprise, leaving an indelible mark on its workforce, clientele, and public persona. When an organisation earnestly aspires to embrace a multicultural paradigm, it seeks to weave a rich tapestry of diversity throughout its ranks, spanning across all echelons of management and operational departments.


A strong foundation for corporate culture is paramount, and it rests upon deeply ingrained, widely shared beliefs buttressed by a sound strategy and organisational structure. Employers play an instrumental role in perpetuating culture through meticulous recruitment, orientation, training, and performance management initiatives.


At its core, culture is an amalgamation of shared beliefs and values meticulously shaped by leaders to govern employee behaviour and comprehension. Successful enterprises exhibit a consensus regarding cultural priorities that are laser-focused on the organisation’s overarching objectives, ultimately translating into a strategic competitive edge. Leadership plays an instrumental role in shaping and sustaining culture, their alignment with the cultural ethos being of paramount importance.


The bedrock of culture is founded upon assumptions encompassing human nature, the organisation’s interface with its surroundings, the gamut of acceptable emotions, and effectiveness levers. This cultural fabric manifests in various facets, from leadership demeanour to communication modalities and corporate celebrations.

Yet, maintaining cultural consistency is no trifling matter. Ensuring that employees can seamlessly identify and communicate cultural consistencies and inconsistencies is the challenge. Most organisations share a common core of cultural values, including outcome orientation, people orientation, team orientation, attention to detail, stability, innovation, and aggressiveness.


Hierarchy levels within an organisation wield a discernible influence, shaping its formality and decision-making tempo. The urgency coursing through culture also influences decision-making processes and the innovation quotient. The dichotomy between people and task orientation is another facet that organisations must grapple with, each emphasising one facet over the other in their decision-making calculus. Organisations may place functional orientation at the helm in certain instances, with marketing, R&D, or service reigning supreme.


The kaleidoscope of culture can give rise to subcultures, each nurturing its customs and traditions that either bolster or challenge the dominant cultural paradigm. Culture, in its essence, emerges gradually over time, a tapestry woven by the hands of leadership and informed by past successes. It can also be deliberately managed through focused efforts, like tending to a prized garden.


In this intricate mosaic, culture leaves its imprint in the form of artefacts – customs, traditions, rituals, and behavioural norms that are palpable manifestations of the prevailing ethos. Managing culture demands a keen eye for identifying and assessing organisational culture traits, culminating in a meticulously crafted culture management action plan.


The annals of business scholarship, as elucidated by the venerable Harvard Business Review in 2015, proffered a compendium of six pivotal characteristics that underpin triumphant corporate cultures.


Foremost among these is the beacon of “Vision.” Whether distilled within a succinct mission statement or enshrined in a corporate manifesto, the company’s visionary trajectory wields the potency to be a transformative force. As exemplified by Google’s renowned dictum, “Don’t Be Evil,” a compelling corporate vision serves as the North Star guiding its course.


Closely intertwined with company culture is “Values.” This expansive notion encompasses the bedrock principles that encapsulate the mindsets and perspectives necessary for realising the corporate vision. Values such as fairness, trustworthiness, integrity, performance excellence, and a commitment to a superlative customer experience exemplify the moral compass guiding a company’s conduct.


Bridging the chasm between ideology and implementation, we encounter “Practices.” These tangible methodologies, steered by the rudder of ethics, constitute the mechanisms through which a company breathes life into its values.


“People” ascend to the forefront, for they are the vanguards of a company’s culture, inculcating and exuding its essence. Companies engage in judicious recruitment and employment practices that not only mirror but also magnify the prevailing cultural milieu. In their hands lies the power to infuse vitality into corporate culture, catalysing high-performance outcomes that bode well for the business.


In the contemporary corporate culture, “Narrative and Place” emerge as modern-day stalwarts. A potent origin story, such as the fabled saga of Steve Jobs and Apple, assumes paramount importance in propelling growth and sculpting public perception. Equally innovative is the role of physical space, encompassing the choice of locale, office design, and architectural aesthetics, all contributing to the avant-garde frontier of modern corporate culture.


Fostering a climate that encourages employees to collaborate harmoniously and trust one another toward shared objectives is a linchpin. The benefits of teamwork, from creative problem-solving to the germination of innovative ideas and enhanced productivity, should be manifestly demonstrated to the workforce.


