Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Asset

By Eric G. Flamholtz; Yvonne Randle | Go to book overview

5
Managing the
People Orientation
Dimension of Culture

This chapter focuses on how companies can and should manage the people orientation dimension of culture. This dimension concerns the way in which companies deal with or manage their people. It is based on explicit or implicit assumptions about how people ought to be treated as well as the role of that treatment in organizational performance. From our research and experience, we believe that if the people orientation dimension is managed effectively it can have a significant impact on both customer satisfaction and overall organizational success.

As in Chapter 4, we examine and analyze selected companies where the cultural value that they place on “treatment of people” has contributed to their success. In this chapter, we focus on Starbucks, Google, Walmart, and Southwest Airlines. We attempt to understand and deconstruct their success to gain insights that are generally applicable to other companies.

Although we concentrate primarily on people orientation, note again that cultural variables are typically interrelated. To repeat a familiar example, how customers are treated at Starbucks depends on how Starbucks treats its people.


Managing People Orientation at Starbucks

People who look for the secret to Starbucks’ success in the coffee, or in the design of its stores, are looking in the wrong place. As noted in Chapter 4, the belief at Starbucks is that how the company treats its people affects how they

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