Culture as terminology is a way of life. It describes the identity and behavior of people. Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and practices that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle relationships internally and externally. The culture of an organisation influences the way employees in the firm behave.
Most successful firms are victorious because of the impact of their culture and values. There is management literature written on corporate culture. One prominent thesis was that of Peter Drucker, a leadership and management expert. According to his research, he stated that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Any company disconnecting the two are putting their success at risk.
Booz & Company’s annual study (2011) shows that spending more on R&D alone won’t drive the kind of results organisations are seeking. However, the alignment of culture with strategy is a critical factor in organisations running effectively. Still, on Booz & Company’s study, 44 percent of companies surveyed have a culture and innovation that highly aligns with their strategy which outperforms organisation who do not have much in terms of growth ( profit and value)
Culture influences productivity as it is prominent in achieving organisational goals, employees’ retention, and long-lasting stakeholder relationship.
Today’s business environment requires a different worldview and perhaps a shift in productivity. The study of Southwest Airlines has shown how management ramped up its productivity and globally positioned its brand through employee branding. Southwest Airlines consistently delivered her desired brand image to customers through the help of employees who have internalised the firm’s value and culture. Employees can project this image to customers and other organisational constituents.
This was the culture Southwest Airlines developed, which enhanced its productivity. The culture and strategy alignment provided Southwest Airlines with a strategic advantage.
Amazon’s productivity, for instance, continues to rise, and sale is on an upward trend because they consistently are accessible; predictably deliver within the notice, maintain low cost among other indices. These go a long way to show that for them to consistently deliver on their promise to customers, Amazon requires a culture of discipline, rigor, standardisation, and precision.
The right culture turns a firm’s external brand into a set of internal thoughts and actions, which has a direct impact on the company’s productivity.
How can an organisation build a strong and right culture?
Firstly, shaping corporate identity is a significant function of leadership. Organisations’ top management has the responsibility to formulate a corporate strategy that functions within the context of organisational culture. Therefore, the right culture starts with a vision or mission statement driven by company management. Simple phrases, like a ship’s rudder, provides the guide on the Company’s values while providing purpose, which in turn orients every employee’s decision within the organisation. When they are deeply authentic and prominently displayed, good vision statements can even help orient customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
Secondly, an organisation’s values are the core of its culture. While a vision articulates a company’s purpose, values offer a set of guidelines, behaviors, and mindsets needed to achieve the organisation’s goals. These sets of values are clearly articulated and are prominently communicated to all employees and involve the way the firm vows to serve clients, treat colleagues, and uphold professional standards.
With excellent value comes the right strategy for implementing practices in the organisation. For instance, a company that says that’s its employees are its greatest assets should be ready to invest in people’s development visibly. Whatever values an organisation chooses to live by, it must reflect it in its employees’ performance criteria and promotion policies.
Employees are integral to building a coherent corporate culture, especially when they share the same core values as the company. Stephen Hunt at Monster.com, following a study, discovered that people stick with cultures they like, and bringing on the right “culture carriers” reinforces the culture an organisation already has.
For an organisation to be highly productive, they need engaged employees with high-performance levels. Undergirding this is a strong alignment between the company’s strategic objectives, culture, values and talent management practices.
Choosing the right culture, therefore, is imperative for any organisation that wants to maintain high productivity.
· Okesina, Oluwaseun (June 2017), Roles of Organizational Culture on Organizational Productivity — A study of May and Baker Nig. Plc
· Ulrich, Dave (May 23rd, 2017) Culture Is Not Enough…Get The Right Culture. LinkedIn
· Jaruzelski, Barry et. al. (2011) The Global Innovation 1000: Why Culture Is Key. Booz & Company’s annual study
Mankins, Michael (March 1st, 2017) Harvard Business Review (HBR): Great Companies Obsess Over Productivity, Not Efficiency
- Chijioke Abiakwe