Culture is simply the shared beliefs, values, expectations and stories – whether they are true or not – that are transmitted from one generation within the company to another.
In a perfect world, the culture reflects the values of ownership, the management team and the mission of the organization. It defines what we do, who we are and what we value. It gives the employees a sense of identity, provides stability to the organization, fosters employee commitment to the organization and shapes employee behavior.
International corporations are challenged to understand cultural differences in countries and communities and change, especially change for social reasons only can be met with resistance. Implementation without buy-in is a recipe for dissention with morale issues. Cultures are usually entrenched, and therefore difficult to change or modify without major efforts. The GM needs to set the expectations, as well as set the example and do it without reservations or employees will read it for what it is and resent the change.
It’s difficult to say that one type of culture is right and another is wrong, but it is legitimate to ask whether a culture is “optimal” for achieving your corporate objectives. If the culture in your organization is not contributing to the strategy and ultimate success of your company, then it needs to be changed. If it is, again the change will be resented, especially if social change is the impetus, not growth or profits.