Success in today’s global business environment can be more effective when executives can manifest themselves as change agents who reshape, and in some cases, manipulate corporate culture to better apply knowledge and create competitive advantage. Building on the three aspects of corporate culture (collaboration, trust, and learning), companies can attempt to continuously innovate and create new and valuable services or products by applying new ideas and knowledge. This article is also set in place to inspire executives to create effective cultural changes in order to meet and exceed the challenges of not only today but also what we see as the onset of new advances in the future. The practices mentioned in this article can represent a complete answer to the need for cultural changes in today’s global market environment.
What is Corporate Culture?
One scholar that is well known in the Academy of Management, one of the largest leadership and management organizations in the world by the name of Edgar Schein describes organizational culture as a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems. In fact, corporate culture is reflected in shared assumptions, symbols, beliefs, values, and norms that specify how employees understand problems and appropriately react to them.
Executives today are focusing on company culture. They can build an effective corporate culture to improve customer satisfaction through acquiring additional knowledge from customers, developing better relationships with them, and providing a higher quality of service for them. Company performance is determined through various aspects such as customer satisfaction. And executives can positively affect company performance through increased customer satisfaction. Company performance is what every executive is concerned about. Thus, there is a global need to cultivate a strong corporate culture to accomplish sustainable competitiveness in global markets. This strong corporate culture includes three aspects of collaboration, trust, and learning.
How Corporate Culture Works
These three cultural aspects play a critical role in improving innovation and enhancing the effectiveness of organizational knowledge management. For example, collaboration provides a shared understanding of the current issues and problems among employees, which helps to generate new ideas within organizations. Trust towards their leader’s decisions is also a necessary precursor to create new knowledge and improve company performance through increased quality of products and services. Moreover, the amount of time spent learning is positively related to the amount of knowledge gained, shared, and implemented, aiming at breaking through performance gaps in corporations.
Executives are very involved in cultural change initiatives and, in particular, by creating more effective workplaces, developing people, and shifting organizations toward the creation of new services and products. Knowledge, in itself, is a by-product of culture, and culture’s role in guiding and facilitating people’s actions is the key to executive decision-making. Through an effective company culture, executives can contribute to new products and services to meet dynamic market needs, through higher expectations and stimulation for new and strategic opportunities to meet the expectations of strategic goals and the needs of customers in the marketplace. Executives can build this such company culture to serve the customer needs and become more profitable.
By influencing behavior and providing valuable resources, executives can change the culture of an organization. This new focus helps the organization develop a unique culture that is hard for the competition to duplicate. Executives can act as change agents who provide a more humanistic and applicable approach to create a great company culture. For example, executives can facilitate collaboration by developing relationships in organizations. An executive can contribute to the cultural aspect of trust, by considering both employee’s individual interests and the company’s essential needs. Also, executives can identify the individual needs of employees and develop a learning culture to generate new knowledge and share it with others. The next sections particularly present a set of actions that can be taken by executives to build an effective corporate culture within corporations.
How to Do It Right
Building a True Collaboration Culture
To build a collaboration culture, executives need to improve the degree to which employees actively support and provide significant contributions to each other in their work. In doing this, executives can take the following actions:
- Develop a collaborative work climate in which employees are satisfied by the degree of collaboration between departments
- Develop a collaborative work climate in which employees are supportive.
- Employees are helpful.
- Develop a collaborative work climate in which there is a willingness to accept responsibility for failure.
Creating a No-Fail Trust Culture
To create a trust culture, executives need to maintain the volume of reciprocal faith in terms of behaviors and intentions. In doing this, executives can take the following actions:
- Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees are generally trustworthy.
- Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in other members’ intentions and behaviors.
- Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in others’ abilities.
- Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in others’ behaviors to work toward organizational goals.
- Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in others’ decisions towards organizational interests than individual interests.
- Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have relationships based on reciprocal faith.
Cultivating a Successful Learning Culture
To foster a learning culture, executives need to enhance the extent to which learning is motivated within the workplace. In doing this, executives can take the following actions:
- Develop a learning workplace in which various formal training programs are provided to improve the performance of duties.
- Develop a learning workplace in which opportunities are provided for informal individual development other than formal training such as work assignments and job rotation.
- Develop a learning workplace in which there is an encouragement to attend external seminars, symposia, etc.
- Develop a learning workplace in which various social mechanisms such as clubs and community gatherings are provided.
- Develop a learning workplace in which employees are satisfied by the contents of job training or self-development programs.
Now that we have identified that company culture has risen to a phenomenon that is worth understanding, learning, and using in organizations around the world. This introduces a new and dynamic perspective of organizational culture and points out the vital importance of organizational leadership in reshaping a firm’s culture. This article suggests that corporate culture constitutes the foundation of a supportive workplace to improve business success. I indicate that corporate culture is a major internal resource for business success. Without a grasp on this tenet, executives are bound to fail.