Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Asset

By Eric G. Flamholtz; Yvonne Randle | Go to book overview
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2 Culture Management
Foundations

Many companies talk about their culture and might even emphasize its importance, but they do not actually manage it in a systematic way. In some cases, there may not even be a statement about the actual or ideal core values of their culture. To convert the notion of culture from an interesting but somewhat abstract construct, we need a theoretically sound yet practical framework to guide managerial action. This chapter is the first of two designed to present such a framework.

In Chapter 2, we (1) define corporate culture operationally (so that it is susceptible to management rather than just an abstract concept), (2) identify the key dimensions of corporate culture, (3) examine how to identify a culture, and (4) present a method to measure corporate culture. A case study illustrates how organizations can use these culture measurement methods as practical tools. A technical appendix summarizes research using the measurement methods described and shows that culture has an impact on financial performance.


A Formal (Operational) Definition
of “Corporate Culture”

In Chapter 1, we stated that the central notion of the concept of corporate culture relates to core organizational values.1 This is correct, but somewhat vague. A more formal operational definition is needed to serve as the basis for understanding the concept and developing strategies for managing it.

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