Investment in “Training and Education” assumes a pivotal role. Empowering employees to hone their skills and augment their knowledge reservoirs fosters a reliable conduit towards achieving the company’s vision and objectives. Furthermore, this facilitates internal career growth, fuelling individual motivation and ambition.


The clarion calls for “Innovation” resounds vigour, underpinning the company’s commitment to its visionary aspirations. Innovation becomes the anthem that kindles pride, self-assuredness, and unwavering loyalty among the workforces.


The mantle of “Leadership” is not to be taken lightly. It necessitates that the company’s top brass, including C-suite executives, stand as beacons of accessibility and support, extending a helping hand to all employees in their quest for success.

 Developing and Evaluating Company Culture.

As you embark on the journey to forge a corporate culture statement for your company, let this checklist serve as your compass:

Vision: Begin by crystallising the company’s overarching vision and objectives, ensuring seamless integration into the corporate culture.

Values: Articulate a set of values that shall serve as the guiding light for staff behaviour and conduct. These values, from fairness and trustworthiness to empathy and teamwork, shall be the bedrock of your culture.

People: Delve into how the company treats and accommodates its staff during office hours and beyond. This encompasses respect, remuneration, performance evaluation, training and development, promotions, personal privacy and family life sanctity. The focus here is on attracting and retaining individuals who align with the company’s cultural fabric.

Work Environment: Craft an environment that nurtures personal growth, fosters internal and external teamwork and engenders camaraderie. It should be a crucible for problem-solving, innovation, improving work conditions, performance, quality, and client service.

Training and Development: Institutionalise a culture that places a premium on personal growth through training and development opportunities. This equips employees with the means to enhance their skills and paves the path to fresh avenues within the organisation, fostering a spirit of learning and ambition.

Innovation: Engrave innovation as a non-negotiable tenet within the corporate culture. It should underscore the company’s vision, evoking a sense of pride, confidence, and allegiance among the workforces.

Open Communication: Uphold an environment where open and direct communication is accessible to all employees, regardless of their hierarchical rung. This inclusivity extends to providing support and assistance that bolsters every individual.

Engagement: Harness the power of small discussion groups, surveys, brown bag lunch meetings, or town hall-style gatherings to engage your employees, affording them a voice in shaping the culture.

Value Reinforcement: Institute methodologies, including regular training sessions, to effectively communicate company values and gauge their comprehension among staff.

Internal Communications: Employ high-quality internal communication channels to sustain continuous dialogue with employees, elucidating company goals, the working milieu, and the pivotal role of each employee in the company’s triumph.

Respect for Work-Life Balance: Establish clear guidelines that buttress company values, including rules that shield employees from work-related intrusions during vacations or other periods of respite.

Recognition: Illuminate employees’ contributions positively and publicly as a tangible reward for their role in the company’s success.

Leadership Consistency: Emphasise the importance of consistent leadership behaviour, eschewing shortcuts and unwaveringly adhering to operational standards.

Accessibility: Cultivate an approachable demeanour among leadership, ensuring all employees feel valued and empowered to voice their concerns.

Teamwork: Champion the spirit of teamwork over silos and isolation, reinforcing the notion that collaboration is the pathway to success.

Diversity and Inclusion: Set clear goals for diversity and inclusion, celebrating the mosaic of differences while demanding consistency in behaviour from all.

With these guidelines in hand, you are poised to sculpt a corporate culture statement that not only encapsulates the essence of your company but also serves as a compass, directing your organisation towards the zenith of success.


Find more information on implementing employment equity in my other articles or visit our website to enrol for the next employment equity training course.

Are you having difficulty with employment equity?

Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

By Stephan du Toit

Senior Advisor Employment Equity.



WhatsApp: +27825613022

Landline: +27212505007


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Stephan du Toit

Stephan du Toit

Senior Advisor Employment Equity. Specialist in emergency Employment Equity and Labour compliance for organisations. Find more information on implementing employment equity in my other articles or visit our website to enroll for the next employment equity training course.

Are you having difficulty with employment equity? Please don't hesitate to contact me.

All rights reserved. No part of this text, article, and or book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without permission from the copyright holder. The Author has made every effort to trace and acknowledge sources/resources/individuals. In the event that any images/information have been incorrectly attributed or credited, the Author will be pleased to rectify these omissions at the earliest opportunity. For further information please contact the author at