Corporate Culture Defined Differently outside the U.S

Article excerpt

Executives in Europe, Australia and Canada define corporate culture very differently from their counterparts in the U.S., a global survey shows. According to the survey, titled "People Power," 65 percent of U.S. respondents defined corporate culture as "the ethos of a company," or the principles that underlie the company's actions, as opposed to a company's management of people or management style. Survey respondents from companies outside the U.S. primarily described corporate culture in terms of "shared values or team spirit."

"People Power" reveals attitudes about corporate culture and other issues held by top executives at companies based in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, the U.K. and the U.S. More than 500 directors and senior vice presidents from five industry sectors (financial services; medium-sized manufacturing firms; telecommunications, communication and courier services; pharmaceuticals; and hospitality) responded to the survey conducted for Proudfoot PLC, an international management consulting firm.

Other key findings of the survey were:

Internal communication is a stumbling block for culture change worldwide. Internal communication tops the list of processes that need improving when major change is implemented in a company. A notable exception was in the responses from French companies, where 89 percent were very satisfied with communication, compared with an average of 25 percent in other countries.

Corporate culture is viewed as a key to success. More than half of all executives surveyed (52 percent) felt that corporate culture contributes a great deal to the success of their companies.

Nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) placed culture change at the top of the list of major changes they had faced in the last three years. This was followed by competitiveness (23 percent) and financial management (14 percent).

Most companies do not quantify the effects of corporate culture. Only 38 percent of companies indicated that they measured the effects of their efforts to change corporate culture, yet 86 percent claim their culture change programs are successful. Methods of measurement included employee surveys (the most common practice overall), meetings, independent surveys and informal feedback. …