R+ Management

Corporate culture: a formal trend or a key element of management

In the ordinary understanding of most people, corporate culture is an obscure element of large international corporations that want to achieve a certain corporate loyalty from employees. In principle, this element of business is not well understood, including by entrepreneurs, especially in the sector of small and medium-sized businesses, and is rather perceived as a non-critical element of maintaining "human" relations in the team. and this despite the fact that the very phenomenon of "corporate culture" has a rather long history

The phenomenon of "corporate culture" was first described in the works of one of the greatest military theorists of his time, a member of the General Staff of the German Empire, Helmut von Moltke. With this term, he denoted a certain nature of the self-identity of officers, whose social circle was traditionally very inclusive, and also had a number of strict rules and its own value system. in the lie of the corner stood the qualities encouraged by military service: courage, honor, courage, and cowardice, betrayal, weakness were condemned. According to Moltke, the need for a corporate culture is justified by the role that the above-mentioned officer virtues play in military service, and on which, in fact, the success of a particular military campaign or operation may depend.

With the development of industry and the consolidation of companies, the phenomenon of the need for informal association of workers and employees has become especially relevant. One of the key figures in the history of industry, Henry Ford, said that an employee of a company should constantly think about work, both while at work and at home, but the company should motivate him to this, primarily by additional remuneration and encouragement of initiative.

A certain "boom" of growing interest in corporate culture falls on the second half of the 20th century, especially its last quarter, when, with the completion of the post-war economic recovery, rapid economic and industrial growth began in the 1960s, fueled by the "arms race".

By 1980-1990, despite periodic crises, there were a number of rapidly developing macro-regional industrial centers: Western Europe, North America, and the "Asian tigers" of East and Southeast Asia.

The growth of production volumes, as well as its complication, led to the growth of engineering, technical and administrative personnel, which, unlike assembly line workers, was not completely absorbed in work all the working time. In addition, often employees had rather routine tasks that did not change from day to day, a sufficient amount of free time, but did not have any motivational "challenge" to show diligence and initiative, the question arose of informal motivation, involving employees in the life of the company . Since this period of time, the issue of corporate culture has not lost its relevance. depending on the regional specifics, one can observe its various versions. Asia is characterized by a family-clan approach, which arose from the tradition of Japanese zaibatsu and Korean chaebols, where each employee devotes himself completely to the company, where his relatives often work. in this format, the company and work are perceived more as a vocation, a destiny, and not just a job of a series of salaries. Consequently, employees stay with the same company until retirement, rarely or never changing jobs during their professional lives.

The North American and Western European tradition of corporate culture gives more freedom to the employee, and tries to involve him in the life of the company and show interest in his own, introducing various team building and corporate climate support tools.

There are a number of classifications of corporate culture, one of the most famous is the classification according to J. Sonnenfeld, in which four types are distinguished:
"baseball team",  "club", "academic" and "defense" teams.
"Baseball" refers to a community of highly skilled freelancers.
"Klubnaya" is a close-knit closed team where horizontal and vertical growth is possible. "Academic" - conservative, where such growth is impossible, and the company is aimed at maintaining the status quo as much as possible.
"Defensive" - ​​a team or team that is in a permanent communication crisis. This classification does not seem to be entirely correct, since it considers corporate culture rather as a naturally occurring social and communication climate in the company, but we will further consider corporate culture in a slightly different way, namely as a consciously applied management tool.

There are also classifications for the Russian context of corporate culture, but given the lack of a history of doing business as such (omitting the pre-revolutionary one), they also raise questions. In Russia, there are companies that successfully implement corporate culture, in the vast majority of cases these are high-tech IT companies with close links to foreign markets and, consequently, to foreign management practices. In all other companies, regardless of their size and industry, with the exception of microbusinesses and start-ups organized by initially familiar people, corporate culture is absent as a phenomenon. It can formally exist, even have responsible employees or a department, but in fact it comes down to congratulating employees on holidays and organizing "corporate parties" once or twice a year.

But the essence of corporate culture, first of all, is to create a sub-identity associated with the company. The employee must perceive the company as something more than a place of work solely for the sake of receiving wages. This includes the creation of a common value system, a sense of belonging and gratitude to the company, which is only possible through the use of social psychology tools. This is painstaking and complex work, including the analysis of each employee, company and its positioning in the market. Not every HR department can handle such a volume of work, not to mention the fact that this kind of work requires significant professional and scientific competence in the field of behavioral sciences: social psychology, ethology, sociology, management. The most rational prospect in the future is the format of outsourcing the entire HR policy, including the development of a corporate culture, as is currently happening with marketing, legal and accounting support. The complication of the business structure and its tasks requires more and more highly specialized competence in work, while maintaining the optimal balance between investing in a direction and the result obtained
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