Contemporary Corporate Culture

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By Hali Mieser

What’s the big idea with Corporate Culture anyway?

Corporate culture is an organization’s shared goals, standards and attitudes that define how its employees and management interact. This is something that must be developed over time; not something that is explicitly stated. The culture of a corporation is created by the people that are hired. For example, when I interned at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, the culture was relaxed and depended on great communication. The marketing and events associate, the development coordinator, the office manager and the President and Executive Director are located in the same building therefore, this allows for effective and fast communication. Along with good communication, all employees know each other by first name in every department which helps the culture feel like a family.

30 Years in the Making

The term “corporate culture” was developed in the 1980s and continues to be a vital part of today’s workplace. The culture of a workplace could mean the difference between going to a career you love or a job you dread. Today, corporate culture not only includes foundational pieces such as company-wide value systems and employee communication but also national cultures and traditions and economic trends.

Who’s doin’ it right?

Southwest Airlines is leading the way when it comes to corporate culture. Southwest communicates to its employees that they are part of a bigger purpose. Employees are given permission to go the extra mile when it comes to helping customers. Because employees have this freedom, they are able to enhance the vision of what corporate culture looks like to Southwest.

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Your Turn!

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So how do you create a successful culture within your company? The Harvard Business Review identifies values as one of the six components. Values allow every employee to have a moral compass to base their business decisions around. When all employees have the same moral compass, a culture is born. You can’t have a corporate culture without people and you can’t have a successful corporate culture without the right people. Companies use rigorous recruiting techniques in order to find the perfect match for their company.

Just like Southwest, it is important to allow employees to feel as if they have freedom. When people are given the power to go the “extra mile,” they can do great things. Along with freedom, companies must embrace transparency. Allowing every employee, no matter their level, to be a part of the responsibilities and strategies of a company and providing feedback can strengthen a business’s corporate culture.


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