Many might like to think that terms like “corporate,” “respectful” or “professional” are universally understood and defined terms. But, in the era of mass globalization and transformations in employee demographics, nothing could be further from the truth. Corporate culture itself actually refers to “ the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature,” (Inc.com). The key word? Shared. Meaning that corporate culture is actually something that is constantly being created, forever informed by the individual members who make up the company and their joint vision of success. A conscious understanding of one’s corporate culture is crucial for the company’s success, level of innovation and … bottom line.
Harvard Business Review recently shared results and analyses into their integrated culture framework, which allowed HBR members to explore their own organization’s cultural profile. With over 12,800 responses, here are some key takeaways that anyone can use to better their practice and understanding of building and adapting their corporate culture.
This framework is one tool that was created to identify the traits that define an organization – rather than the individuals’ traits or cultures that make up the corporation.
As shown in the image above, the 8 defined cultural styles were mapped across two dimensions: how people respond to change (think flexibility — stability) and how people interact (independently — interdependently).
Among the near 13 thousand profiles – with 43% of results coming from outside of North America, ‘caring’ and ‘results’ were the most prominent among the cultural styles ranking #1 and #2. These styles reflect an overwhelming lean towards a collaborative workplace, centered on achievement. The bottom ranking styles were “authority” and “enjoyment” which can lead to the conclusion that neither strict decisiveness nor spontaneity were priorities.
When these responses were broken down by region, some other important results came to light.
For example, organizations in Africa subscribed to flexibility – focusing on learning and purpose. These styles are reflective of a substantial agility and appreciation for diversity. However, in both European and Middle East regions, stability was an overarching priority. Here, organizations were more concerned with safety and business preparedness.
And while organizations in North America were goal and results-oriented, South American organizations prioritized enjoyment – seeking a light-hearted environment.
What does this all mean? It all comes down to awareness. Where are you based? In which regions do you find yourself working in or collaborating with? What is your specific work style? How does that perhaps help or hinder you depending on your organization’s culture?
Culture can be a powerful lever for maintaining, renewing and shaping an organization’s viability. In a global environment, understanding this is key in your future success.
Here at ECCO International, we have worked on breaking this concept down in practical terms; we provide tools to help you achieve your desired global success through embracing diversity, equity and inclusion. In our “Articles” section, you can find more specific concepts of global business communication skills here. Stay tuned for our soon-to-released online interactive products that will bring this topic to new depths…and to your desktop.
Cheng, J. Yo-Jud, and Boris Groysberg. “How Corporate Cultures Differ Around the World.” Harvard Business Review, 8 Jan. 2020, hbr.org/2020/01/how-corporate-cultures-differ-around-the-world.