The 3 Components of Corporate Culture

The 3 Components of Corporate Culture

This DATIS Blog article, The 3 Components of Corporate Culture was originally written by Sharlyn Lauby, HR Pro, on March 4, 2014 and was reposted with permission.

Changing corporate culture is a very difficult task. However, it can be done with time and dedicated energy. Today’s reader raises a good question about where to focus their efforts.

We want to improve our organizational culture. As a human resources professional, we are trying to provide management with some things they can focus on. I want to know the areas to concentrate our efforts.

Organizational culture is defined as the “behavior of humans who are part of an organization and the meanings that people attach to their actions.” But I think culture is about more than just what people do. It also includes what they “say” about themselves. That’s when those disconnects in corporate culture begin. For instance, the company says they value work/life balance but, in practice, they really don’t.

To me, corporate culture is comprised of 3 things:

#1 – Company mission, vision, and values (M-V-V)

This is what the company says about itself. It typically addresses quality, service, and community. As a customer or employee, it tells me what to expect about the company, its product or service, and the way they treat people.

#2 – Your actual work practices

This is what actually happens at the company. It may be exactly the same as #1. It may not. In my experience, if #1 and #2 are not in alignment, #2 becomes the reputation of the organization. Doesn’t really matter what #1 says. People quickly figure out the truth.

#3 – People

Not just the employees hired by the company. But the customers who buy goods and services from the company. The vendors that the company purchases things from. The companies and people who are considered strategic partners with the organization. Everyone contributes to the culture.

So, if you’re faced with trying to make change in corporate culture, I’d start with #2. What is the company currently doing? Does it align with the mission, vision, and values of the organization? And if it doesn’t, why aren’t the people associated with the company doing things that support the M-V-V?

Changing culture involves the company taking a good long look in the mirror. And if changes need to be made in the mission, vision, and values that’s perfectly fine. Companies evolve and change all the time. The current M-V-V isn’t wrong or bad. It suited the company just perfectly at one point in time. But it’s time to change.


Written by Italia Woodson

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