Corporate Culture – Definition

Cite this article as:"Corporate Culture – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 4, 2019, last accessed October 22, 2020,

Back to: Management & Organizational Behavior

Corporate Culture Definition

Corporate culture forms the basis of the behaviors of employees of a company or workers of an industry. Corporate culture is the totality of the beliefs, attitudes, shared values, and disposition of members of an organization or employees of a firm. Corporate culture affects how employes and the management of a firm relate and how they behave during business transactions. Despite that there are certain defined and well-established behaviors that an organization expects from its employees and management, in most cases, corporate cultures are implied.

The corporate culture of an organization forms the traits of the people in the organization which sums up to make the work environment of such business.

A Little More on What is Corporate Culture

Typically, the goals, structures, and strategies of an organization determine the type of corporate culture that will exist in such an organization. While some organizations are tilted towards being customer-friendly while executing projects, some are interested in being professional all through the execution of a project, without paying proper attention to the clients.

The corporate culture of an organization affects a lot of things, including the business environment, the attitude that the workers display at work, the type of decisions they make, their innovative powers and others. For the management of an organization, corporate culture influences how they hire employees, the decisions they make, the treatment of their employees and interaction with clients and business partners.

Corporate culture has been in existence for a long period, right since the time organizations were being established. The awareness of corporate culture, however, increased in the 1960s. This was the time organizations and businesses began to pay more attention to the culture that exists in their business, as to whether it is a toxic culture or good culture.  Universities, institutions and professional bodies also included corporate culture in their curriculum in the 1960s.

Corporate culture was used to describe the value-system of an organization, how its employees behave at work, the perspectives and disposition of the management team, the work environment, among others.

There are many factors that affect corporate culture, the major ones are the vision, goal, mission, objective and structure of an organization. In the present day, corporate culture is being used in international trade, economic trends, and national behavior, this is in addition to the corporate culture created by companies. Also, organizations and businesses have begun to invest more resources in creating a good corporate culture and terminating toxic cultures that exist in the workplace.

Aside from creating an accommodating environment for workers in the workplace, organizations also organize training and seminars to educate their employees and management on corporate culture.

Examples of Contemporary Corporate Cultures

There are numerous examples of how corporate culture can affect the performance of an organization and the attitude of employees, this can either be positive or negative, depending on the culture that exists in such an organization.

Corporate culture exists in top organizations and companies in the 21st century, examples of such companies are Apple Inc., Netflix, Google, Enron, Spotify, Zappos, and many others. The corporate cultures that exist in contemporary companies are those that foster good business interactions and customer satisfaction.

Companies are doing their best to terminate toxic cultures in the workplace as this has a hazardous effect on the employees and the growth of the company at large.

Characteristics of Successful Corporate Cultures

The major characteristics of successful corporate cultures are highlighted below;

  • The alignment of corporate culture with the vision, goals, mission, and objectives of the business.
  • A successful corporate culture must align with the values of an organization.
  • A synergy between the ideological practises, methods, and ethics of an organization and the corporate culture.
  • It must also be in agreement with the nature and kind of people that make up its employees.
  • Corporate culture must also suit the nature of a business, the environment the business operates in and the structure of the business.

Reference for “Corporate Culture” › Accounting Dictionary

Was this article helpful?