Corporate Culture


The term corporate culture is used to describe the behaviors and results of employees in a company, and how employees interpret these behaviors.  Corporate culture not only includes the values, goals, and objectives of an organization, but also the way employees interact to achieve these goals and objectives.


Also known as organizational culture, corporate culture is determined not only by how a company measures success, but also the means of achieving that success.  The culture can be influenced by a company's vision and mission statement, but is really defined by the workplace operating environment.  For example, the culture will determine how employees dress, the company's hours of operation, and even how employee workstations are structured.

The culture can affect how employees treat each other, their vendors, and customers.  It can be very formal, or "laid back."  When making hiring decisions, the interview team will oftentimes consider how well they believe the candidate fits with their corporate culture.

Researchers study cultures extensively and typically parse them into one of several types:

  • Constructive:  includes corporations where employees help one another to successfully complete tasks, look to achieve high quality results, seek to realize their full potential, remain sensitive to the needs of others, and are interested in building relationships.
  • Defensive:  includes corporations where the results of the organization are more important than the behaviors exhibited when achieving those results.  In a defensive culture, employees focus on their individual needs, conflicts remain unresolved, and employees are critical of each other in a non-constructive manner.  In these companies, prestige and position power is important; while competition among employees creates a stressful workplace.

Related Terms

networking, diversity, work environment, employee engagement, glass ceilingMyers-Briggs Type Indicator, sexual harassment, startup casual