Corporate Culture
Article Index
Corporate Culture
Expert Opinion
Survey and Research
Example Cases
Measure and Evaluate

Example Cases

Valuable lessons can be learned from the following organisations:

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), UK Corporate change with agile and collaborative managers

A new agenda for radical change, called Future Vision, was planned for the BBC. The organisation invested heavily in digital technology, become leaner and smaller, and aligned its programming with improved customer segmentation capabilities. To achieve the BBC’s Future Vision:

  • managers and leaders needed to become more agile and collaborative
  • ownership for the vision was distributed as widely as possible
  • the organisation was transformed from a collection of separate units to a unified organisation that relied heavily on cross-unit collaboration
  • a new operations group brought leadership, direction, and consistency to the organisation’s large infrastructure projects
  • cost savings were funnelled directly into new investments
  • the organisation’s human capital strategy was directly linked to the Future Vision. [15]

Coca-Cola, USA Corporate culture transformed using a weblog

By engaging its personnel using a short-term corporate weblog, Coca-Cola encouraged open dialogue about corporate values at all levels. The weblog was part of a larger initiative designed to define, communicate, embed and measure the organisation’s values. 29 distinct themes and 41 types of workplace behaviour were reported, which gave insights into what the organisation’s employees really valued. A subsequent employee survey reported significant improvements in the following key areas:

  • engagement rose from 74% to 79%
  • diversity and fairness increased from 69% to 77%
  • communication and awareness increased from 65% to 76%
  • performance management increased from 68% to 76%
  • leadership rose from 54% to 64%.

These initiatives contributed significantly to Coca-Cola’s vision of driving long-term sustainable growth by accelerating the transformation of the company’s culture. Stock values also reflected improvements with ongoing steady increases. [16]

WL Gore & Associates, UK Organisational culture and the “best company to work for”

 At WL Gore & Associates, job titles/formal structures were not used, and workers were free to choose their own roles. Pay was variable, and was set annually by peer review. The organisation had only two employee classes, called sponsors and associates. Sponsors recruited associates for projects, and the organisation had no direct reporting lines. Leaders emerged through peer recognition and by attracting others to their projects. People working at WL Gore needed to be able handle ambiguity and to operate without strict job descriptions. They also needed to be passionate about sharing information, and to be able to detect business needs and react to them. WL Gore topped the Sunday Times “Best Companies To Work For” survey each year from 2004 to 2007. Sales exceed €1bn, and half the staff have been there for ten years or longer. [17]

Southwest Airlines, USA Corporate culture leads to customer-friendly behaviour

As a direct result of its established culture, Southwest Airlines experienced soaring profitability along with excellent staff and customer engagement. After the events of 9/11, many travellers wanted to cancel or change travel arrangements on purchased tickets. While many airlines charged for making such changes, Southwest’s mission statement provided guidance. The mission called for “dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” Accordingly, the airline decided not to charge for changes or cancellations, and to offer full refunds if requested. This fully supported Southwest’s culture of providing the highest quality of customer service. As a result of its actions, Southwest continued to prosper through a most challenging time for the travel industry, and its reputation as having a strong sense of customer service was greatly enhanced. [18]

 D&D Automation, Canada Corporate culture – training and development part of the culture

 D&D Automation wanted to be technology leaders and consequently introduced an aggressive training and development programme as part of its culture. A Tech Leader programme was introduced, which required employees to undertake in-house or external technology training. To progress through the programme, employees needed to log a specific number of hours using technologies in different applications. At the top level, employees became gurus and began to teach others. To achieve the level of guru, formal external training was required. D&D Automation had 18 gurus. In order to keep everyone in the company up to date, suppliers ran weekly “lunch-and-learn” technology sessions for up to 10 employees. Since training was part of the company’s culture, the training programmes did not reside with any single person or department but were part of the whole organisation. [19]

Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), USA Corporate culture change reapshigh growth in sales

The following twelve “Honeywell Behaviors” produced widespread cultural change for HPS:

  • encouraging growth and customer focus
  • ensuring leadership impact
  • getting results
  • making people better
  • championing change
  • fostering teamwork and diversity
  • having a global mindset
  • intelligent risk taking
  • being self-aware/a learner
  • being an effective communicator
  • being an integrative thinker
  • achieving technical excellence.

For the company’s proposed initiatives to bear fruit, three core cultural changes were believed to be necessary:

  1. Building accountability to customers: all HPS leaders were required to spend 50% of their time with customers and customer-facing employees;
  2. Instilling process discipline: through the use of Six Sigma methodologies and by being “right the first time, in all aspects of the business”;
  3. Fostering technology and functional innovation: as a result HPS has continued to enjoy high growth in sales revenues. [20]

Sherwin-Williams, USA Corporate Culture leads toincreased profitability

 By emphasising employee engagement, strong leadership, and individual performance, Sherwin-Williams increased profitability. The company believed that employee engagement (i.e. the extent to which employees became passionate about their work and the organisation) was an outcome of both practices and culture. Sherwin-Williams’ culture involved:

  • building customer and shareholder value
  • employee stock ownership, which provided a strong incentive for business success
  • business growth drivers of performance, productivity and profitability, plus a focus on the human element.

Sherwin-Williams human resources and business strategies blended together to improve both individual and business performance. Increased profits were used to reward employees, as well as to invest back into the business, which created a continuous cycle. Notably Sherwin-Williams’ training and development budget was on a par with its research and development budget, which was practically unheard of in the industry. [21]


You are reading a Best Practice Report in html-format. Become a member of the BPIR to receive a new report in PDF-format every month (see examples: Benchmarking & Business Excellence). PDF-format can be saved on your hard drive, emailed to work colleagues, and are much easier to read and print out!.. For BPIR updates and best practices sign up to our FREE newsletter. 

< Prev   Next >