The Flexible, Intangible Organizational Culture
Corporate culture is “the personality of an organization (McNamara, 1997).” Using the example of a highly successful contemporary organization to explain the concept better, let us briefly read into Google’s organizational culture. Google has experienced employee turnover with a value of zero, mainly because the organization has removed unnecessary hierarchies in management. It employs only those people who have shown academic excellence in top-ranking universities. Once employed, Google makes them spend almost twelve hours each day on their jobs. Nevertheless, Google’s corporate culture is meant to be a source of comfort for the Googlers. All of them are given free rein in matters of creativity. Innovation and creativity are highly valued at Google. In the past the Googlers did not have a convenient way of expressing or recording their ideas. Today, Google uses an internal web page to track new ideas. Undoubtedly, these ideas come from some of the most intelligent people in the workforces of the nations where Google has set up its offices. After all, the company values brainpower more than it would ever value experience (“Google’s Organizational Culture”).
These features are part and parcel of Google’s corporate culture or organizational climate, created for and by all of its stakeholders. Google’s emphasis on taking good care of its employees must not only be incorporated into its mission and value statements, but this value must also be expressed through the behavior of Google’s managers toward their subordinates, in addition to the benefits that the organization provides its employees with. In fact, Google must be focused on taking good care of its employees with so many activities to prove it that this feature of Google’s corporate culture is well-known. But, if Google decides that its customers must be given equal importance, or if the management of Google decides that corporate social responsibility is very important to fulfill – the managers and decision makers at Google would most probably create a great number of activities to upgrade their organizational culture by giving equal importance to customer relations and social responsibility in day to day organizational functioning.
Alvesson (2002) has defined an organization as a space for “cultural traffic,” which is to say that the organizational culture is made up of the different messages of the diverse groups that are connected with it. These groups include the employees, consumers, as well as the suppliers. Together, these entities bring in their knowledge to the organization and move it in the desired direction, i.e. toward greater productivity and increased revenues. Undoubtedly, the need to raise revenues is part of every mission statement of a for-profit organization. All the same, the organization realizes that it cannot increase its profits if its customers are not satisfied with certain aspects of its functioning. Likewise, in the twenty first century, there are various stakeholders that demand organizational subordination to the environment. In fact, contemporary organizations have been compelled in recent years to incorporate corporate social responsibility into their value statements.
Fortunately, the space for “cultural traffic” referred to as the organizational culture is flexible (Alvesson). Whenever an organization starts to improve customer relations or work toward greater goals to meet social responsibility – its culture changes. As a matter of fact, corporate culture is an intangible asset for the organization if it is regularly upgraded to incorporate better values than before. Hines (2006) states that environmental scanning is essential to business success. Just as businesses analyze the environment to compare themselves with their competitors, it is essential to continue using new knowledge and research to upgrade the corporate culture, trying to satisfy as many stakeholders as possible at the same time.
Alvesson, M. (2002). Understanding Organizational Culture. London: Sage.
Google’s Organizational Culture. ICFAI. Retrieved Nov 3, 2008, from
Hines, A. (2006, Sep). Strategic foresight: the state of the art. The Futurist.
McNamara, C. (1997). Organizational Culture. Management Help. Retrieved Nov 3, 2008, from