Every company has its own corporate culture, an amalgamation of the values, traditions, beliefs and attitudes of its owner and employees. This culture guides a company’s day-to-day business processes and ultimately becomes its brand, for better or worse. So what are the key influencers that define corporate culture?
The business owner is the primary influence in shaping the corporate identity as the business model is based on their beliefs and aspirations. Decision making policies and management styles match their comfort level with sharing control and responsibility. Day to day operations can be strictly controlled and regimented, in which every single decision must be run by the CEO, or more flexible, in which employees are empowered to make some decisions independently, leaving more time for the owner for forward thinking.
Corporate culture is affected greatly by the past experiences of its owner and managers. Some come from strict, structured professional backgrounds while others have experienced more collaborative corporate cultures. Of course the age of the business owner, the people managers, and of the business itself, plays an important role in defining the culture.
As companies grow, so too does the need for more structure. In large corporations decisions have a ripple effect that can touch all areas of the business; this is why it is important to have a uniform set of rules and processes in place to ensure the business goals and daily operations are aligned.
From the outside, it may be tempting to say that one type of culture is better than another. In reality, it’s very hard to compare apples to apples and what may be a perfect fit for one person, could be far from ideal for another. It’s really all about finding the right fit – finding the individuals that best complement each company’s unique culture.